Mason Thompson | February 26th, 2020
The Texans were knocked out in the divisional round by the eventual Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs. They finished the year without a general manager and are looking to go into the draft with Bill O’Brien in that de facto role. O’Brien made significant moves during the season, sending Jadeveon Clowney to the Seahawks for a bag of chips, but sending two first-round picks to bring in Laremy Tunsil. Without a first-round pick, the team will have a lot of trouble finding players in the draft to fill their needs. I listed the Texans’ biggest needs as interior defensive line, edge rusher, and cornerback.
To help with this mock, I used the Fanspeak Mock Draft Simulator.
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Round 2, Pick 57: Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
The Texans’ top three Cornerbacks are free agents and the team has a decision to make on the future of Gareon Conley. Johnson is a physical corner who plays best in a man coverage scheme. He is a willing tackler and is physical in that regard. He has consistent ball skills and will consistently break up passes. He will be an immediate starter in Houston.
3rd Round, Pick 101: Khalid Kareem, EDGE, Notre Dame
Julian Okwara has gotten the most love of the two Notre Dame edge rushers but Kareem could be the better value. He could potentially move inside and play on the interior as his pass rush moves aren’t that developed yet. He is very competitive and shows great get off once the ball is snapped. The Texans need depth at edge and J.J. Watt isn’t getting any younger.
4th Round, Pick 108: Rashard Lawrence, IDL, LSU
D.J. Reader is a free agent and behind him, there isn’t much else on the roster. Lawrence is a dominant force and figures to play in the B-gap or one technique in the NFL. He’s a power rusher who will plow through linemen to get to the quarterback but figures to do most of his damage against the run.
4th Round, Pick 128: Netane Muti, IOL, Fresno State
The Texans found their two tackles last year with Tunsil and first-round pick Tytus Howard, but the interior still needs a lot of work. Muti is very athletic but suffered some injuries at Fresno State, which will cause him to slide a little in the draft. However, if he can stay healthy, Muti will be a steal in the fourth round.
5th Round, Pick 171: Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR, Liberty
Kenny Stills and Will Fuller have expiring contracts after the 2020 season. Re-signing both is unlikely and given the injury history with both, the Texans could decide against re-signing either. Meanwhile, Gandy-Golden is a great high-point receiver who will be best as a possession receiver in the league.
Round 7, Pick 240: Michael Pinckney, LB, Miami
Zach Cunningham‘s contract is expiring after the 2020 season and while the Texans would like to re-sign him, they should plan for the worse. Pinckney is quick to diagnose the plays as they are happening before his eyes. He gives 100% of his effort on every snap and should make the team based on his impact on special teams.
Round 7, Pick 248: Mitchell Wilcox, TE, South Florida
Darren Fells isn’t getting the job done and he is an upcoming free agent. While they did spend a third-round pick on Kahale Warring last year, adding Wilcox is a smart move. Wilcox can line up anywhere from the slot, to outside, and back on the line.
Round 7, Pick 249: Khalil Tate, QB, Arizona
A.J. McCarron is a free agent and the team doesn’t really have another option behind him. Tate is mobile and has a good enough arm to make tight throws. While some may say he is a developmental project, his playstyle is similar enough to Deshaun Watson‘s to be his backup as a rookie.
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