The Houston Texans traded up into the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft, selecting Michigan wide receiver Nico Collins with the No. 89 overall pick.
"Trades are always player-driven and it's really about just the other factors that go into it," Texans general manager Nick Caserio said. "So we picked at 67. If you wait to 109, how many players are going to be available? Who are you going to lose and what are your alternatives going to be? So that was philosophically the mindset."
On Friday night, the Texans moved back into the third round in a deal with the Carolina Panthers that sent this year's fourth-round pick (No. 109 overall), a fifth-round pick acquired from New England (No. 158 overall) and a 2022 fourth-rounder.
Collins (6-4, 215) entered the draft after opting out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns. However, a strong showing at his Pro Day and the Senior Bowl helped improve Collins' draft stock. Collins was emotional after his selection.
"This is a call I've been waiting on my entire life," Collins said. "I'm glad, I'm so excited, I'm just speechless right now, emotions running high. Just excited to be coming to the Houston Texans."
The three-time letter winner (2017-19) and two-time All-Big Ten honoree appeared in 29 games with 22 starts during his three seasons at Michigan. He also played for Texans assistant coaches Pep Hamilton and Ben McDaniels, who were on head coach John Harbaugh's staff at Michigan.
"We said, all right, here's an opportunity of a player that that we like, that we have some degree of background with between Pep being at the University of Michigan and Ben McDaniels being the University of Michigan," Caserio said. "So, again, you take all the information, all the factors that go into the decision-making process."
As a junior in 2019, Collins caught 37 passes for 729 yards and a team-high seven touchdowns. His 19.7 yards per catch was the best in the Big Ten, earning him Collins a third varsity letter and Offensive Player of the Year honors.
The Texans drafted two offensive players with their first two selections of the 2021 NFL Draft on Friday night. Houston drafted Stanford quarterback Davis Mills with the No. 67 overall pick earlier in the third round.