HOUSTON -- For the second time in four years, the Houston Texans enter NFL Draft weekend without first- and second-round picks. The first time came in 2018 after trading up for Deshaun Watson.
This time, it'll be due to the fact they couldn't trade Watson.
The Texans understand that Watson very well might never suit up for the franchise again. Even if he clears the 22 allegations of sexual misconduct and sexual assault, the 25-year-old made it clear that he does not want to play in Houston.
So, what does first-year GM Nick Caserio do in a situation such as this. We think for now, nothing.
Both in the long- and short-term goals, adding Watson's replacement in the mid-rounds does nothing. Neither player would be ready to start Week 1. Heck, they might not be ready for the entire season, leading to Tyrod Taylor being the leading man.
If Houston is picking top-five next season, wouldn't they want a top name next season?
Caserio wants value over quantity. The Texans added over 30 players via free agency and trades last month. This is now the time where the best talent is selected in any way possible.
We might be waiting until Friday with you here at TexansDaily.com but here's our final mock draft for the Texans' first season under Caserio.
No. 71: Milton Williams, DL, Louisiana Tech
Broncos trade Houston No. 71 and No. 152 in exchange for No. 67
Caserio is all about adding talent at the value. By moving back just four spots, Houston adds a fifth-round selection that could be used for a trade back up the line.
Depending on what else is on the board, Houston could trade back again. If Williams though is here, we say he has to be the pick. There's too much upside at a position of need not to address it in this scenario.
Williams' measurables were off the charts at the Bulldogs' Pro Day. The 6'3" defensive tackle moves well inside and bulldozes offensive lineman out of his way to contain the run. Over time, he might develop into a quality high-end pass-rusher up the middle as well.
Houston's need for finding talent against the run means that Williams could be a standout selection in Lovie Smith's 4-3 defense. Adding him to fix a massive problem warrants trading back, but staying in his range.
No. 102: Robert Rochell, CB, Central Arkansas
Texans trade No. 147 & No. 158 to San Francisco 49ers in exchange for No. 102
This is why Caserio was hired. It's about the quality of players instead of the quantity. With an extra fifth-rounder, Houston moves up late into the third round to grab a cornerback that could contribute right away.
Despite playing at the FCS level, Rochell is a player with immense upside when asked to play in coverage. In both press and zone, Louisiana native was sticky, barely allowing receivers to beat his cushion even in off-ball presence.
Houston will be running more Cover 2 and Cover 3, a perfect spot where Rochell found most of his success. By moving up, the Texans add a plug and play defensive back that can add tremendous value in coverage on the outside opposite Bradley Roby.
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No. 109: Rashad Weaver, EDGE, Pittsburgh
Is Shaq Lawson going to hit as a pass-rusher? What about Charles Omenihu after two seasons? It's a new regime, a new defense and a chance to add an affordable pass-rusher with upside.
Weaver - who some think will go way higher than this - consistently won his blocks to urge his way into the backfield. From there, it was either a hit or miss tackling. Still, his explosive first steps gives him leverage to make plays against the run and force quarterbacks to feel uncomfortable each snap.
New England would love a player like this. Why wouldn't Caserio?
No. 152 (VIA DEN): Joshuah Bledsoe, S, Missouri
When the Texans traded away both fifth-round picks, it didn't take them out of the round completely. Using Denver's selection, Houston addresses a lesser need, but still one of much concern at safety.
Bledsoe is a hybrid defender that can work well in zone coverage but loves to hit. His awareness is top-notch, as is his closing speed when asked to play in short area coverage. The Houston native also excels against the run and will play with a competitive nature every snap.
The former Tiger returns home and pairs with Justin Reid in coverage for hopefully years to come. It's an ideal win-win scenario for both sides.
No. 183: Josh Imatorbhebhe, WR, Illinois
Texans trade No. 203 & No. 212 to Falcons for No. 183
For anyone who has followed this site, they know the infatuation we have with the Fighting Illini talent. According to multiple scouts, Imatorbhebhe is not expected to last past the fifth-round due to his upside.
By trading away two picks, the Texans secure a high-end vertical option that uses his size and strength to win battles downfield. His connection with Smith (former Illinois coach) also should peak Caserio's interests.
Imatorbhebhe is one of the rare players who can win at every level of the field. Wide receivers coach Robert Prince will be able to teach him the ins and outs of route-running and catching the ball at the highest point. This will be a draft day steal down the line.
No. 195: Drake Jackson, OL, Kentucky
Justin Britt hasn't played football in over a year and perhaps will be in Houston for the same amount of time. Jackson was a three-year starter for the Wildcats and might be a perfect blend of run-blocker and pass-protector with upside in the middle.
He's a high-IQ guy who understands and processes information quick to deliver a strike. Much like David Andrews, he could be a Saturday find for Caserio.
No. 233: Feleipe Franks, QB, Arkansas
Houston can't go into the season with Ryan Finley as the No. 2 option. ... right? Would a late-round rookie, though, be better? Franks has the best arm of the Day 3 prospects, but lacks the decision-making skills and consistency as a passer. He could learn under Taylor and at least be the long-term back up for Texans' offense.
CONTINUE READING: Texans 5 NFL Draft Predictions: A Trade Brewing?