Safety Just Reid headlines strong draft class for Texans

Rookie safety Justin Reid cemented a starting role early in the season for the Texans. AP Photo/Alex Brandon

The Houston Texans hit a home run on the second day of the draft after not making a pick in the first two rounds. Adding safety Justin Reid in the third round gave the Texans a safety tandem that helped restore the defense to one of the NFL's best units. The rookie class includes some players that could develop into key starters in the future.

Grade: Above average

Best rookie: Reid started 12 games in the regular season for the Texans and finished with three interceptions, one of which was returned 101 yards for a touchdown. Reid became a force for Houston and was a reliable player both in the box against the run and in pass coverage. His coverage skills allowed him to be interchangeable with veteran free agent addition Tyrann Mathieu and match up against tight ends and running backs. Expect Reid to be one of the Texans safeties and a standout on defense for years to come.

Most improved rookie: Wide receiver Keke Coutee stepped up when veterans Will Fuller and Demaryius Thomas went down. Coutee's speed and ability to get yards after the catch led to some big plays down the stretch. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound wideout finished with 28 receptions for 287 yards and a touchdown. He was targeted by quarterback Deshaun Watson 14 times in the first round of the playoffs, posting 11 receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown against the Colts.

Jury is still out on: Offensive lineman Martinas Rankin was a third-round pick and expected to earn a starting spot. Houston's offensive line left a lot to be desired, yet Rankin only started four games. He offers versatility as a tackle and guard.

Undrafted rookie evaluation: Wideout Vyncint Smith was the best undrafted free agent signing for the Texans. He started one game but posted one of the season's best catches by a Texans wideout not named DeAndre Hopkins. His 35-yard touchdown catch against the Eagles showed great concentration and body control.