The Senior Bowl ended up proving an important tool in the Houston Texans quest to land their 2016 NFL Draft class. The Texans drafted Nick Martin, Braxton Miller, Tyler Ervin, K.J. Dillon and D.J. Reader, all of whom were participants in the week-long event in Mobile, Alabama.
The Texans tied with the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns for drafting the most players who took part in the Reese’s Senior Bowl.
"Once our rosters came together back in January, we felt this would be a strong draft class for us and it was," said Reese's Senior Bowl Executive Director Phil Savage. "The Reese's Senior Bowl is an important step of the evaluation process and both the prospects and NFL clubs benefitted from being in Mobile again this year."
Savage also felt that all 19 of the defensive linemen who attended the Senior Bowl should have been drafted, (only 15 ended up being selected),
and the Texans selection of Reader helped get close to achieving that prediction.
All five prospects met with the Texans organization, which started the foundation for a long draft process, heading on their path to Houston.
“I talked to them at the Senior Bowl and then I talked to them at the combine, but they didn’t work me out or anything, but you know I’m glad they picked me,”said Dillon of the Texans.
Ervin playing at San Jose State did not get as much national attention but felt the Senior Bowl was a platform to impress the Texans.
"I think it was big because playing at San Jose State, we might not necessarily get as much exposure as some of the other conferences,” said Ervin on the Senior Bowl. “Getting a chance to play on such a big stage was awesome.”
Miller discussed the Senior Bowl being the start of multiple meetings with the Texans. “Yeah, we met at the Senior Bowl. I talked to them at the combine. They came down and worked me out individually.”
Martin, who could be the day one starter at center, met Bill O’Brien at the Senior Bowl which also proved big when draft day arrived.
“Yeah, we met at the Senior Bowl and talked,” said Martin. “I got to meet coach (Bill) O’Brien and just been in contact with them throughout and great staff, very excited to work with them and very excited for them allowing me to have this opportunity.”
Call it chance or luck of the draw that the board fell with an experienced draft class Wth each member having landed at the Senior Bowl, one thing is for sure: the Senior Bowl ended up being the start of positive first impressions for the Texans to make certain players part of their organization nearly three months later.
D.J. Reader at the Senior Bowl
Tyler Ervin at the Senior Bowl