As a lifelong fan of everything Texas football, Jason Tomlinson understands the pain of being a Houston Texans fan right now. The team is in a great state of flux as their former franchise quarterback has been firmly on the trading block since more than 20 civil suits against Watson were filed alleging sexual misconduct. In what should be surprising, but sadly isn’t, the talent of Watson continues to draw the interest of NFL general managers who have reportedly been in touch with the Texans about different trade packages. As the team has struggled mightily to start this NFL season, it’s time to look at not only what current draft picks could turn into but what the additional picks gathered in a potential DeShaun Watson trade. Today, Jason Tomlinson will look at a few of the top NFL draft prospects that the Texans should have their eyes on.
Jason Tomlinson is a firm believer that NFL teams should draft the best player available. Fortunately, there’s no need for the Texans to feel like they need to squeeze in a particular position as every position’s future is up for grabs as the team rebuilds. The last time the Texans had the number one overall draft pick, they took an edge rusher. If they find themselves in a similar position this year, an edge rusher may one again be in the cards. Edge rusher, Kayvon Thibodeaux, is just an absolute dream for an NFL General Manager. At 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds, Kayvon has already been an effective pass rusher and has all the physical tools to grow into one of the league’s best defensive players.
When quarterbacks aren’t the most talented players in the draft, teams look to build through the offensive and defensive lines. While Thibodeaux is clearly the top prospect on the defensive line, Evan Neal is the top prospect along the offensive line. As the left tackle at Alabama, Evan Neal faces off against other NFL prospects almost every week. In all the games this season, only eight pressures have been allowed by Neal and no sacks have been given up. If the Texans are going to turn a corner, they need whoever the quarterback is going to be to have the time it takes to make the throws. Evan Neal would be a great foundational piece for the Texans.
Next up on the list of prospects is safety Kyle Hamilton out of Notre Dame. NFL safeties are the last line of defense and having a ball hawk in the secondary would be a real boost to the Texans who have to compete with AJ Brown, Kenny Golladay and Michael Pittman within their division. Jason Tomlinson has been impressed with the versatility of Hamilton who has proven effective on the outside and lined up against slot receivers. Hamilton has also showed that he can get to the quarterback when asked to blitz. A true do-it-all talent, Hamilton is a likely pick if the Texans end up picking in the top 5.
Jason Tomlinson understands that there’s no position as important to winning NFL football games as the quarterback position. Without a clear-cut number one prospect, a lot of mock drafts by professional outlets don’t have a quarterback going within the first top ten picks. History has shown us that this is very unlikely to happen. The last time a quarterback wasn’t taken within the top 5 picks was 2013. Jason Tomlinson believes one of the following prospects will make his way to the NFL draft podium with a top 5 pick. With Watson likely to be traded soon, it would be silly not to consider a quarterback for the Texans.
In a growing trend, NFL quarterbacks are being selected outside of the normal powerhouse schools in college football. The top prospect, according to many experts, is Malik Willis out of Liberty University. Willis has a lot of Lamar Jackson comparisons as he not only has a huge arm but is known for his rushing abilities. On November 6th Liberty takes on SEC powerhouse Ole Miss. If he can perform well on this national stage, look for the buzz surrounding Willis to grow quickly.
Finally, Sam Howell out of North Carolina is a prospect that had more buzz coming out of last year than he does so far in 2021. Howell put up big numbers last year and has since lost a lot of the talent around him. Most experts believe he has the tools to be a competent NFL quarterback, but does he have what it takes to be the face of the franchise? This is a question the Texans and all other NFL teams will have to answer before next year’s draft.