With the NFL season over, it’s time to look forward to the next best thing...FREE AGENCY!!!
Yeah, no, after the Super Bowl, it’s draft season, baby. Nobody can predict how these guys will turn out with 100% accuracy, but it’s the best part of the NFL offseason. This year, the Houston Texans finally have a first round draft pick after losing theirs the last two seasons thanks to Laremy Tunsil. To celebrate, here are three options the Texans have once they go on the clock this April.
Kyle Hamilton - Safety, Notre Dame
Did you really think I just wasn’t going to talk about Kyle Hamilton? Are you out of your mind? The whole reason I got the idea for this post was because of Kyle Hamilton. I’ve seen a lot of people wanting the Texans to trade down. I’m not saying it’s a bad idea, but let me try and sell you on Kyle Hamilton.
Kyle Hamilton is 6’4” and 220 pounds at the safety position. For reference, Isaiah Simmons is 6’4” and 230 pounds but a linebacker. I bring up Simmons because back in 2020, everyone loved him for just how much he could do. He was fast enough to line up against receivers. He was strong and skilled enough to cover tight ends. He was physical enough to stop the run and rush the passer. He was the full package.
Let me be the first to say Kyle Hamilton is better than Simmons. Hamilton (at the safety position, may I remind you) can do all the things Simmons was praised for coming out of Clemson. I’d argue Hamilton is more versatile when it comes to fitting in defensive schemes. Hamilton has no problem covering elite pass catching tight ends. He is fast enough and long enough to cover speedy receivers in press coverage and zone coverage. He doesn’t get beat often because he has great recovery speed and with his frame, he can affect the pass while being a step behind. Another perk of being 6’4” is his ability to win the jump balls. He’s not getting bodied off the line, and not many people are outjumping him.
Physical traits aside, Hamilton has a great feel for the game and is praised for his intelligence. Most teams nowadays will dare the safeties to come into the box and make tackles on running backs; Hamilton lives for that. He just doesn’t miss many tackles, is very good at making reads, and breaks on the gaps. He’s a big hitter, folks.
Hamilton can do it all.
Kayvon Thibodeaux - Edge Rusher, Oregon
There’s a lot to like about Thibodeaux. Early on, he was the favorite to go first overall, but the emergence of Aidan Hutchinson from Michigan, Evan Neal from Alabama, and some question marks about Thibodeaux’s work ethic have made him slip a bit. As someone not close to Thibodeaux, I can’t comment on anything other than what I see on the field. What I’ve seen him to do on the field leads me to believe Thibodeaux is the best pass rusher in this class.
Thibodeaux isn’t the most polished player in this draft by any means, but there’s a lot to like with him as a player. He plays with a high motor and is always chasing ball carriers no matter where they may be. Accompanied by a plethora of pass rushing moves, strong punching hands, and quick feet, he gets to the quarterback at a high level.
There aren’t a lot of knocks on his game either. You can say he’s not very fluid or that his play recognition could use some work, but in today’s NFL, everyone is trying to get their hands on a guy like Thibodeaux. Getting to the quarterback is more important than it’s ever has been. Being able to have someone who demands double teams and needs to be game planed for makes life very hard on offensive coaches and play-callers.
The best way to describe Thibodeaux is a game-wrecker. All you can ask from someone is to play hard and do his job. Thibodeaux plays with a lot of fire and is always at max speed. When it comes to doing his job of getting to the quarterback, he’s the best in his class.
I still lean to Hamilton for one reason: This is a loaded edge rusher class, Thibodeaux might be the best pass rusher in this class, but there are solid options all through the first three rounds of the draft.
Ikem Ekwonu - Offensive Lineman, NC state
The only reason this one isn’t Evan Neal is because I believe Neal is going first overall. I also find Ekwonu more interesting than Neal. To be clear, as of right now, the Texans don’t need a left tackle since they still have Tunsil, but a trade may be looming. Houston should still do their homework on the lffensive linemen in this draft because there are some great ones available.
Ekwonu is this year’s “monster prospect.” He’s listed at 6’4” and 320 pounds with the ability to run with linebackers. He’s an immovable object. In some of his film, you see pass rushers bull-rush him, and the dude doesn’t give an inch. He is a brick wall. His only real downfall is that his technique started to show cracks near the end of his college career. However, in terms of ceiling, Edownu’s is higher then Evan Neal, but the floor is lower too.
As mentioned earlier, the Texans don’t really need a left tackle. Still, the way I see it. drafting Edwonu isn’t the worst move. Tunsil could be traded and you never know what the 2023 NFL Draft holds. Maybe next year Houston is in a position to draft a franchise quarterback with Tunsil gone. Wouldn’t you rather be in a place where you have your franchise left tackle already on the roster when picking a new quarterback?
It’s not a flashy pick, but you can’t downplay the importance of the trenches. Ekwonu has room to grow. If the Texans take him at No. 3, he’s probably not going to turn this team around. But chances to draft franchise left tackles don’t come that often.
Those are my favorites for the Texans in the 2022 NFL Draft. The Texans are not one player away from being done with their rebuild, but missing on this pick would set them back a great deal. You never know what the next draft class has in store, so when in this position, you have to make it count.
Obviously, the Texans need help everywhere, so what’s most important to you? Let me know in the comments section below.