In every NFL Draft, there is always a pick which can turn the draft on its head somewhat. Usually, that speculation is devoted solely to the first couple of picks in the draft.
However, with most mock draft experts agreeing that the Jacksonville Jaguars will go with Evan Neal with the first pick of the draft (although Iken Ekwonu has his supporters too), it seems likely that the Lions will go with the arguably the best player in the current draft, Michigan’s Aidan Hutchison.
At this point though, things diverge a great deal. That’s because the team with the number 3 pick in the draft, the Houston Texans could very well change how this draft goes with the pick they make here.
Why is that?
Why The Texans Pick Is Pivotal
All 32 NFL teams will be looking at their draft boards and simulating various scenarios as to
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which players could land where and in the majority of those simulations, they will have Neal and Hutchison going as the first two picks in the draft.
However, after that things get much more complicated. The Houston Texans pick next and without wishing to be unkind to Texans fans, the team has a LOT of needs to address in all areas of the field.
New head coach Lovie Smith is going to have some kind of input on the team. The 63-year-old served on the Texans staff last year as defensive coordinator and he’ll have his own wish list from what he has seen on the defensive side of the ball.
However, with DeShaun Watson’s circumstances unclear and the likelihood of him suiting up again for the Texans looking slim, there are equally compelling cases for the Texans to make the move to secure a top three pick on offense.
This means that the Texans picks cover a wide range of players, so who are they?
Possible Texans Draft Selections
Ikem Ekwonu (OT) – The North Carolina State lineman would be a wise pick if the Texans want
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to protect Davis Mills next season, but there is an argument that Tackle is where the Texans are actually better off compared to other positions.
Garret Wilson (WR) – With Brandin Cooks and Nico Collins, the Texans need to add depth to that receiving corps and Garret Wilson would offer this, however if the Texans were to pick him, it is likely they’d seek to trade out of third spot, acquire some additional draft capital and move down the draft to land Wilson in a later pick.
Kayvon Thibodeaux (EDGE) – Assuming Hutchison has gone (and you could argue the teams with the top two picks could go with Thibodeaux instead) then Thibodeaux would be an immediate upgrade on the defensive line and give the Texans a genuine pass rush that they have not had since J.J.Watt was at his best.
Kyle Hamilton (S) – Some experts have Hamilton being the Texans pick in the third spot of the draft and while the Notre Dame safety is an exceptional player, I think the Texans needs are such that they would probably opnly consider Hamilton if they were to move down a place or two in the draft and with the Giants and Jets picking after them, I am not sure that their need for a safety is as great as it is for a corner, which brings us onto…
Derek Stingley Jr (CB) – The LSU prospect is the top cornerback in the draft and would offer the Texans a lockdown corner when healthy. His health is the main concern here rather than talent and if he can remain healthy, he would be a massive upgrade for the Texans pass coverage.
Impact On The Rest Of The Draft
As you can see, the Texans could go many ways with this pick and it would not surprise me if they look to trade away the pick if they feel they could pick up some immediate draft capital (the Eagles having three first round picks here is interesting, and I could maybe see the Eagles trading up by packaging picks together for a trade with the Texans).
However, what Houston do here will likely determine the strategy of other teams picking after them and remember, if you start to see a run on players in a certain position, then that can make teams looking for that kind of player, hungry to trade up to nab someone before another team does.
So rather than the first pick, for me it is the third pick which will set the tone of this draft and what Houston do, could well have repercussions for the teams picking after them in that first round.
My gut feeling is that they go with Thibodeaux if he’s there, or Stingeley Jr, if not, then they may well look to pick up more picks and trade away that third pick this year.