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Does Culley's Firing Change Texans' NFL Draft Plan?

A new head coach could have a different outlook on the Texans' draft plans this April

Everything is up in the air for the Houston Texans. That includes what to do when selecting with the third overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

With David Culley out as head coach, the Texans now are in limbo. A new name could have a different outlook on certain players and what to target when on the clock.  

Perhaps the biggest question mark now surrounding Houston is the status of rookie quarterback Davis Mills. With Culley, it seemed as if he'd done enough to return for a second season as a Week 1 starter. 

That could change with a new coach calling the shots. 

Mills exceeded expectations as the eighth quarterback selected in the 2021 NFL Draft. The third-round pick outperformed four of the five first-round names, setting a new Texans' rookie passing record with 2,664 yards. 

Mills' 16 touchdowns only trailed New England's Mac Jones among rookies. His 88.1 passer rating was higher than Chicago's Justin Fields (73.2), Jacksonville's Trevor Lawrence (71.9) and New York Jets' Zach Wilson (69.7).

Overall, Mills ranked 21st in passer rating among all active quarterbacks. Several names he finished higher than included Philadelphia's Jalen Hurts (87.2), Baltimore's Lamar Jackson (87.0), Ben Roethlisberger (86.5), Washington's Taylor Heinicke (85.9) and Cleveland's Baker Mayfield (83.1).

Is that enough for a new coach to pass on the top names in April? 

Early reports suggest that Pitt's Kenny Pickett or Ole Miss' Matt Corral will be the first quarterback taken. Pickett is known for being a high completion passer with some zip while Corral is known for his deep ball accuracy, but sometimes can be erratic with his decision-making.

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Should the next coach view Mills as the starter for 2022, addressing the offensive line could be a priority. Multiple reports indicate Houston could be open to trading left tackle Laremy Tunsil this offseason for the right price. 

Tunsil, 27, still has two years remaining on his three-year, $66 million extension. The asking price will ultimately dictate if Houston would part ways with the two-time Pro Bowler. 

Even if Tunsil is retained, Houston could look to bolster its trenches with either Alabama's Evan Neal or North Carolina State's Ikem Ekwonu. Both have played multiple positions on the offensive line and have experience playing both tackle positions. 

Houston also could target Iowa's Tyler Linderbaum, who several scouts consider to be in the 'Quenton Nelson-esque' category of elite prospects.

The two names that frequently mentioned with Houston are Oregon's Kayvon  Thibodeaux and Michigan's Aidan Hutchinson. The Texans have a building block on one side of the defensive line with Jonathan Greenard, but they're looking for a running mate to make a 1-2 combination. 

Of course, the Texans could be moving off defensive coordinator Lovie Smith. Would a new coach change the scheme again? Do Hutchinson and Thibodeaux fit the defensive mold? 

Everything is on the table for the Texans entering the offseason. Although mock drafts think one way, general manager Nick Caserio and the new coach could think differently.

Until there's a new name in the building, what to do in the first round remains a mystery. For now, there isn't a right or wrong answer, but rather questions on what is the best plan.