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Flirting with the Future: Texans 2022 Mock Draft

The Houston Texans could have options in all seven rounds of the NFL Draft come April 2022

HOUSTON -- The Houston Texans are rebuilding. There's no reason to deny it any longer. 

Sitting at 1-8, Houston turns its attention to the future. The remainder of the season is about finding names that will be here for the long haul as the team enters a new chapter under the Nick Caserio era. 

Currently, the Texans hold nine picks in the 2022 NFL Draft. That number will expand to at least 10 with the compensation selection added from the departure of former first round wide receiver Will Fuller this offseason. 

Expect that number to grow even more based off Houston's plan to move off disgruntled quarterback Deshaun Watson. When Caserio elected not to go through with the trade to the Miami Dolphins, he also opened the door to a possibility of other teams inquiring on the three-time Pro Bowl QB. 

The asking price will likely remain roughly three first-round picks, three mid-round picks and a proven player. Unless the Philadelphia Eagles or New York Giants offer both of their first rounders in 2022, that deal isn't happening for the short-term. 

One team does have the draft capital over the next two seasons and the need of a QB to make a trade enticing. Should they call Caserio, perhaps Watson heads out west, and Houston receives several mid-round selections, plus several future picks. 

With that in mind, and using the Pro Football Network's mock draft simulator, here's an updated look at what Houston should do when on the clock. 

TRADE: Texans trade QB Deshaun Watson and 2023 third-round pick the Denver Broncos in exchange for No. 15 pick, No. 50 pick, No. 60 pick (Via LAR), No. 92 pick (Via LAR), 2023 first-round pick, 2023 third-round pick, 2024 first-round pick 

Note: no further trades will occur via the MDS

No. 2: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

Houston's biggest need defensively is at cornerback. The Texans are allowing opponents to average nearly 250 yards of offense via the air and have allowed 16 touchdowns in coverage. 

Stingley has been a solidified first round since his freshman season in Baton Rouge. He's a sticky cornerback who has impeccable footwork and vision to mirror wide receivers in coverage. He's also a ballhawk, recording six interceptions during his three seasons with the Tigers. 

No. 15 (VIA DEN): Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan   

Consider this a home run start should Hutchinson fall outside the top 10. The 6'6 defensive end has the upside of Joey Bosa and Chase Young, but instead dons the Michigan blue instead of Ohio State red. 

A disruptive pass rusher with the ability to rip and bend past tackles with ease, Hutchinson has been on a tear in 2021, recording six sacks, 24 pressures and a forced fumble. Pairing his with second-year breakout star Jonathan Greenard to pressure both sides of the quarterback makes sense in today's game. 

No. 34: Rasheed Walker, OT, Penn State 

Laremy Tunsil or not, offensive tackle is a need. Charlie Heck is best used as a swing option, and barring a move back outside, Tytus Howard will remain at guard. 

Walker has the size and footwork to excel in run blocking, but he needs to be better reformed against the pass. Perhaps playing right tackle could help him transition over the left side later on in his career. 

No. 50 (VIA DEN): Kenny Pickett, QB, Pitt

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If Davis Mills does not start another game, his time in Houston as a starter could be done. Pickett is best known for his expert decision-making, good vision and ability to read defenses across the board. He ranks top 10 in near every category among FBS qualifying QBs and remains in the race for the Heisman. 

Pickett's maturity as a passer, plus excessive game reps might make him more NFL ready, and a steal at pick No. 50. 

No. 60: Kenneth Walker (VIA LAR), RB, Michigan State 

The breakout star and potential 2021 Heisman winner, Walker is cementing himself among the top runners in this year's class. A physical runner with good open-field balance, the Spartans' runner can be a lead back in Houston's backfield while offering value as a pass blocker for Pickett and the offense. 

No. 66: Jarret Patterson, OL, Notre Dame 

The Texans need a new center to replace Justin Britt, who despite his overall decent play early, finds himself on the injured reserve. Patterson plays with great pad level in run blocking and is smooth with his footwork when changing direction. 

No. 86: Jalen Catalon, S, Arkansas 

With Justin Reid about to become a free agent, and Eric Murray set to be paid up all of his guaranteed money, Houston could upgrade both safety spots. Catalon is a hard-hitting defensive back with good zone coverage skills and has the ability to bait quarterbacks into throwing his direction. 

No. 92 (VIA LAR): Josh Jobe, CB, Alabama

Jobe's size and frame pairs well with Stingley on the opposite end in the rebuilt secondary. Add his the years going up against four first round wide receivers in practice daily and his coverage skills should be off the charts and ready to transition as the team's No. 2 defender. 

No. 130: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama 

Should he fall, Houston should be ecstatic. Even if the Texans keep Brandin Cooks long-term, the addition of Williams' speed is warranted. He's a fluid pass-catcher with great vision in space and the ability to make defenders miss in the open-field due to his change of direction. 

No. 181: Jamaree Salyer, OL, Georgia 

A former-five tackle prospect, Salyer can play all across the offensive line and has seen reps at both guard spots. Perhaps he's a project with upside as a depth offensive lineman down the line. 

No. 190: Kennedy Brooks, RB, Oklahoma 

The New England Patriots know how to pound the football to ease quarterback play. Brooks, a two-time 1,000-yard runner at Oklahoma, didn't miss a beat following his opt-out last season with COVID-19. He's a bit more physical than Walker that can pile drive forward to a few extra yards on the short play situations. 

No. 209: Marcus Jones, CB/KR, Houston 

Perhaps the most dangerous man in America when it comes to special teams, Jones has been on a tear this season for the Cougars. The senior is averaging 17.4 yards per punt return, over 40 yards per kickoff return and has four touchdowns this season. Houston needs to upgrade following the release of Andre Roberts. 

No. 244: Kenny Logan Jr., S, Kansas 

Logan is a bright spot for the Jayhawks' defense in 2021. He leads the team in tackles (70), pass deflections (4) and has recorded an interception. Logan at least adds late value on special teams and is a reliable tackler.