Breaking down Texans’ picks in Dane Brugler’s 7-round mock draft

The 2024 NFL draft is just over a week away, and the Houston Texans are sitting in a prime position to land one of the top players on Day 2.

Even without a first-round pick, Houston’s built to win a championship. Headlined by a breakout season under Offensive Rookie of the Year C.J. Stroud, the Texans went all in this offseason building on around his rookie contract, adding high-profile names like running back Joe Mixon and Pro Bowl receiver Stefon Diggs.

Despite losing leading tackler Blake Cashman and top sack artist Jonathan Greenard, Houston found immediate replacements in Azeez Al-Shaair and four-time Pro Bowler Danielle Hunter. Al-Shaair, a former protege under DeMeco Ryans, is coming off a career year with the Tennessee Titans, totaling 163 tackles. Hunter, a native of Katy, led the NFL in tackles for loss (23.5) and finished top-five in sacks (16.5) in his final year with the Minnesota Vikings.

Defensive tackle and cornerback remain the team’s two most significant weak points. Both should be addressed somewhere between the nine picks starting Friday evening when the Texans make their first selection at pick No. 42. And general manager Nick Caserio has been aggressive in securing talent, making over a dozen trades in three different drafts.

The Athletic’s Dan Brugler released a seven-round mock draft where the Texans addressed multiple needs on Day 2. He also secured up-and-coming prospects who could be diamonds in the rough on Day 3.

Here’s a breakdown of the players sent to Houston:

Mike Sainristil


Height: 5-foot-9
Weight: 182 pounds
RAS: 8.51
PFF rank: 34

Breakdown: This not only fills a need but also a fit for Ryans’ “SWARM” mentality. Sainristil is the walking embodiment of a wolverine and invites competition with each snap. At 5-foot-9, he’s likely to remain a slot defender only at the next level, but Desmond King remains the only player with extensive reps at the position entering voluntary workouts.

Sainristil does a bit of everything. He can blitz, defend the run and throw receivers off their routes to eliminate a target across the middle of the field. Last season, he finished third among all FBS defenders with six interceptions. Sainristil is a first-round talent in the body of a Day 2 player. With Ryans, he might end up being the league’s top nickel defender by the end of his rookie season.

Oct 28, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USANorth Carolina State Wolfpack quarterback MJ Morris (7) is sacked by Clemson Tigers defensive tackle Ruke Orhorhoro (33) during the first half at Carter-Finley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 296 pounds
RAS: 9.91
PFF rank: 67

Breakdown: Ryans loves defensive tackles with the ability to create pressure up the middle. Last season, Houston recorded a franchise-breaking 46 sacks, 11 of which came from Maleik Collins and Sheldon Rankins.

Orhorhoro, who totaled 14 sacks during his three seasons at Clemson, uses brute strength to bulldoze past interiror offensive lineman. He’s a work in progress with his hands and keeping leverage, but there’s upside if he can pick up a second move. As a run defender, there are few flaws in his game. He should contribute Day 1 in a rotational role while serving as the hopeful long-term three-tech.

Nov 12, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Miami Hurricanes safety Kamren Kinchens (24) intercepts a pass against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the second half at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Height: 6-foot
Weight: 205 pounds
RAS: 1.23
PFF rank: 109

Breakdown: Houston is targeting a safety based on its recent 30 visits. Kinchens, a hard-hitting physical defender from the ACC, loves tackling. He’s not afraid to deliver a crushing blow and lay his body out on the line to save a first down.

The real strength of his game comes in coverage. During his three seasons with the Hurricanes, Kinchens totaled 11 picks, one of which he returned for a touchdown. He has good route recognition skills and does an exceptional job reading and reacting to the quarterback’s eyes. With Jimmie Ward entering a contract year, Kinchens would take over as the long-term last line of defense, allowing Jalen Pitre to convert full-time to strong safety.

Dec 31, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; TCU Horned Frogs offensive lineman Brandon Coleman (77) against the Michigan Wolverines during the 2022 Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Height: 6-foot-6
Weight: 320 pounds
RAS: 9.97
PFF rank: 72

Breakdown: Houston needs offensive line depth and perhaps a bit of variety. Coleman, a captain for the Horned Frogs in 2023, started 11 games at left tackle and four games at left guard during his three seasons in Fort Worth.

Raising the level of competition is essential for Houston. Former first-round pick Kenyon Green hasn’t lived up to the billing entering Year 3. Juice Scruggs started at left guard last season in place of the injured Tytus Howard, but he’s a natural center. Coleman, who’s been at his best in run-blocking sets, brings a physical mindset to any huddle and should push for more reps with a promising training camp.

You can never have too much trench depth as the old saying goes.

Clemson running back Will Shipley (1) runs during the fourth quarter of the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida, Friday, December 29, 2023. Clemson won 38-35.

Height: 5-foot-11
Weight: 204 pounds
RAS: 9.55
PFF rank: 145

Breakdown: Mixon will be the starter after inking a new three-year extension worth $27 million. Behind him, there’s reason for concern. Shipley, a two-year starter for the Tigers, averaged 5.3 yards per run as the team’s leading rusher. That would have led Houston last season even after a breakout run down the stretch from Devin Singletary. Shipley also should provide special teams value, so at least that’ll make Frank Ross happy, right?

Eveyon lose a Ross reaction at least once a month, too.

Michigan defensive end Jaylen Harrell (32) looks to tackle Alabama running back Justice Haynes (22) during the second of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., on Monday, Jan. 1, 2024.

Height: 6-foot-4
Weight: 242 pounds
RAS: 8.42
PFF rank: 196

Breakdown: It’s back to the “trench play” persona. Teams will always need more players to rush the passer and create havoc for an offensive coordinator. Harrell is fresh off winning a national championship and was part of a top-five defense under now-Chargers defensive coordinator Jesse Minter.

The Texans are looking for high-upside players this late in the process. Adding a prospect from a winning background worked last season in Anderson. Perhaps lighting strikes twice with Harrell?

Nov 11, 2023; College Station, Texas, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs linebacker Nathaniel Watson (14) reacts during the first half against the Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 245 pounds
RAS: 6.68
PFF rank: 245

Breakdown: Al-Shaair and Christian Harris enter the year as Houston’s starters, but what about depth? Henry To’oTo’o is the only remaining linebacker with extensive reps on the roster. Watson plays like an old-school linebacker in a new age of football. He’s a sure-fire tackler, totaling over 240 stops during his time in Starkville and loves running 100 mph downhill to make a stop.

Neville Hewitt made a name for himself in the league as a special teams ace. There are similarities between his play style and Watson’s, so perhaps the latter has a future on kickoffs and punt formations.

Jan 18, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; South Florida Bulls forward Bayron Matos (14) attempts to get control of the ball away from Houston Cougars forward Reggie Chaney (32) during the second half at Fertitta Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Height: 6-foot-9
Weight: 291 pounds
PFF rank: N/A

Breakdown: A former power forward on the court, Matos is looking to pull a Jimmy Graham and play a different sport prosfessionally. I have no idea if this will work, but he ran a 4.88 40-time at South Florida’s pro day last month. Swing big, Caserio. Pull the trigger and see what happens.

Jan 31, 2024; Mobile, AL, USA; National defensive back Willie Drew of Virginia State (0) signals on defense during practice for the National team at Hancock Whitney Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Height: 5-foot-11
Weight: 181 pounds
PFF rank: N/A

Breakdown: Drew is a depth cornerback that caught attention at the Senior Bowl. He’s shifty and should at least fight for reps on speical teams. There’s not much more one could ask out of a late Day 3 pick.

Related Posts

Anаlyst: How Byron Murрһy сould һelр Seаһаwks’ fіnаnсіаl future

Tһe Seаttle Seаһаwks fіnd tһemselves іn а рeсulіаr sіtuаtіon wіtһ tһree montһs to go untіl рreseаson gаmes get underwаy. How Seаttle Seаһаwks mаde ‘smаrt deсіsіons’ іn NFL…

Bronсos’ Seаn Pаyton Mаkes Bold Predісtіon About NFL Rule Cһаnge

Tһere wіll be а lot of new fасes аnd tһіngs аround tһe Denver Bronсos аnd Heаd Coасһ Seаn Pаyton tһіs seаson, аnd tһe NFL іs undergoіng а…

Gіаnts’ Brіаn Dаboll sаys һe һаs ‘сonfіdenсe’ іn Cor’Dаle Flott

Tһere іs аn oрenіng іn tһe Gіаnts’ stаrtіng lіneuр аs а рerіmeter сornerbасk to рlаy асross from Deonte Bаnks аnd іt sounds аs іf tһere іs а…

NFL Wrіter Mаkes Inсredіbly Bold Suрer Bowl Predісtіon

Could tһe New York Jets аnd Detroіt Lіons end uр meetіng іn wһаt would be а very іntrіguіng Suрer Bowl next Februаry? Bleасһer Reрort’s Gаry Dаvenрort tһіnks…

Wһy Mаzі Smіtһ’s weіgһt іs so іmрortаnt for tһe Cowboys suссess

Mаzі Smіtһ һаd а seаson to forget іn 2023. Wіtһ only 304 defensіve snарs on tһe yeаr, tһe Cowboys fіrst round рісk struggled to get on tһe…

Could Baltimore Ravens Sign Pro Bowl Safety To Bolster Defense?