With the 2023 NFL Draft drawing closer to the day, various analysts and experts are beginning to unveil their latest mock draft predictions. While we’ve seen various iterations roll out over the past few weeks, these latest releases should be indicative of where each NFL team’s mind is at heading into night one on Thursday, April 27.
Ahead of the first round, several mock draft experts have listed their predictions for the Houston Texans. We’ll break down what each one is saying in regard to the Texans’ first and second-round draft selections later this week.
First round consensus
Kiper/McShay dueling mock: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State; Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
Peter King: Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech; Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee
Matt Miller: Will Anderson, DE, Alabama; Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
Ryan Wilson: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama; Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
PFF: Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech (trade down); Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
Adam Caplan: Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech; Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
Chad Reuter: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky; Nolan Smith, ESGE, Georgia
Barring a last-minute shocker here, it’s safe to say that Bryce Young will be off the board when it comes time for the Texans to make the pick at No. 2 overall. The latest reports have Will Anderson rising up the boards to hear his name called by Houston, and drafting him would give the defensive-minded Demeco Ryans a star prospect on the edge for his first year helming the team.
While it’s clear the Texans do need their quarterback of the future, they could very well opt to pass on one in round one here and potentially wait for the likes of Caleb Williams or Drake Maye in the 2024 draft class.
Should the Texans opt for defense with the No. 2 pick, a sound strategy could be drafting on the other side of the ball with the No. 12 selection (acquired via the Browns). Smith-Njigba is a wideout talent worth banking on and if Houston can pair him with their quarterback of the future in next year’s draft, it would mark a stepping stone in the team’s rebuild.
Second round consensus
The Texans boasted the 27th-ranked scoring defense last season (24.7 PPG allowed) so adding a plethora of talent on that side of the ball makes sense from a tactical standpoint, and it would give new head coach Demeco Ryans an ample amount of talent to develop.
While TCU’s Quentin Johnston is also an appealing pick, the Texans could pass on him so long as they snag Smith-Njigba with their additional first-round selection.
Houston ranked dead-last in rushing defense last season (170.2 YPG allowed) so adding a talent like Georgia Tech’s Keion White or Arkansas’ Drew Sanders could give them a much-needed boost in this area. White has good short-area quickness as well as speed in space while Sanders has plenty of range when it comes to the pursuit, though he’ll need to refine his tackling in the open field.
For a franchise that hasn’t had a standout defensive player since the days of J.J. Watt, going defense in round two makes logical sense.