Following the regular season, 18 teams failed to miss the playoffs and are beginning their quest for improvement. With picks Nos. 1 to 18 set in the 2023 NFL Draft, mock season is officially here.
The Houston Texans had the chance to clinch the No. 1 pick with a loss in the final week. Instead, Houston went all out to grab a 32-31 win against the Indianapolis Colts, which gives the Texans the No. 2 selection. Coach Lovie Smith was fired on Sunday night, marking the start of an offseason filled with change.
After finishing 3-13-1, Houston is a combined 11-38-1 over the last three seasons. Which positions and players can the Texans target in the 2023 NFL Draft?
2022 Season Record: 3-13-1
- Status of Coach: Lovie Smith – Fired
Positions of Need
- Offensive line
- Defensive line
- Wide receiver
Notable Draft Picks
- Round 1, Pick 2
- Round 1, Pick 12 (from Browns)
- Round 2, Pick 33
Potential First-Round Targets
The Texans could have a dilemma with the No. 2 pick. The Chicago Bears will likely target defense and could trade back to a QB-hungry team. This could take Houston’s top quarterback off of the board. The Texans will be at the mercy of the Bears.
Early in the draft process, Bryce Young of Alabama and C.J. Stroud of Ohio State are the top options. Young is a terrific playmaker with elite mobility and accuracy, but his 6-foot, 194-pound frame is a concern. Stroud is the traditional pocket passer with pin-point accuracy, but there are questions about his will to run and ability under pressure. Kentucky’s Will Levis is another option at No. 2. Levis is a raw QB prospect with all of the intangibles, including a cannon for an arm.
Bryce Young is GENERATIONAL 😳 pic.twitter.com/zpiv5m2cVj
— NFL Rookie Watch (@NFLRookieWatxh) December 31, 2022
Houston also holds the No. 12 pick from trading Deshaun Watson to the Cleveland Browns. The Texans could go in multiple areas with this pick. Wide receiver, offensive line, and defensive line are areas that could be addressed.
TCU’s Quentin Johnston, USC’s Jordan Addison, and OSU’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba are options at wide receiver. Johnston brings rare after-the-catch ability in a 6-foot-4 frame. Addison is a solid all-around receiver with good route-running. Smith-Njigba has excellent hands and smooth route-running but could be limited to the slot.
Peter Skoronski of Northwestern and Broderick Jones of Georgia are potential offensive tackle targets with good frames and strength. Houston would probably need a defensive lineman prospect to slide to No. 12, like pass rusher Tyree Wilson of Texas Tech or defensive tackle Bryan Bresee from Clemson.
Potential Second-Round Targets
The Texans’ decision at No. 12 will decide how they operate on the second day of the draft. Good defensive line and wide receiver options will likely be available early in the second round. Houston should look to take an offensive tackle with the No. 12 pick in the first round. There is a good chance a first-round talent at defensive end or wide receiver slides into the second round, like Georgia’s edge Nolan Smith or Ohio State’s wide receiver Smith-Njigba.
Defensive ends BJ Ojulari (LSU) and Isaiah Foskey (Notre Dame) are also good fits in the second round with their high upside as pass rushers. At wideout, Jalin Hyatt of Tennessee could give the Texans a great deep threat. North Carolina’s wide receiver Josh Downs has exceptionable ability after the catch.
Josh Downs TD: Common W pic.twitter.com/swFg8nOfXB
— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 16, 2021
Houston has a great opportunity to add game-changing rookies in the 2023 NFL Draft. The Texans can grab a franchise quarterback, upgrade on the lines of scrimmage and solidify their wide receiver corps.