The Texans moved up two spots to No. 50 to select Notre Dame center Nick Martin (6-4, 296) in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Houston swapped picks with Atlanta to acquire their first pick of Friday night.
"He's a guy that can come right in, he's a plug-and-play guy," General Manager Rick Smith said. "He'll compete right away we think, so we're happy to get him. We did move obviously a couple spots to get him and felt strongly about adding him to the team, and that's why we did that."
When asked what his strength was, Martin responded with "versatility." Bill O'Brien agreed.
"He'll start off at center, but the versatility of him being able to play guard was something that we really liked, his toughness, his leadership, he's a very bright guy," Bill O'Brien said Friday. "One of the guys that we spoke to was Harry Hiestand, their line coach there at Notre Dame. He really spoke highly of this guy. He was a leader in the room and somebody that really came to practice every single day with a purpose and was a guy that could communicate well with his teammates which is really a key at center in addition to his talent. Obviously, his versatility was something that stood out to us too."
Martin saw action in 50 games with 37 starts in his collegiate career (2011-15). He started all 13 games for the Irish in 2015. Martin was part of a Notre Dame offensive line that established a rushing average of 207.6 yards per game, the highest since 1998.
Martin's older brother Zack, a 2014 first-round pick for Dallas, had an All-Pro rookie season as the starting right guard for the Cowboys. The younger Martin looked up to him and patterned his game after his older brother. The two were best friends and even lived together in college.
"That's who I grew up watching," Nick Martin said. "Even in high school, he had success when I was going into high school. That's who I learned from a lot. That's who I watched at Notre Dame. I started with him his last year, but I took two years to really watch him and his habits on and off the field and how he became the player he is and watching him in the NFL too."
The second-round selection is reunited with another Notre Dame teammate, wide receiver Will Fuller. The Texans moved up in the first round to select Fuller with the No. 21 overall pick on Thursday night.
The first round took place Thursday night, while the second and third rounds are Friday evening. Rounds four through seven are Saturday afternoon. **
The Texans took Notre Dame offensive lineman Nick Martin in the 2nd round with the 50th pick overall.