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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Mark Lane

3 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl prospects who could help the Houston Texans

Much of the Houston Texans’ draft process will include the excitement of the first round as the franchise works with two picks in the top-15 overall.

However, with 12 picks, tied with the Kansas City Chiefs for the most in April’s draft, the Texans have a wide scope for when it comes to adding young talent. As such, they also need to keep in mind some prospects who may not be winning the publicity battle during draft season.

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The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl kicks off Jan. 28, and here are three prospects the Texans need to keep tabs on throughout the draft process.

CB Steven Jones, Appalachian State

(AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

Jones is not the same body type as Derek Stingley, but at 5-10, 180 pounds, the Appalachian State product could be a serviceable slot cornerback. Desmond King will be 29 years old by the end of the 2023 campaign, and is 5-10, same as Jones. The redshirt senior provided Appalachian State with 15 pass breakups — almost double from a year prior — to go with 45 combined tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, and 1.0 sack.

RB Emari Demercado

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Naturally Dameon Pierce is the Texans’ bell-cow while on his rookie contract, but the former 2022 fourth-rounder will need a spell from time to time. Demercado had a stellar season for TCU with 121 carries for 681 yards and six touchdowns to go along with 13 catches for 65 yards and a score. If the Texans want to have a younger running back stable, then Demercado could meet that goal, and he also has experience as a kickoff returner.

WR Joseph Ngata

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The downside with Ngata is his availability as he followed up a 13-game campaign in 2019 with a combined 12 over the next two seasons. However, 2022 showed a glimpse at what the 6-3, 220-pound wideout could provide over a full year. The Clemson product gathered 41 catches for 526 yards and two touchdowns through 14 games, a 12.8 yards per reception. If Ngata is part of the receiving corps and allowed to develop at his own pace, the Texans could have a big, reliable target — and a replacement for Nico Collins — in the years to come.

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