<
>

Texans found late-round draft success with Owen Daniels

play
Owen Daniels is the Texans' best late-round selection (2:02)

ESPN Texans reporter Tania Ganguli says former fourth-round pick Owen Daniels, who ranks second among the Texans career leaders in receiving yards and receptions, is the team's best late-round selection. (2:02)

Owen Daniels didn't reach the peak of his career until after he left the Houston Texans. The tight end finally won a Super Bowl as a member of the Denver Broncos.

His legacy in Houston, though, is significant and makes him the Texans' best late-round selection in franchise history. Daniels was a critical part of the Texans' success in 2011 and 2012, the first two seasons the franchise reached the playoffs. They won a postseason game in each of those seasons, both against the Cincinnati Bengals, and lost in the divisional round.

Houston drafted the tight end in the fourth round of the 2006 draft -- a class that was the best in franchise history. It included defensive end Mario Williams first overall, linebacker DeMeco Ryans in the second round and tackle Eric Winston in the third round. In the next offseason, the Texans acquired Matt Schaub, who managed the offense well for several years. Schaub owes part of his success to Daniels.

In his second season with the Texans, Daniels became the starter and a critical part of their offense.

He was the team's second-leading receiver in 2007 and 2008. He led the team in receiving in 2011 with then-Texans receiver Andre Johnson dealing with injuries. In 2012, he was back to being the Texans' second receiving option after Johnson. Daniels' two-year hiatus from the top of the Texans' receiving ranks came due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in 2009 and related complications the following year.

Daniels played for the Texans from 2006 through 2013, and he finished as the franchise's second-leading receiver with 4,617 yards and 385 catches. His 29 touchdowns also rank second in franchise history.

HONORABLE MENTION

T.J. Yates, QB, North Carolina: Hey, he didn't start much for the Texans, but if you reach folk hero status, you belong on this list. Yates was a fifth-round pick in 2011 and the Texans had hoped they wouldn't need him. Schaub's foot injury made Yates necessary, though. Yates helped the Texans clinch their first-ever AFC South championship (against the Bengals), and then led the team's first-ever playoff win (against the Bengals). His second act with the Texans came in 2015, when Yates helped the Texans' playoff push with a critical win (against, yes, the Bengals).

Derek Newton, RT, Arkansas State: The seventh-round pick was a little rough around the edges when he first arrived in Houston in 2011, and there was even talk of replacing him when Texans coach Bill O'Brien arrived in Houston for the 2014 season. Newton proved his worth to the new coaching staff, which quickly became his staunchest defender. He was the most versatile part of a battered Texans offensive line in 2015.

David Anderson, WR, Colorado State: Another seventh-round pick, Anderson didn't become a starter for the Texans -- he started only 10 games in his career with Houston -- but he did become an important role player. Also part of that superlative 2006 draft class, Anderson lasted six years in the NFL, finishing his career with Washington.