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Owsley’s Houston Texans 2024 Mock Draft 3.0

The Houston Texans went crazy in free agency, adding key pieces in edge Danielle Hunter, wide-receiver Stefon Diggs, running back Joe Mixon, and linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair, amongst others. Despite the objectively improved talent on the roster, some key players, including Blake Cashman, Denzel Perryman, Jonathan Greenard, and Devin Singletary, were lost during the free agency process. While the Texans roster is causing a lot of buzz around the league, there are several positions, particularly on defense, which could still use some help. My mock draft series' third and final (barring a significant move) edition solves each issue. 

Round 2, Pick 42: Kamari Lassiter, CB (Georgia)

The Texans have added many quality depth pieces in Jeff Okudah, CJ Henderson, and Myles Bryant, but I did not love Okudah’s play in Atlanta last season enough to warrant him starting across from Derek Stingley. Steven Nelson is still available, but because Houston has not re-signed him, it is safe to say they want to go in a different direction. 

Enter Kamari Lassiter. He is a reliable and fluid athlete capable of matching star perimeter wideouts in the NFL. A 4.65 forty-time will lower Lassiter’s stock, but the film clearly shows him being faster than this time. He excels at covering vertical threats and can change direction exceptionally efficiently. Lassiter is also known for his instincts in zone coverage, which is a clear scheme fit in Demeco Ryans' defense. 

You can expect Kamari Lassiter to be where the ball goes, and I don’t foresee this changing for the Georgia Bulldog at the next level.

He will compete with Okudah to cover the number two receivers this year, and barring a substantial improvement from Jeff Okudah, I anticipate Lassiter winning the spot. 


Texans Receive: Third Round Pick (66); Third Round Pick (71)

Cardinals Receive: Second Round Pick (59); Third Round Pick (2025)

Head Coach Demeco Ryans has already said how much he loves the depth in the middle rounds of this draft, and I agree 100%. This trade will allow the Texans to pick up some key pieces to round out the defense and take advantage of the depth at multiple positions in this class. 

Round 3, Pick 66: Jaden Hicks, S (Washington St.)

Jalen Pitre had a bad sophomore slump after an efficient rookie campaign. I am not saying he necessarily needs to be replaced, but a nudge in the form of competition might bring him back to form. Additionally, Jimmy Ward is entering his 33-year-old season after a year where he missed nearly half of the season due to injury. Adding to this safety room is a must for the Texans, and Jaden Hicks is the man for the job. 

The former Bishop Gorman standout is a Swiss army knife on defense and sees little dropoff switching between various alignments. He can drop into the box or be the last line of defense over the top. His pair of interceptions last year do not show the full picture of how incredible Hicks is at getting to the football. Several plays did not show on the stats sheet where he could bail out poor coverage or run fits. He will excel under the dynamic Texans scheme, and I could see him competing for minutes early against Pitre.  

Round 3, Pick 71: T’Vondre Sweat, DL (Texas)

The Texans made lateral moves in the defensive line room, losing Sheldon Rankins and Maliek Collins while adding Denico Autry, Folorunso Fatukasi, and Tim Settle. Fatukasi is a solid run stopper, but Autry is more built for the outside with a slim 6'5, 285 lbs frame. 

T’Vondre Sweat will be the answer to Texans' run defense prayers. He is larger than life at 6’4, 350 lbs, and any interior lineman in the Big 12 can confirm. Despite this, he is a great athlete. Sweat had a pair of sacks and an impressive two-yard touchdown reception. He is a dynamic athlete who can secure the interior and anybody. 

He likely won’t be an every-down player, but I love bringing Autry on for third and long plays to add a third effective pass rusher alongside Danielle Hunter and Will Anderson Jr. 

The Houston Texans have been without a consistent defensive tackle for some time now, and the plugging holes on a sinking ship day are over for this franchise. Sweat is the answer. 

Of course, I cannot go through this analysis without addressing the off-field issues, such as a DWI, just a few weeks before the draft. From what I have read, Sweat is a “class-clown” type who will have some maturing to do when he enters the league, but I believe the culture is strong in the Houston Texans locker room, and they will be able to get him with the program from day one. 

Round 3, Pick 86: Jeremiah Trotter Jr., LB (Ohio St.)

Houston has no clear-cut third starting linebacker behind Azeez Al-Shaair and Christian Harris. Henry To’oto’o showed sparks last year, but there are still questions about whether he is the guy. 

What Trotter lacks in size, he more than makes up for in speed and aggressiveness. He is the best coverage linebacker in the class and will excel against running backs and tight ends in coverage. In the run game, the former tiger needs work on maintaining a fit against block when hands do get to him, but he excels at using speed and agility to avoid them often and finish plays. Jeremiah Trotter is a bloodhound who excels at finding the ball and making a play. 

Jeremiah Trotter and To’oto’o will compete in camp to earn the right to be the third linebacker on the team. 

Round 4, Pick 123: Christian Jones, OT (Texas)

Laremy Tunsil and Tytus Howard are penciled in as the day-one starter for the Houston Texans, but if last season showed us anything, it's depth, depth, depth. George Fant was not expected to start last season, but for 13 games, he played tackle for the first drive. Admittedly, this was partially due to a decision to play Howard at guard after key injuries, but it shows the importance of a backup tackle. Christian Jones can be that player for Houston, having a significant history at both left and right tackle positions. 

Christian Jones effectively uses his length to control blocks and win plays. He is highly ranked in this class in height, wingspan, and hand size. Jones only started playing football in his junior year of high school and is considered a raw talent. He played at 305 lbs, which is a little light for a tackle, but I believe this offers him even more of an opportunity to learn at the next level and grow as a player, figuratively and literally. 

With the right coaching, his sets will become more consistent, and Christian Jones can become a breakout player by his second or third year. 

Round 4, Pick 127: Zak Zinter, IOL (Michigan)

The injuries did not only occur at tackle; however, the line's interior could also use some depth. Zak Zinter was an animal during his time in Ann Arbor, mainly known for his ability to move defenders off the ball in the run game. He is 6’6 and uses every bit of his length to attack blocks in his zone and on pulls. There is little to be done once he has a defender in his grasp.

Zinter was also known for his leadership. Amongst his other accolades, including a unanimous first-team All-American, Zak Zinter was voted as a Michigan football team captain this past season, exhibiting his ability to run a locker room and rally teammates. 

The big man has an unfortunate injury history, breaking his tibia and fibula this past season while playing against Ohio St. in November. Before the injury, Zinter was projected to be a borderline first-round player, and getting him in the fourth would be an absolute steal. While he did not perform in Michigan’s Pro Day, he said: “I’m feeling really good. I am in no pain, can move around great, jogging kind of the same as last time. Another month or so I should be clear to do everything. I did nothing today, but I was out there moving around, showing them I’m healing up” according to the Maize n Brew. Before his injury, Zinter had made 33 straight starts so that I would consider this one an anomaly and not a pattern. 

Zak Zinter will add quality depth to a room that desperately needs it, with the potential to join Kenyon Green and Jarrett Patterson in the competition for the starting left guard role.

Round 6, Pick 188: Jalen Green, EDGE (James Madison)

Danielle Hunter and Will Anderson Jr. are going to be a dynamic duo off the edge, and some are even asking if they have the potential to be the best duo in the league this upcoming season. Even in games where they were both healthy last season, they will not play 100% of the defensive snaps, and I would like to see a better option in the twos than Mario Edwards Jr. 

Jalen Green, the edge rusher from James Madison, not the star shooting guard on the Rockets, is a STUD. I am unsure why mock drafts have him going this low, but he will be a steal in the 6th round. His pass rushes well and maintains gap integrity on run plays. His main fault is that he didn't play much last year but was stuck behind Isaac Ukwu, who transferred to Ole Miss. The following season, he broke out and earned an AP All-American First Team nod thanks to 15.5 sacks, 21.0 tackles for loss, and a pick-six. 

He will be a great option on the second team, and I love him as an option to come in on third and long plays to get after the quarterback alongside Hunter and Anderson. 

Round 6, Pick 189: Frank Gore Jr., RB (Southern Miss)

I expect Frank Gore Jr. to compete with Dameon Pierce off the bat and determine where the organization heads in terms of touches after Joe Mixon. 

Gore is quick and has both excellent vision and patience. His small stature of only 5'8 makes him difficult to tackle for taller defenders, and he can sometimes become “lost” in the shuffle. At Southern Mississippi, Gore ran the show as a work-horse back. He took nearly all the carries and showed flashes in the passing game. Being a shorter back, hitting him on the run requires more accuracy, but he can create separation and bring in balls with reliable, hands-on, shorter routes. 

I do not expect him to take a large volume of carries next season, but I love the idea of creating more competition for the RB2 role next year. 

Round 7, Pick 238: Edefuan Ulofoshio, LB (Washington)

After losing Blake Cashman and Denzel Perryman to free agency and stealing Azeez Al-Shaair from the Titans, the Texans only have five linebackers on the roster. In a 4-3 base system, this will not cut it in terms of depth. Ulofoshio is a player I foresee making the 53-man roster and adding key depth. 

Edefuan Ulofoshio should be rated higher than this. Point blank, period. He has excellent athleticism and uses it well to cover tight ends and running backs.

While he may be at his best in coverage, Ulofoshio can also chase well in traffic to make a play. He is yet another example of a player who needs the right coaching to help him improve his game. His ceiling is incredibly high, and he could be a diamond in the rough for Coach Demeco Ryans to elevate. 

Round 7, Pick 247: Josh Proctor, S (Ohio St.)

My opinion on Josh Proctor has not changed since the end of the college football season, and I still hope the Texans can steal him in the late rounds of the draft. He's still one of my sleepers of the draft. I have him graded a few rounds ahead of this, and I would not be surprised if the Texans used one of their 4th or 6th-round picks to select him. He is 6’2, 205 lbs, and runs a 4.5 second forty. According to PFF, Proctor is one of the highest-graded run stoppers in this safety class and comes downhill exceptionally well. His main issues are tight hips, and he seems to lose focus when playing off-man defense. With better mobility and discipline, Proctor can potentially exceed a 7th-round grade.

For the value being paid, Josh Proctor is a no-brainer for pick 247 and will add quality depth to the safeties room.

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