Houston Texans Mock Draft Roundup 6.0

Throughout the year and leading up to the 2023 NFL Draft, we will update our Houston Texans Mock Draft Roundup showing picks for the Houston Texans from several prominent sites and draft analysts.

The following are picks in recent mock drafts for the Texans:

CBS Sports - Chris Trapasso (3/9)

2. Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

The Texans upgrade the quarterback position in a big way with Young, who has all the improvisational brilliance to succeed in today's NFL.

12. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

This is right in the range Smith-Njigba's teammates Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave went in the 2022 draft. Feels about right for Smith-Njigba after his awesome agility-drill times at the combine.

ESPN - Todd McShay (3/7)

2. C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Houston still has a lot of homework to do on the quarterbacks, and we aren't sure how its internal board sets up, but the projected Colts-Bears trade might not ruin its first night of the draft. Stroud could be the Texans' answer after they turned in the league's worst QBR last season (26.0). He threw 41 touchdown passes in 2022 and ended his college career with perhaps his best game. Stroud has terrific touch and can make all of the NFL-level throws, and we saw it again on Saturday when he put together an outstanding throwing session at the combine.

Can GM Nick Caserio and first-year head coach DeMeco Ryans get Stroud some help, though? The Texans pick again at No. 12 and then have a trio of Day 2 selections.

12. Jalen Carter, IDL, Georgia

I'll start by stressing that Carter's draft range is an unknown right now. He was arrested last week on charges of reckless driving and racing in connection with a crash that killed a Bulldogs teammate and a recruiting staff member, and teams are doing their due diligence as they sort through the situation. No one I've spoken to around the league knows how it will impact his stock or what comes next. It's likely Carter will fall a bit, but we don't know how far -- so take this projection with that context.

As for the fit, drafting a wide receiver would obviously be tempting, but Houston is only on offense for half the game and has some issues on defense, too. It gave up 5.1 yards per rush last season (29th) and was middle-of-the-pack in most pass-rush statistics. A top-three prospect in the class on talent alone, Carter plays with power and burst, and he has the traits to emerge as a disruptor on this defensive line.

NFL.com - Lance Zierlein (3/7)

2. Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Young is the quarterback with the best poise, fewest concerns and most "face of the franchise" personality. He'll fit in perfectly with the Texans.

12. Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa

Van Ness just crushed the combine. His physical components and play strength will likely remind DeMeco Ryans of the players he had on his excellent defense in San Francisco.

The Athletic - Dane Brugler (3/7)

2. Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Not everyone around the league is convinced the Texans will go quarterback here. With multiple first-round picks in next year's draft, Houston could continue to build up its roster and look to nab a QB in 2024.

With Young still available in this scenario, though, it would be tough to pass up. A combination of DeMeco Ryans at head coach and Young at quarterback would bump the optimism levels in Houston sky high.

12. Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia

Wide receiver is a popular pick for Texans here, understandably. Rather than reach on a pass-catcher, though, they could wait and still have plenty of options in Round 2.

Smith has the talent and character that would be an ideal fit for what Ryans and general manager Nick Caserio want to build on defense. Though he already figured to be in this range, Smith's 1.52 10-yard split and 4.39 40-yard dash at the combine only helped his case.

USA Today - Nate Davis (3/7)

2. C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

He was all confidence at the podium in Indy, lamenting his two losses to "that team up north," meaning Michigan before adding, "I feel like I could have won Heismans back to back if I win those two games." Could be. And given his sophistication as a passer — Stroud was silky smooth in Saturday's throwing sessions — he would hardly be a consolation prize if he follows Young and could certainly wind up eclipsing him.

Stroud (6-3, 214 pounds) is accurate (69.3% completion rate in college), productive (85 TD passes, 12 INTs, 182.4 passer rating over last two seasons) and athletic — but has been inclined to extend plays to throw rather than break the pocket, though admitted Friday he should probably tuck the ball and run a bit more. Stroud was spectacular in his final game for the Buckeyes, a 2023 College Football Playoff semifinal loss to Georgia, passing for 348 yards and four TDs against a Bulldogs defense that is almost NFL-caliber. He could be the man to stabilize a Texans franchise that has essentially been in free fall for more than three years.

12. Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

He catches (138 receptions for 1,649 yards over past two seasons), he blocks, he scores (16 TDs over past two seasons), and the 2022 All-American is huge (6-5, 249 pounds). Is there a better way to help RB Dameon Pierce and a young quarterback ... especially since Mayer moves plenty well with his now-timed 4.7 speed?

The 33rd Team (3/7)

2. C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

C.J. Stroud has the best combination of adequate size (6-foot-3, 214 pounds) and pure throwing ability. He also has enough athleticism. He really showed his talent level at the combine in Indianapolis.

12. Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

The Texans get a tall, long, fast wide receiver in Quentin Johnston to help their new rookie quarterback.

Bleacher Report (3/7)

2. Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Alabama's Bryce Young took a business-like approach. He knew that everyone outside the Crimson Tide program wondered about his actual size.

Ultimately, he measured at just over 5'10" and 204 pounds. Both are solid numbers, even if they're still on the low end of the position's preferred physical spectrum.

Unlike the draft class' other top quarterback prospects, Young chose not to participate in any of the on-field events or throwing session. In some ways, this decision may not have helped, since C.J. Stroud, Anthony Richardson and Will Levis dazzled.

His standing as a top prospect isn't in question, but the previous concerns aren't going away entirely.

"Same as it ever was, it's all about size with Young," Klassen reiterated. "Though he measured in at 204 pounds, the fact that he didn't work out or throw suggests he isn't ready to play at that weight. Who knows if he ever will be?

"For as long as Young's body holds up, he'll give the Houston Texans an accurate, creative playmaker. Young excels amid chaos—sometimes by his own design—and has that special eye for making plays on the move. For a franchise desperately needing a spark of life, Young can be that sooner rather than later."

12. Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

Once the Houston Texans select their quarterback with the second overall pick—which seems inevitable—the next step is building around the new face of the franchise.

The Texans already have plenty of talent along their offensive line. So, the skill positions are the next priority.

Aside from Brandin Cooks, no other wide receiver on last season's roster managed more than 548 receiving yards. Granted, Nico Collins played in only 10 games, and the hope is that last year's second-round draft pick, John Metchie III, will be healthy and cleared to play football this fall.

Even if everything works out in the team's favor, the idea of surrounding Bryce Young with more talent isn't a bad one. Enter WR1.

"TCU's Quentin Johnston can fill the void left by DeAndre Hopkins long ago as Houston's explosive No. 1 receiver with ridiculously long arms," Klassen said. "Johnston measured with 34⅝-inch arms at the NFL Combine and jumped out of the stadium in both the vertical (40.5") and broad jumps (11'2").

"Johnston's route running and route tree may need development, but he brings a tantalizing combination of field-stretching speed and physical YAC skills. The combination makes him a threat to take one to the house at any time. By pairing him with a rookie quarterback, the Texans will have put the young duo in great spot to develop together."

Touchdown Wire - Doug Farrar (3/6)

2. Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Which gives the Texans Young — not a bad consolation prize. Of course, there will be a lot of talk about Young's size (an official 5-foor-10 and 204 pounds following Young's obvious postseason eating binge), but when you watch the tape, it's not really a problem. Like most smaller quarterbacks who survive several seasons at a high level, Young isn't just a mobile guy — he also knows how to avoid hits, and that's an important skill. He has all the tools and traits to become Houston's much-needed franchise quarterback.

12. Jordan Addison, WR, USC

Now that we've given the Texans their franchise-defining quarterback in Bryce Young, let's give Young the best route architect in this class in the person of Addison, who caught 59 passes on 79 targets for 875 yards and right touchdowns in 2022. He's not the biggest receiver in this class at 5-foot-11 and 173 pounds, but that's only a problem if an opposing cornerback can deal with his moves well enough to knock him off his post. Most of the time, that will be a problem, and said opposing cornerback will be left in Addison's dust.

Los Angeles Times - Sam Farmer (3/4)

2. Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Texans are ready to upgrade from Davis Mills, and there's something to like in all four of the top quarterback prospects.

12. Jordan Addison, WR, USC

Texans got their quarterback with the second pick, and now they have a swift and sure-handed player for the other end of those passes.

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