One area that’s going to be interesting to watch in the upcoming NFL Draft is what Nick Caserio and the Houston Texans do with the bevy of picks they’re currently sitting on.
After being patient with dealing embattled QB Deshaun Watson, Caserio heads into this draft with an unbelievable haul of selections:
Round 1 – 3rd overall
Round 1 – 13th overall (from Cleveland)
Round 2 – 37th overall
Round 3 – 68th overall
Round 3 – 80th overall
Round 4 – 107th overall (from Cleveland)
Round 6 – 183rd overall
Round 6 – 205th overall
Round 6 – 207th overall
Round 7 – 245th overall
After being without their first and second-round picks last year thanks to the trade that brought in a solid addition in left tackle Laremy Tunsil, the Texans had a productive draft. They had just five selections, but they definitely made the most of them as each one made contributions in year one.
Here’s a quick look at how their selections went:
Davis Mills, QB (Round 3, 67th overall – Stanford)– Appeared in 13 games last season with 11 starts, finishing 263-of-394 for 2664-yards along with 16 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Oddly enough, Mills’ best game last season game against New England in Week 5 where he completed 21-of-29 for 312-yards and 3 touchdowns while finishing with a QB rating of 141.74, his best overall outing of 2021.
Nico Collins, WR (Round 3, 89th overall – Michigan) – appeared in 14 games last season and finished with 33 receptions for 446-yards, including a touchdown. Eight of his receptions went for 20+ yards.
Brevin Jordan, TE (Round 5, 47th overall – Miami) – appeared in 9 games last season, finishing with 20 receptions for 178-yards along with 3 touchdowns. He had 2 catches for 20+ yards.
Garret Wallow, LB (Round 5, 170th overall – TCU) – Appeared in 17 games last season with two starts, with most of his action coming toward the end of the season. He finished with 12 solo tackles along with a sack.
Ryan Lopez, DT (Round 6, 195th overall – Arizona) – Appeared in 16 games last season with 15 starts, finishing with 18 tackles and 1 sack.
With Watson now finally out of the picture, Caserio and the Texans head into this April with an opportunity to really build for the future with a clean slate. Reports in Houston have been mostly positive on Caserio, with the hope that this is the offseason that sets them up with a foundation that will get them back to being a playoff contender in the AFC.
The pressure is definitely on. The Colts went out and added Matt Ryan and the belief is that Doug Pederson will help turn around the Jaguars with Trevor Lawrence at the helm. Tennessee remains a club that most feel will be back in the mix, so it’s an incredibly competitive Division where this draft is going to be a key one for Caserio and the Texans when it comes to their future.
For anyone who follows the draft closely, seeing what Caserio does will likely also lead to comparisons in the media between the two draft hauls here in New England. The Patriots had a strong draft last year after selecting players like Mac Jones, Christian Barmore and Rhamondre Stevenson. The hope is that this will be the year we’ll see contributions from Ronnie Perkins, Joshua Bledsoe and Cameron McGrone, which if that were to happen, would only make what happened last offseason even more impressive.
However, New England already appears to be well ahead of where the Texans are, despite the Patriots having to eke out their 25-22 win against them last October. The fact that Houston got contributions from all their picks in year one was definitely a nice start, and with the uncertainty of Watson now behind them, they’re exactly where they want to be.
Now it’s up to Caserio to hopefully come away with some impact players as the Texans try and fight their way back to becoming a factor in both a Division and Conference that is certainly much different than it was just one year ago. If that happens, it only makes the AFC picture that much more difficult for a Patriots team that’s still trying to re-establish itself in the post-Tom Brady era.
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