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Old 04-30-2016, 01:40 PM   #1
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Texans pick RB Tyler Ervin in 4th round of NFL draft

The Houston Texans have selected offensive players in each of the first four rounds of the draft, adding receivers Will Fuller and Braxton Miller, center Nick Martin and running back Tyler Ervin.

They boosted their offense when they signed quarterback Brock Osweiler and running back Lamar Miller in free agency. But they wanted more playmakers alongside Pro Bowl receiver DeAndre Hopkins last season.

They did that in the first round with the speedy Fuller, who ran a 4.32 40-yard dash at the combine, and Miller, a former Ohio State quarterback who converted to receiver. Martin, a second-round pick, could start after Houston lost center Ben Jones in free agency.

They stayed with offense in the fourth round, adding San Jose State's Ervin with the 119th pick. Ervin ran for 1,601 yards with 13 touchdowns last season after rushing for 888 yards and four scores in 2014. He's also a threat out of the backfield after grabbing 74 receptions for 640 yards combined in the last two years.

Ervin, who also saw limited action at cornerback, could find a place in Houston's return game after finishing his college career with 2,374 return yards and three touchdowns. He left San Jose State as the school's career leader in all-purpose yards with 6,146 yards.

"People that are able to do a couple more things than their natural position are always going to be valuable," he said. "So I've always prided myself of trying to do as much as I can on the field so it's paid off and hopefully I can continue to contribute."

The Texans have placed a premium on speed in this draft. Ervin ran a 4.41 40-yard dash, to become the third player they've drafted this season to run a 4.5 or faster. Miller, who was a two-time Big Ten player of the year at quarterback, was clocked at 4.5 in the 40.

They also added another piece to their revamped offense led by new quarterback Osweiler on Friday night by taking Notre Dame center Martin in the second round of the NFL draft.

Houston gave up its sixth-round pick at 195 to the Falcons to move up two places to nab Martin.

It's the second Notre Dame player Houston has chosen in this draft after trading up one spot to take Fighting Irish receiver Fuller with the 21st pick in the first round on Thursday night.

Martin is thrilled to join Fuller in Houston.

"Oh my gosh, absolutely," he said. "That's one of the first things I thought of. We watched the draft last night with family and I texted Will when he got picked. He couldn't be a more explosive and better player or better guy and teammate off the field."

Houston added Osweiler and running back Miller in free agency to boost their offense, but had a need at center after losing Ben Jones in free agency to the Titans. Jones started every game at center for Houston over the past two seasons.

The 6-foot-4, 299-pound Martin is the younger broker of Zack Martin, who was a first-round pick by the Cowboys in 2014 and a two-time Pro-Bowler at guard. Nick Martin said he patterned his game after watching his older brother and laughed when it was mentioned that the Cowboys and Texans are rivals.

"We've been teammates all of our lives and we're enemies now," he said.

Martin appeared in 50 games with 37 starts in a four-year career at Notre Dame, including starting all 26 games in his last two seasons there. Martin is versatile lineman, having also started several games for the Irish at left guard.

Houston added wide receiver Miller of Ohio State in the third round Friday night.

After two offensive picks, the Texans selected a third player on the same side of the ball, drafting Miller in the third round of Friday night's NFL draft.

The 85th overall pick is from The Ohio State University. With the addition of free agent quarterback Brock Osweiler, Houston added two receiving weapons and protection on the line.

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