In the 4th round, the Texans selected Tyler Ervin, RB out of San Jose State as they continued their mission to rebuild their offense after their abysmal playoff shutout against the Chiefs. Ervin adds another element of speed to the Texans offense, running a 4.41 and having explosive jumping numbers at the Combine. Standing at 5’10”, 192 lbs, Ervin projects as a third-down receiving back with special teams impact, especially in the return game.
Third-down production monster at San Jose State, rushing 294 times for 1,601 yards and 13 TDs. He also produced in the receiving game for the Spartans with 45 receptions, 334 yards, and 2 TDs. However, most of his production came against lesser schools such as Hawaii, Nevada, and Oregon State. This makes his game against Auburn last year, 27 rushes for 160 yards (5.93 YPC), and 1 TD, much more important when evaluating him as a prospect. It shows how Ervin, when given the opportunity, can produce against high levels of competition.
On the Texans, Ervin doesn’t have much in the way of competitors for touches. Alfred Blue and Johnathan Grimes are currently slated in front of Ervin, but with his special teams prowess and big play ability, Ervin should earn the right to more touches, in what Bill O’Brien hopes, is a more run orientated offense.
For 2016, Ervin likely doesn’t have much value, except as a potential handcuff to Lamar Miller barring injury, which of course is completely possible. The handcuff potential and receiving work makes Ervin worth a late round flier who has potential to produce late in season, as we saw with many whose primary backs went down with injuries and had rookies or unknown guys step in and produce.
Draft Stock: Late round flier, mostly a PPR back
In the future, Ervin will have an opportunity to carve out a niche as a receiving back and special teams player. These skills will let him find a team and earn touches and opportunities. He will mainly be a PPR back, similar to Shane Vereen, as he can catch out of the backfield, split out into the slot, and can rush the ball 10-15 times per game.
Rookie Drafts: 3rd rounder as a Miller handcuff, early 4th rounder
Startup Value: 12th round and on