The Houston Texans come into the 2022 NFL Draft with a war chest of draft picks and needs at every position except quarterback and left tackle. This makes drafting interesting for the Texans, as they can feel free to select anyone they like at any position with any pick.
But for the purposes of this mock draft, we’re going to assume two things: 1. Davis Mills can feel safe in the knowledge that the Texans won’t draft a starting quarterback to replace him and 2. In this bizarro world, in order to keep things nice and simple, there are no trades.
The Texans hold picks no. 3, 13, 37, 68, 80, 107, 108, 183, 205, 207, and 245. Whew.
Houston Texans: 2022 NFL Mock Draft
Round 1, No. 3: Derek Stingley Jr. – Cornerback, LSU
For the first time in a few drafts, there’s not a clear number one cornerback in the pool, but Stingley seems to be the guy. It’s worth noting that his best tape came in his freshman year when LSU won the national championship and he was quite comfortably the best corner in the country. His production slowed a good deal in the following years, but that may be due to the situation at LSU as a whole rather than specifically with Stingley. After a good NFL Combine and Pro Day, he should go as either the first or second corner off the board.
Round 1, No. 13: Garrett Wilson – Wide receiver, Ohio State
Wide receiver is another position where the entire NFL is spoiled for choice, and Wilson is who the Texans should target. With a rare combination of size, speed, and separation ability, Wilson has produced at an elite level both in the slot and on the outside, which truly helps a rebuilding team. The ability to produce from day one is the goal with a lot of these rookies, and Wilson should be able to do that better than just about any receiver in the class.
Round 2, No. 37: Jalen Pitre – Cornerback, Baylor
We double dip on corners to deal with the threat posed by the rest of the AFC South. With AJ Brown and Robert Woods with the Tennessee Titans, Trevor Lawrence running things with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Matt Ryan joining the Indianapolis Colts, pass defense may end up being very important for the Texans. Pitre anchored one of the best defenses in college football last season, and Lovie Smith will be hoping he can pair with Stingley and do the same in Houston.
Round 3, No. 68: Brian Asamoah – Linebacker, Oklahoma
Asamoah may be a bit undersized but that’s mattering less and less to NFL coaches as the years go on. He possesses the speed and football IQ to cover the entire field. He racked up a total of 113 tackles in his final two years at Oklahoma, and the Texans are going to need that kind of production in order to continue their rebuild in a successful fashion.
Round 3, No. 80: Kerby Joseph – Safety, Illinois
The Texans defense is being completely remade in the image of Smith, and it would be further upgraded with a player he recruited to Illinois. Joseph grew into one of the best safeties in the Big 10, and the familiarity he has with Smith’s system should serve him well in Houston. To emphasize the player Joseph grew into, across his final two games for Illinois, he only allowed two catches for 24 yards.
Round 4, No. 107 – Luke Fortner – Center, Kentucky
The Texans need bodies on the offensive line at the moment, and Fortner offers the versatility needed to play anywhere on the interior. To illustrate this, Fortner played 600 snaps at both center and guard positions, which is incredibly useful for a rebuilding team. Fortner should stick well in Houston and he’ll be much needed.
Round 5, No. 108: Jalen Wydermyer – Tight end, Texas A&M
Wydermyer gives Mills a reliable target, in addition to being a solid blocker. As said before, the Texans need versatility and Wydermyer offers enough of that to be useful as a fifth-round pick. He didn’t have the best statistical career at Texas A&M, but he was never just his numbers. He may not be the best tight end available here, strictly speaking, but he’s probably the best one for what the Texans need.
Round 6, No. 183: ZaQuandre White – Running back, South Carolina
White is the pick here for a number of reasons, most notably is that he can play special teams. He’s a good runner and a decent pass blocker but his real use early in his career will likely be on special teams, and again, that ability to play multiple places will serve him well with the Texans.
Round 6, No. 205: Nephi Sewell – Linebacker, Utah
Sewell will also be able to play special teams with the Texans but he could also contribute as an actual linebacker early on if needed, as he was one of the more productive linebackers in the Pac 12, culminating in a 73-tackle season in 2021. He also occasionally played on the edge as a pass rusher, which he presumably could also do in the NFL.
Round 6, No. 207: Matt Araiza – Punter, San Diego State
Easily the best punter in college football for the past two seasons, Araiza has an absolute howitzer of a leg, but he needs to rein in his control a bit to be truly successful at the next level. Here’s hoping “Punt God” does so because he’s a treat to watch kick.
Round 7, No. 245 – Carson Wells – Edge rusher, Colorado
We have somehow made it this far without drafting a single edge rusher, so let’s satisfy that need. The Texans are on a long-term rebuild, so ignoring one position shouldn’t be too big a deal with the 20 picks they have over the next two drafts. Wells had an insanely good Pro Day but he’ll have some work to do to get picked. But much like Sewell, he can play both as an edge rusher and an inside linebacker. He’s not the best at either, but as said earlier, the Texans need bodies right now.