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Evaluating ESPN’s Houston Texans Seven-Round Mock Draft

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By: Kenneth L.

Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Reacting to ESPN’s Matt Miller’s 2024 mock draft for Houston’s picks

It’s officially draft season, baby! While I concoct my second-to-last mock draft of the season (most recent mock draft here), I took a stab at reviewing the latest from ESPN’s mock draft.

The start of the second round began with a string of players I’d love to see in a Texans uniform. WR Xavier Legette, WR Keon Coleman, DT Jer’zhan Newton, DT Darius Robinson, CB Kamari Lassiter, and LB Edgerrin Cooper are all players I have either mocked to Houston or said the team were highly considering.

With the first pick for the Texans in the second round, ESPN’s Matt Miller selects one of the highest risers in the draft…

Round 2, Pick 42: Braden Fiske, DT – Florida State

Grade: B

In my pre-NFL Combine mock, I had Fiske going to the Texans in the end of the third round. Now he’s valued as a high second round pick. The positional need is correct, but this is a full round higher than projected just one month ago.

Here’s Millers’ write up:

Miller: The Texans are on the clock for the first time, and even after adding impact defensive linemen in free agency, they should still address the depth and future of the unit. Fiske is slightly undersized at 6-5 and 292 pounds, but his quickness shooting gaps and ability to take over a game are notable. Coming off back-to-back six-sack seasons, Fiske dominated at the Senior Bowl before putting together an all-around great combine workout that featured a 40-yard dash time of 4.78 seconds.

Here’s my analysis on him from February:

Fiske was projected-first-rounder defensive end Jared Verse’s running mate on the defensive line at FSU. Fiske’s stocky frame discredits his quick feet and rapid hand movement. He single-handedly dominated Louisville in the ACC Championship game. When Fiske is at his best, he is powering through the center with technique and using his tenacity to combat combo-blocks. Fiske does have a tendency to rush upright with his chest exposed, which allows opposing blockers to anchor down against him.

Fiske spent the majority of his career at Western Michigan before transferring to FSU. He elevated his play to the new competition level and shined in the Seminole’s aggressive defense. He was a man amongst boys in his fifth season, so it will be interesting to see if he continues to develop or if he’s at the peak of his athleticism.

He isn’t going to wow anyone with his physical attributes, but Fiske has a clear runway to contribute on the defensive line.

Round 2, Pick 59 Tyler Nubin, S – Minnesota

Grade: A

Miller: The Texans have bolstered the secondary through free agency, but I’d like to do something at the free safety position. Nubin had 13 interceptions during his college career and has excellent vision and range. A postseason knee surgery has pushed him down the board, but he’s a steal at this spot.

This would be a grade A steal in the draft. Nubin could go in the first round and is the second safety taken in this draft, but in my rankings the best in the draft. He is a true free safety and complimentary to Jalen Pitre who plays closer to the line of scrimmage.

Round 3, Pick 86: Beaux Limmer, C, Arkansas

Grade: B-

Miller: One of my favorite players to watch in person last season, Limmer has elite movement and agility for a center prospect and can anchor with the best of them. He’s a starter candidate and could unseat 2023 second-rounder Juice Scruggs here.

Even the breakdown is contradictory to the selection of Limmer. Scruggs played well at the center position. So did late-round pick Jarrett Patterson when Scruggs moved to guard. If this is the selection, it really means that the Texans have given up on Kenyon Green and plan on moving Scruggs to guard.

Don’t get me wrong, Limmer is a starting caliber center. At 6’5”, he’s a massive center who also played guard his Sophomore and Junior years before playing center all last year. He’s not a developed pass blocker, but lord he can run block with the best of them.

Round 4, Pick 123: Malik Washington, WR – Virginia

Grade: C+

No write ups from ESPN after the third round. Washington has been a player linked with the Texans fairly often. He’s a savvy vet who is NFL-ready. He’s got sneaky speed and was the primary target for Virginia at a crazy clip with 111 catches on 138 targets. Oh, and he had nine TDs. Oh 2x, He was the third highest rated wide receiver according to PFF. Only 5’8, Washington would rotate in at the slot with Tank Dell and John Metchie III.

Waiting on WR is a double-edged sword. The team is bringing back seven wide outs, making this a luxury pick but not an immediate impact player. If this pick happens, I can see Houston trading John Metchie III for additional draft capital.

Round 4, Pick 127: Cade Stover, TE, Ohio State

Grade: A

Another one that I’ve mocked in the past and would LOVE to see. He was on of my Top Texans Draft Targets to Watch at the NFL Combine and for good reason. He caught 36 passes from C.J. Stroud two seasons ago at Ohio State. Stover played an even number of snaps on the line of scrimmage and in the slot, making him a versatile weapon perfect for Bobby Slowik’s offense. He can block fairly well and would immediately contribute as the second tight end on the team.

Round 6, Pick 188: Chau Smith-Wade, CB, Washington State

Grade: B+

A scheme fit for man, which appears to be where the defense is heading. CSW may fit better as a nickel CB and special teams contributor. The biggest question is if he can break through with the number of CBs the Texans have signed in free agency. If anything, a year on special teams and the backup to Desmond King Jr. would do this technical corner good after two years starting at WSU.

Round 7, Pick 238: Houston Texans (via NO): Brevyn Spann-Ford, TE, Minnesota

Grade: D

Another TE? Yeah at this point things aren’t making sense and the logic is out the window. A TE5 doesn’t make the roster and this is a wasted pick. Even if Teagan Quitoriano doesn’t fully recover from two seasons ended on IR, Spann-Ford doesn’t add much incremental talent to the position.

Round 7, Pick 247: Houston Texans: Ainias Smith, WR, Texas A&M

Grade: D

Again, looking at Houston’s depth chart and the addition of third round wide receiver Malik Washington, Smith won’t make the roster. He’s the ninth WR on the roster considering Houston just resigned KR Steven Sims.

To be fair, this does fit in with GM Nick Caserio’s doctrine of doubling up on positions of need. Nothing against Smith, but this pick doesn’t add anything Houston doesn’t have already.

Overall Thoughts:

What would I change? Adding a RB3 to the mix on Day Three would be more beneficial than a WR9 of TE5. Sorry, but that’s simply logical to me. Bucky Irving, Audric Estime, or Isaac Guerendo would do.

In the front end of the draft, I think T’Vondre Sweat is more of a generational player while Fiske does fit the system. The mock also has Kool-Aid McKinstry falling and I can’t imagine Houston passing up on him.

I’m also not in love with another Day Two pick going to inside lineman, but Limmer is both an adept run blocker and versatile player to possibly take over center or right guard moving forward.

Favorite pick: Tyler Nubin. Will rotate in with Jimmy Ward this year then be a starter in season two.

Most upside: Chau Smith-Wade. Special teams, nickel corner, dime safety. I’d rather bet on CSW’s potential than let him suit up against me.

Least favorite pick: Brevin Spann-Ford. Boo-hoo’ing a 7th rounder is low, even for me. But fifth-string tight ends don’t exactly move the needle, pal.

Originally posted on Battle Red Blog – All Posts