The NFL Draft is just a week away and things are beginning to heat up in Houston. Just a week ago, all NFL fans were certain that the Texans would target a quarterback with the second overall pick, but things are starting to change. After Adam Schefter came out saying he thinks the Texans will either go defense or trade back, fans and analysts are scrambling to figure out how they think the Texans draft will go. With that being said, here is how I think the Houston Texans 2023 draft will go.
(via Las Vegas) R1: 7 – Will Anderson Jr. – ED
Houston Receives: Picks 7,38,100, and 2024 2nd round pick
Las Vegas Receives: Pick 2
It feels like the Texans are trending towards taking a defensive player with their first pick. By some miracle, Will Anderson fell to me at pick seven. Anderson would have an immediate impact on this Texans team. The best defender in the draft teaming up with DeMeco Ryans would be an unstoppable force for opposing teams to fear. Will Anderson comes out of a Nick Saban led football team, meaning he is already well-adjusted to what life may look like in the NFL. In his three years in Alabama, Anderson recorded 34.5 sacks, showing off his skill to tear through an opposing offensive line. If available at pick seven, Will Anderson is a no-brainer option for Houston.
R1:12 – Deonte Banks – CB
Ryans is going to take every chance he has to build this defense into a powerhouse, and adding Deonte Banks is a big step towards just that. While Banks might not have a large sum of interceptions, he has been a lockdown corner during his time in college. Last season, he allowed only 26 catches on 60 targets, allowing a passer rating of 71.4. Adding Banks to a cornerback core with Derek Stingley and Steven Nelson would be a tough task for teams to beat.
R2: 33 – Jordan Addison – WR
With such a deep wide receiver core in this year’s draft, there is a real chance we see a first round talent slip into the second round. Jordan Addison fell down the draft board and landed right in the lap of Nick Caserio. Addison is easily one of the better wide receiver prospects in the draft, and to see him sink this low was a big win for the Texans. The former Trojan shocked everyone in 2021 with his outstanding 1,500-yard, 17 touchdown season. However, this past season, Addison’s stats fell. He only went for 875 yards and eight touchdowns, causing some teams to wonder if Addison’s stellar season was all just a fluke. Concerns of this may have caused him to fall into the second round, where the Texans were able to steal him.
(Via Las Vegas) R2: 38 – John Michael Schmitz – C
The Texans are in desperate need of a center, and John Michael Schmitz would fill that role immediately. He has a first round grade by many analysts around the league, and is seen by most as the best center in this year’s draft. Schmitz only allowed two sacks and three quarterback hits in his three years in Minnesota. When it comes to interior offensive line in this year’s draft, Schmitz is one of the most talented on the board, and it would be shocking to see the Texans pass on him.
R3: 65 – Tanner McKee – QB
While this may not be the ideal situation for Texans fans, it’s also not the worst-case scenario. Bringing in a guy who is considered to be the fifth-best quarterback in a strong class is not something to be upset about. Obviously, he doesn’t bring the same talent as a guy like Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud does, but his skill set isn’t too far off from Will Levis. Tanner McKee had a 63.3% completion percentage and went for 5,500 yards and 28 touchdowns in just two years at Stanford. McKee would also be joining an offense with Dalton Schultz, Dameon Pierce, and Jordan Addison alongside other players brought in later in the draft. With a defensive minded coach like Ryans and an offense you are stocking up, it seems like leading this team to a good season wouldn’t be too much to ask of Tanner McKee.
(via Cleveland) R3: 73 – Nathaniel Dell – WR
Usually, a team wouldn’t “double dip” at a position this early in the draft, but with a player like Dell available, it’s hard to pass. Adding Addison and Dell to the same wide receiver room would be a nightmare for opposing defenses. Just like Addison, Nathaniel Dell has put up some impressive stats of his own. In just two seasons, Dell went for 2,700 yards and 29 touchdowns while averaging about 14 yards per catch. Bringing in a guy like Dell to team up with Addison would be a dream for any quarterback in the league.
(via Las Vegas) R3: 100 – Andre Carter II – ED
When picking a guy like Andre Carter, the first notable thing is his size. Carter stands at 6’6 and weighs in at 256 pounds. Despite the big size, Carter still gets off to a quick start off the line. Carter brushes past offensive tackles and shows no signs of struggling against big guys because he can use his own size to his advantage. Andre Carter was able to record 19 sacks and 52 hurries in just two years with Army. Carter is the big edge threat every team wants on their defense.
R4: 104 – Deuce Vaughn – RB
Don’t let his size fool you, Deuce Vaughn is one of the most explosive runners in this year’s draft. Even though he stands at just 5’5, Vaughn has never shown to struggle due to his size. During his time in Kansas, he was able to rush for 3,600 yards and 34 touchdowns. His foot work and elusiveness makes him like a human joystick as he cuts through defenses going untouched. He is also one of the faster running backs in this year’s draft, putting up a 4.44 40-yard dash time. Deuce Vaughn will be one of the best prospects to come out of this draft class, and the Texans are going to be able to steal him away with a fourth round pick.
R5:161 – Mekhi Blackmon – CB
With the amount of picks this team has, you are going to see them go after multiple players of the same position. With this pick, I have the Texans targeting corner again to build up their secondary. Blackmon allowed a completion percentage of 47% and held teams to just 20.4 passing yards against him per game in his 2022 season. On top of the lockdown skill set, Blackmon was able to come away with three interceptions and a touchdown. Definitely an impressive stat line for a guy taken in the middle of the fifth round.
R6: 188 – Brayden Willis – TE
The Texans brought in Dalton Schultz in the offseason, but don’t be shocked if they decide to use one of their 14 draft picks on a tight end. Brayden Willis isn’t the playmaker Schultz is, but he may be a better blocker. Willis put up an 80.3 blocking grade, which is outstanding for a tight end. With the new running back in town, Houston may just look for a guy that can be the sixth man on their offensive line.
R6: 201 – Jonah Tavai – DL
I feel like I said “this was the steal of the draft” in my head countless times while doing this mock draft. However, walking away with Tavai at pick 201 feels like a robbery worth a life sentence. Jonah Tavai is one of the most under-the-radar talents you will find on day three of the draft. The pressure he sends on opposing quarterbacks cannot be duplicated by anyone else this late in the draft. In just three years with San Diego State, Tavai recorded 25 sacks, 26 hits, and an unbelievable 98 hurries. He brings fear to opposing offensive lines not just every game, but every single play. The Texans would walk away with the biggest robbery in the entire draft.
R6: 203 – Keaton Mitchell – RB
Picking two running backs in a draft may be frowned upon by Texans fans. Dameon Pierce is still on the team and Houston just gave Devin Singletary a deal, so there seems to be no room for another running back. However, when you have an option with the talent Keaton Mitchell has at this point in the draft, it’s hard to pass on it. Mitchell brought East Carolina a different level of energy on offense, going for 2,500 yards and 23 touchdowns in two seasons rushing. Keaton Mitchell would be a great pick this late in the draft.
R7: 230 – Brett Neilon – IOL
Neilon played a lot of center with USC, but if drafted by the Texans, I would assume they would transition him to guard. He has been one of the best prospects when it comes to protecting his quarterback. He hasn’t allowed a sack since 2020 and hasn’t allowed a hit since 2021. Meaning that all of 2022, he did not allow his quarterback to be touched once. A very impressive stat line for a seventh round pick.
R7: 259 – DeMarcco Hellams – S
With the final of Houston’s 14 picks, the Texans will add one more player to the defensive back core. Bringing in another guy from Nick Saban’s roster while helping to add depth to a position of need. The Texans start the draft with an Alabama defender and cap off the 2023 NFL with an Alabama defender.