Breaking Down Brugler's Mock: Texans Find Fuller's Replacement

The Houston Texans address their speed need in Dane Brugler's newest mock draft
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HOUSTON -- Mock drafts won't tell you exactly what teams will be doing when on the clock, but they can't give you an indication of which way they're leaning. 

From certain positions to basic needs, mock drafts show what the new franchise could look like by the end of draft weekend. 

On Wednesday, The Athletic's Dane Brugler released his new seven-round mock draft. Through research, film review, and rumors around the NFL, the list compiled might be the best plan of what happens on draft weekend. 

Where does this play in for the Texans? Plenty of ways. 

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Houston will not be picking until the third round. At that point, new GM Nick Caserio probably will have to go with the "best player available" approach. From there, it'll be up to him and the scouting department to help the Texans end their 2021 season better than 2020.

Houston has eight total picks in Brugler's mock draft. Let's take a look at why some picks will work and others perhaps do not. 


Dyami Brown, WR, North Carolina 

The Texans have lost their speed element with the departure of Will Fuller this offseason. Brandin Cooks proved he still can be a low-end No. 1 option in place of DeAndre Hopkins, but that vertical presence is need. 

Turn on Brown's tape from Chapel Hill and prepare to be amazed. 

Few players in the ACC were more consistent than Brown over the past two seasons. With the Tar Heels, the 6-foot-2 target recorded over 1,000 yards in 2019 and ‘20 and tallied at least 51 catches. Brown also averaged over 20 yards per play. 

As a route-runner, he's quite limited minus the basics. While he can handle the slants, gos, ins and outs, comebacks and corners will take time to adjust. However, the upside, speed, and agility shown as a vertical presence make his ceiling a high-end No.2 and low-end No.1 at the next level. 

Right Choice?: Brown fits what the Texans need at wide receiver, but the defense needs a tune-up. Houston added five defensive backs this offseason and only Desmond King should be considered a starter. 

That said, the three cornerbacks that might do best in Lovie Smith's system are Kentucky's Kelvin Joesph, Syracuse's Ifeatu Melifonwu, and Georgia's Tyson Campbell. They all landed in the second round with Arizona (No. 49), Seattle (No. 56), and Buffalo (No. 61), respectively. 

The next cornerback to come off the board is Stanford's Paulson Adebo at No. 77. Should the decision be between those two, go for the vertical option in a deep defensive back class, and prosper on offense.

READ MORE: If Available, Texans Must Target Syracuse's Melifonwu in Round 3


Rashad Weaver, EDGE, Pittsburgh 

Houston will be switching over from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3. They need pass rushers who can consistently help pressure quarterbacks to make mistakes. As a Day 3 selection, Weaver would actually be a steal here. 

What Bill Belichick looks for in his defensive ends is exactly what Weaver will be. A hybrid player that can win at the line of scrimmage and pile drive tackles back, Weaver relies on his speed first and strength second.  

An overall good pop off the snap and smooth agility, Caserio could use him in a multitude of ways for David Culley's system. 

Right Choice?: If Houston were to land a cornerback in the third round, this would be an excellent addition. However, the Texans added Shaq Lawson, Jordan Jenkins, and still are hoping Charles Omenihu can hit in Year 3. 

Michigan's Ambry Thomas, Minnesota's Benjamin St-Juste, and Michigan State's Shakur Brown come off the board within the next 20 picks. Of the three, Thomas makes the most sense and should be considered at the selection. 


Talanoa Hufanga, S, USC

If the Texans are willing to give up on third-year product Lonnie Johnson Jr. and Eric Murray, they'll need some competition at strong safety. Justin Reid can control one of the sides, but they need another run-stopper with tackling skills for multiple Cover 2 and 4 sets. 

Hufanga can play in the box, but also isn't afraid to do more work in zone coverage either. A good matchup for tight ends and running backs, the former Trojan is a tackler first and then someone who can make plays on the ball. 

Just because of the background, that doesn't mean he'll be the next Troy Polamalu, but they show similar traits. Houston needs a playmaker with a hard-hitting mentality like Hufanga on its defense. 

Right Choice?: It's not a terrible fit for dime packages, but there are injury concerns and overall athletic traits that could hurt him in Smith's schemes. Hufanga suffered a concussion in 2020 and has broken his right collarbone twice. He's also hurt multiple upper body parts. 

Cincinnati's James Wiggins, who might fit better in coverage, is taken one pick before. Hufanga might be a great pick, but he's also a bit of a project. If Caserio though wants a box defender, he's the best option. 

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No. 158

Earnest Jones, LB, South Carolina 

Some believe that Jones could be a second-round pick based on his talent in 2020. More than likely, he's a mid-round guy that fits the "MIKE" role in a 4-3 defense because of his tackling. 

Right Choice?: This isn't to say it's a bad call, but there are better options for Houston. They need help in the defensive line, but the closest name here would LSU's Tyler Shevlin, who doesn't come up the board until the sixth round. 

Houston added multiple linebackers in free agency. This isn't a position of need. 


Drake Jackson, IOL, Kentucky 

One can never have too many linemen. Primarily a center, Jackson started three years with the Wildcats and used his smaller stature to hold blocks in the run game. He needs help in the passing sets, but there's plenty to like about his IQ and mentality in the trenches. 

Right Choice: This 100% is the right choice. Justin Britt is on a one-year deal and Jackson could be the second or third best center prospect in the class. Add him and prosper. 

No. 203

Khyiris Tonga, DL, BYU

With the defensive tackle role needing help at the 3-tech and 1-tech, adding Tonga makes sense. He's more of a nose tackle than and 4-3 defensive tackle, but his bull-rush ability in pass sets is one that can't be ignored. 

Right Choice?: Unless they cut or trade Brandon Dunn, Houston doesn't need a nose tackle right now. Then again, all sixth-round picks are viewed as projects. 

No. 212 

Jared Hocker, IOL, Texas A&M 

A three-year starter at Texas A&M, Hocker is best known for helping establish the run game. During his final season with the Aggies, the offensive line only allowed four total sacks and helped the club finish with a top-five rushing attacking. 

Right Choice?: Hometown kid at a position of need this late? At least A&M fans will be clamoring to see him play. 


Camryn Bynum, CB, California 

From a character standpoint, it's clear why the Texans like him. A four-year starter a two-time captain, Bynum embodies the leadership qualities Houston is missing. As a defensive back, he's willing to tackle in coverage and play the run often. 

Right Choice?: Houston needs DB help. Bynum is a DB. Worst-case scenario, he makes the roster as a special teams star and becomes a locker room leader.   

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