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Houston Texans

3rd Round Success Throughout the AFC | Daily Brew

The Texans are a week away from making their first selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. The third round (and beyond) has been good to the Texans, historically, as I pointed out last week and if that didn't convince you, how about the success throughout the league in the third round (fourth round in the case of the Jets)? I took each team in the AFC and found the best player selected in the third round and it was eye opening, even for me.

Seven of the 15 were Pro Bowlers, while a couple were voted 1st Team All-Pro. One from the AFC South is on his way to a Pro Bowl career after a stellar rookie campaign in 2020. Five of the 15 signed free agent contracts totaling $230.8M this offseason. Furthermore, only three of the 15 listed below were actually selected prior to the 67th overall pick.

Combined with my Texans 3rd round (and beyond) article last week and what the AFC has seemingly found in the third round, it's clear that the Texans can unearth exceptional value at pick No. 67 next Friday evening.

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs - Tight end Travis Kelce (2013, 3rd round - 63rd overall)

  • Six time Pro Bowler
  • Three time 1st Team All-Pro
  • Super Bowl Champion (2019 - Kansas City)
  • Five straight years of 1,000+ receiving yards
  • Two 100+ catch seasons
  • Currently on a four year, $57.2M contract, his third in Kansas City

Las Vegas Raiders - Edge Yannick Ngakoue (2016, 3rd round - 69th overall)

  • Originally drafted in Jacksonville
  • One Pro Bowl (2017)
  • 45.5 career sacks
  • 18 forced fumbles
  • Signed two year, $26M, fully guaranteed contract this offseason in Las Vegas in March 2021

Denver Broncos - Safety Justin Simmons (2016, 3rd round - 98th overall)

  • One Pro Bowl (2020)
  • Three straight years of 90+ tackles
  • 16 career interceptions
  • Nine interceptions and 33 passes defensed in last two seasons
  • Signed four year, $61M contract in offseason to remain in Denver (second contract)

Los Angeles Chargers - Wide receiver Keenan Allen (2013, 3rd round - 76th overall)

  • Four straight Pro Bowl appearances (2017 - 2020)
  • 2017 NFL Comeback Player of the Year
  • Four 97+ completion seasons
  • Four 1,000+ receiving yard seasons
  • Currently on a four year, $80M contract, his third in Los Angeles

AFC South

Tennessee Titans - Safety Kevin Byard (2016 3rd round - 64th overall)

  • One Pro Bowl (2017)
  • One time 1st Team All-Pro (2017)
  • 18 career interceptions, including eight in Pro Bowl season of 2017
  • 62 career passes defensed
  • 111 tackles from safety position in 2020
  • Signed a five year, $70.5M contract in 2020 (second contract)

Indianapolis Colts - Safety Julian Blackmon (2020 3rd round - 85th overall)

  • Outstanding rookie season, started 14 games for one of best defenses in NFL
  • Two interceptions, one forced fumble
  • Made 2020 Defensive All-Rookie team

Jacksonville Jaguars - Center Brandon Linder (2014 3rd round - 93rd overall)

  • Started 79 games in his career
  • Started in every game that's he played
  • Mainstay in the Jaguars offensive line.
  • Signed five year, $51.7M contract in 2018 (second contract)

AFC East

New York Jets - Tight end Chris Herndon (2018 4th round - 107th overall)

  • Averaged 51 catches per season (in two seasons in which he's been healthy)
  • Seven career receiving touchdowns in 25 career starts
  • 796 career receiving yards

New England Patriots - Tight end Jonnu Smith (2017 3rd round - 100th overall)

  • 114 career receptions in four years in Tennessee
  • 16 career touchdowns
  • 76 catches in the past two seasons.
  • 52 of 76 catches (68.4%) in the past two seasons went for a first down or a touchdown
  • Signed four year, $50M contract with the Patriots in March 2021

Miami Dolphins - Linebacker Jerome Baker (2018 3rd round - 73rd overall)

  • 112+ tackles in his past two seasons
  • 317 total tackles in his three seasons in just 37 career starts
  • Seven sacks and four forced fumbles in 2020
  • One of Miami's longest tenured defensive

Buffalo Bills - Running back Devin Singletary (2019 3rd round - 74th overall)

  • Led the Bills in rushing his first two years in the league
  • 1,462 rushing yards in his two year career
  • Averaged 34 receptions per year
  • Averaged 4.8 yards per rush in two seasons

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers - Wide receiver Diontae Johnson (2019 3rd round - 66th overall)

  • Led the Steelers in receptions in 2019 (59)
  • Second on the roster in receptions in 2020 (88)
  • 1,600+ receiving yards in first two seasons with three different starting quarterbacks
  • 88 of his 147 receptions (59.8%) have gone for a first down or touchdown

Baltimore Ravens - Tight end Mark Andrews (2018 3rd round - 86th overall)

  • One Pro Bowl (2019)
  • 156 receptions in his first three seasons
  • 130 of his 156 receptions (83.3% !!) have gone for a first down or touchdown
  • 2,105 career receiving yards in just three seasons.

Cincinnati Bengals - Defensive end Trey Hendrickson (2017 3rd round - 103rd overall)

  • Tied for second in the league with 13.5 sacks in 2020 for the Saints
  • Accounted for 25 (!!) quarterback hits in 15 starts
  • 18 sacks in his last 18 starts
  • Signed a four year, $60M contract with the Bengals in March 2021

Cleveland Browns - Safety John Johnson III (2017 3rd round - 91st overall)

  • Eight career interceptions over the course of 48 starts for Los Angeles Rams
  • Two 105+ tackle seasons in his last three years (injured in 2019, missed ten games)
  • 36 passes defensed in 43 starts for the Rams
  • Signed a three year, $33.8M contract with the Browns in March 2021

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