#98 Texans: TE Jordan Akins

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BACKGROUND: A three-star athlete recruit out of high school, Jordan Akins (A-kins) was a two-sport star in high school as a quarterback in football and outfielder on the baseball diamond. He played his junior year of high school at Strong Rock Christian (823 passing yards, 26 total touchdowns) before transferring to Union Grove for his senior season, earning All-State honors in 2009. He signed a two-sport agreement at UCF in the 2010 recruiting cycle as a 185-pound wide receiver (bypassing offers from Georgia and others). However, the Texas Rangers drafted Akins in the third round (103rd overall) in the 2010 MLB Draft and he signed a $350,000 signing bonus, choosing the professional route. He spent the next four seasons (2010-13) in the Rangers farm system as an outfielder (24 career home runs and 42 stolen bases), but never advanced past the Single-A level, posting a .218 batting average in 117 games between the Hickory Crawdads and Spokane Indians in 2013. With his baseball career going nowhere, Akins decided to give up the sport and try college football, enrolling at UCF in 2014 (where he originally signed in 2010). He began his career at wide receiver and kick returner as a true freshman, posting 12 catches for 135 yards, averaging 24.2 yards on kickoff returns. Akins again lined up as a wideout and return man in 2015, but his season was cut short after three games due to a knee injury, posting 14 catches and two touchdowns. He returned as a sophomore and moved to tight end in 2016 (seven starts), recording 23 catches for 347 yards and two scores. Akins had his most productive season as a junior in 2017 with 32 receptions for 515 yards and four touchdowns, earning First Team All-AAC honors. He had an extra year of eligibility after his medical redshirt in 2015, but elected to leave early for the 2018 NFL Draft. Akins accepted his invitation to the 2018 Senior Bowl.

STRENGTHS: Good-looking pass-catcher on the hoof…large wingspan and catch radius…natural ball skills and hand-eye coordination…build-up speed down the seam…more than just an underneath target – ranked second on the team with 13 receptions (40.6% of his catches) for 20+ yards in 2017…improved snap in/out of his breaks…physical finisher as a ballcarrier…uses his frame to hook or seal outside run lanes…not a bully blocker, but tough-minded and looks to run his feet once engaged…mature mind-set and experienced as a professional athlete.

WEAKNESSES: Doesn’t have elite size measurements for the position…plodding route-runner…unpolished at the stem and choppy footwork rolls out the red carpet for the defender to jump the route…not a burst player (didn’t run a 40-yard dash prior to the NFL Draft)…looks overmatched at times as an inline blocker, struggling to sustain…wild hands and will attract attention from officials…needs to be a better second-level blocker, coming to balance and keeping linebackers occupied…older prospect and will be 26-years old on draft weekend – nicknamed the “Godfather” at UCF due to his age…baseball was always his first choice…medicals will be examined after missing most of the 2015 season due to a right knee injury (Sept. 2015) – didn’t participate at the Scouting Combine due to a left knee injury (Feb. 2018).

SUMMARY: A two-year starter at UCF, Akins was primarily a quarterback in high school before moving to wide receiver and return man in college, transitioning to tight end in 2016 and lining up inline, wing and in the slot for the Golden Knights’ offense. Baseball was always his first love and he is still young in football years, but Akins showed steady progress the last few seasons when he was football-only for the first time in his life. He struggles to sustain as a blocker and needs technique work, but there are plenty of blocking reps on his film and it won’t be a foreign concept for him in the NFL. Overall, Akins doesn’t have a dynamic element to his game, but he can be a poor man’s Delanie Walker if he makes himself more available in his routes and continues to make strides as a blocker.

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