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APC Community Mock Draft: Texans are up with the No. 3 pick

After Aidan Hutchinson and Kayvon Thibodeaux went with the top two picks, will the Texans make it three edge rushers off the board?

NCAA Football: Alabama at Florida Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In the first two picks of the Acme Packing Company community mock draft, the Jaguars and Lions decided to beef up their defensive lines, going with the top two edge rushers in the draft, Aidan Hutchinson and Kayvon Thibodeaux. The two freak athletes will get to work on shifting the culture of two of the league’s worst defenses last season.

The Houston Texans are up next, and the draft will most likely bring a sense of relief to the embattled franchise. After two offseasons filled with drama brought on by QB Deshaun Watson, the Texans brass traded the star quarterback to the Browns for quite the haul. Now Lovie Smith, Nick Caserio, and Jack Easterby, who is surely some sort of social experiment, will look to spend that haul wisely as they rebuild the team. No matter how often we all ask “ What would you say you do here?” Easterby will continue to confuse us like Tom Smykowski in Office Space.

Outside of the successful Watson trade, the Texans stayed quiet this offseason, opting to bring in players at a value instead of making any big splashes. They opted to extend Brandin Cooks this week despite trade interest around the league, rewarding the star WR with a 2-year, $39.6 million contract. Cooks is just the latest example of how the WR market has exploded this offseason. A QB is likely not in play with the 3rd pick despite not having a long-term answer at the position. Davis Mills showed enough last year to be given another shot in a year that will result in a top-5 pick regardless. We could see the first OT off the board here, with Evan Neal and Ikem Ekwonu as likely candidates to protect Mills and whoever the Texans decide to draft in 2023. They could also make it three edge rushers to start the draft and go with Travon Walker. Let’s take a look at the three prospects below.


Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

Likely to be the 1st or 2nd OT taken in the top 10, Neal’s football pedigree and absurd athleticism have made him a projected 1st round pick from the moment he stepped on Alabama’s campus. He provides excellent versatility, having started at both tackle spots and guard in college. Neal will need to improve in the run game, as he occasionally finds himself leaning and struggling to finish blocks. As a pass blocker, he’s an incredibly smooth athlete and would be a boon to a Texans line that has struggled to protect their QB for years.

Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State

If the Texans want to see what they have in Davis Mills, Ekwonu may be their best bet. While Neal may be a more finished product right now, Ekwonu can start at either guard or tackle on day 1, and eventually replace Laremy Tunsil at LT. Although his frame would suggest a move to guard, where he played some in 2020, his potential as a pass blocker gives him the chance to be a very good anchor for many years. Setting up Mills or the Texans’ 2023 pick at QB will be vital to a successful rebuild, and beefing up the trenches is an ideal way to start.

Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia

Of this draft’s top 3 edge rushers, Travon Walker may be the freakiest. Posting a 9.99 RAS, Walker is a one-year starter who was a pivotal part of Georgia’s ferocious defense last season, posting 7.5 TFL and 6 sacks. He can play just about anywhere on the line due to his rare athleticism at 272 pounds and is solid against the run, Walker will need to develop his secondary rush moves at the next level, but the focus on one position in the league should help there. Lovie Smith would salivate at the chance to coach a talent like Walker, and that may be the reason the Texans go defense here. Adding a versatile athlete like Walker upfront could only help establish an identity for the remade Texans.


Poll

Who will the Texans select at #3?

This poll is closed

  • 50%
    Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
    (309 votes)
  • 18%
    Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State
    (113 votes)
  • 31%
    Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia
    (191 votes)
613 votes total Vote Now

That’s all for the 3rd pick! Be sure to vote here and on Twitter (@acmepackingco) and come back later in the week to find out who the Jets will draft with the 4th pick.