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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Tyler Greenawalt

ESPN mock drafts have Texans taking CB and OT

Draft season is heating up with the NFL combine going on this week. As such, the mock draft have continued to roll in for the Houston Texans.

Houston can go in a few directions with the No. 23 overall pick, which they received from the Cleveland Browns in the Deshaun Watson trade. The Texans traded their original pick, which became No. 27, to the Arizona Cardinals in the move that allowed them to draft Will Anderson Jr. this past year.

ESPN analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Field Yates recently posted mock drafts with very different picks for Houston. Kiper went with Oklahoma offensive lineman Tyler Guyton, while Yates gave the Texans cornerback Ennis Rakestraw Jr. out of Missouri.

Kiper wrote that while the Texans have needs on both sides of the line, he thinks Guyton is the perfect right tackle to play alongside Pro Bowl left tackle Laremy Tunsil.

“Guyton could step in at right tackle, where he started 14 games for the Sooners,” Kiper wrote. “Guyton is physically what NFL teams want in a future Pro Bowl-caliber right tackle. He moves like a tight end (he used to play there). He has a ton of natural talent, although he doesn’t have as much experience as the tackles likely to be taken ahead of him. For a team that ranked 29th in yards per rush attempt on offense (3.7) last season, Guyton could be an excellent addition.”

This pick assumes two things about Houston: 1) that they’re willing to move away from Tytus Howard, who missed most of the 2023 season with injuries and 2) that they’ve filled or are comfortable enough with other positions like edge rusher, cornerback or wide receiver. It’s unclear how healthy Howard will be at the start of the season or if Houston will try to move him to guard – a position he played sparingly in the past.

The Rakestraw Jr. pick in Yates’ mock is all about how the board fell. Other top cornerbacks like Quinyon Mitchell and Nate Wiggins are both gone by the time Houston picks in Yates’ mock draft, meaning he believes the Texans will go cornerback instead of snagging someone like wideout Brian Thomas Jr. with the pick.

Here’s what Yates wrote about Rakestraw Jr.:

“The Texans did an incredible job of extracting everything they could out of the secondary, and adding a few more players this offseason will prove instrumental. Rakestraw is one of my favorite guys to watch in this entire class, as he seems to find just as much joy in lining up man-to-man opposite a top wide receiver as he does delivering bone-crunching hits in run defense. Pairing him with Derek Stingley Jr. could give Houston a fearsome CB duo.”

The Texans’ plans at No. 23 will undoubtably change over the next month or so as free agency gets started. Houston need to decide which positions it needs to pay for now and which ones its willing to wait to draft and potentially develop this year.

Many mock drafts have been different so far, too, so a consensus of who the Texans want and what they truly covet remains unclear.

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