With the trade deadline having just passed, Houston general manager Nick Caserio can rest after a busy few days. He sent running back Mark Ingram to the New Orleans Saints and defensive end Charles Omenihu to the San Francisco 49ers. In return, the Texans acquired some late-round draft picks. If Houston really wanted to capitalize at the deadline, there’s one man they should have moved on from: Jordan Akins.
Akins, a tight end out of UCF, was drafted by the Texans in 2018. In his first three seasons as a pro (2018-2020), Akins caught 90 passes for 1,046 yards and 3 touchdowns. Halfway through 2021, he has 19 receptions for 177 yards. While Akins may still be the best tight end on the team, it hasn’t come without competition.
Pharaoh Brown, a fifth-year player from Oregon, has been performing above expectations. Brown, who previously spent time in Oakland and Cleveland, signed with the Texans in 2020. Last season, he had 14 catches for 163 yards and 2 touchdowns when Darren Fells was on the roster. Now that a spot has opened up, Brown is on track to double those stats, with 12 catches and 114 yards under his belt going into Week 9.
The other two tight ends on the roster, Antony Auclair and Brevin Jordan, haven’t made much of an impact yet. Auclair is a run blocking tight end here to do the dirty work in two and three tight end sets. Jordan is the more pedigreed of the two, being a fifth-round rookie who recently saw his first NFL action. In last week’s game against the Los Angeles Rams, Pharaoh Brown was inactive, which allowed Jordan to get some playing time. The rookie went on to catch 3 passes for 41 yards and a touchdown. Although the Texans couldn’t come away with a win, it was a productive outing for the University of Miami product.
Had the Texans traded Akins, Brown and Jordan could have easily replaced his workload. They probably could have gotten some sort of return for him as well, since the tight end position is becoming more valuable across the league. It makes sense that a first-year general manager would be hesitant to give up a player like Akins, but it also doesn’t seem like much of a risk given that the season is already lost.