The NFL Draft presents an opportunity.
The opportunity to change the franchise. To right wrongs. To undo the unexplainable. To rebuild. To rejuvenate. To reestablish.
To do all of those things, the Texans must make the most of the ten opportunities they have this draft. Most importantly, what they do with the 3rd overall pick will likely outweigh the rest of the picks combined when it comes to the fans’ opinions. There’s approximately 10 different players the Texans can take with this pick (options listed below), but one direction they could, and should take is trading away the third.
Immediately, the conjecture to this entire article is the lack of a high-caliber QB worthy of a team trading all the way to three to secure his employment. However, any team with the right set of picks, needs, and willingness can move up to select “their guy”.
Even if the return value is distinctly less than it could be, trading back in any capacity will multiply the Texans’ chances to hit on their picks while losing minimal difference in talent in the first. Considering the first 10-15 players all have relatively similar talent and projections, moving back in the draft and acquiring more and future picks would benefit this rebuilding franchise.
Identifying those teams, well that’ll be the objective of this article. To do so, we’ll rank these teams by tiers and provide a footnote and description into the reasoning behind their ranking.
Teams without a first round pick:
31. Cleveland Browns - For obvious reason. No trade backs.
30. Miami Dolphins - Who knows what the Dolphins are doing, but they sure aren’t going to be active during the draft.
29. Las Vegas Raiders - Five total picks this year, first being in the 3rd round.
28. Los Angeles Rams - Eight total picks this year, first being in the 3rd round.
27. Indianapolis Colts - Divisional rival, no first, and no seemingly distinct need to come up to third.
26. Chicago Bears - The Justin Fields tax taking its toll.
25. Denver Broncos - Broncos were interested in Watson, but sold everything to get Wilson.
24. San Francisco 49ers - The Trey Lance tax taking its toll, too.
Other teams picking early:
23. Jaguars: The have the first pick of the litter (pun intended). Unless Shad Khan can’t decide whose career he wants to ruin, they aren’t an option.
22. Lions - With the second pick, the Lions could go a multitude of ways, but none of them will involve the third pick.
Teams without significant QB needs warranting a trade to 3rd overall:
21. Buffalo Bills - They do need a pass rusher, but will hope one falls to 25.
19. Los Angeles Chargers - Herbert is the long term answer, but desperately need a CB to pair with JC Jackson. They’ll wait for McDuffie at 17.
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - With Tom staying and free agents still relatively murky, the Bucs won’t accommodate the Texans. However, they will see this as an all-in season and willing to trade for, maybe, Brandin Cooks.
Teams with needs who could go all-in for a positional need to get “their guy:”
17. Baltimore Ravens - The signing of Marcus Williams denotes the team’s desire to get back to being a contender. With four of the top 100 picks, the Ravens are only a call away from finding a pass rusher they need to get back on track.
16. Dallas Cowboys - Who knows what direction the Cowboys are taking. They look to this season and an opportunistic NFC East as an inflection point. They may lack the deep draft capital, but they do have deep pockets and a dwindling window.
15. New England Patriots - Patriots land here mainly due to their willingness to make the NFL Draft as chaotic as possible. With Mac Jones at the helm, he needs elite OL and WR talent around him, which they could get at three with the right trade. They have a similar draft capital as the Cowboys do too.
14. Tennessee Titans - Divisional rival, yes, but a disappointing postseason will make them desperate. I imagine they won’t look at the Texans for help, but the Titans will be a player in the game on the draft. They received Robert Woods for next to nothing in the offseason and they’ll look to rebuild their offensive line. Or, and it’s a big or, they will trade Tannehill and draft picks to find a better solution at the QB position.
13. Kansas City Chiefs - Though they do have two first round picks, they are the 29th and 30th, which doesn’t help much. Trading away Tyreek Hill is bonkers, so they will need a new star for Mahomes considering they have struggled to even find a WR2 the past four years.
12. Green Bay Packers - Similar to KC, they have two first round picks. They have an undeniable need at WR and hopefully will be a potential trade partner at 13, but 3 could be too expensive for their taste.
Potential teams looking to shake things up:
11. Minnesota Vikings - This was the last team I found a place for simply because they are as lost as a boat in a hurricane. They aren’t yet searching for a QB, but could be in the market for a developmental one. Moving up from 12 wouldn't be overly expensive and they are grasping at anything to improve this team’s prospects.
10. Washington Commanders - This team also needs a QB even after trading for Carson Wentz. A true signal caller is really all this team lacks to become a contender.
9. Atlanta Falcons - Is Marcus Mariota the answer? No. Are they going to be bad for the foreseeable future? Yes. Atlanta is stocked with picks in this year’s draft including two seconds and two thirds. They could be willing to make a deal and move up five spots. Atlanta is a team in turmoil, but selecting a QB early could alleviate the tensions.
8. Arizona Cardinals - Rumors of Kyler Murray to Houston make me nauseous. It would be a failure of direction if it occurs. Nevertheless, it’s an undeniable story and must be considered in this topic. If Arizona is truly unhappy with Murray and are looking to get out of their current predicament, Houston offers a solution.
Have the ammo but also early picks:
7. Carolina Panthers - Panthers are set to take Malik Willis at six overall...but everyone in the league knows that. To fend off other teams and secure their future, the Panthers front office could jettison several picks to come up to three and make the move official. The most recent regime has been active in the draft and would be willing to calm the storm around them by moving up three spots. They would have to leverage future draft picks as they only have they don't have a second or third round pick in this draft.
6. Jets - They have a cargo plane full of high draft picks and will be a mover and shaker throughout the draft. The 4 and an early second could be leveraged to avoid a trade occurring with another team, if they get anxious enough.
5. Giants - The two New York teams are well situated in this draft. Giants hold the fifth and seventh picks. They likely won’t move either mainly because they’ve voiced their stalwart approach for Daniel Jones, but they are well positioned to maybe double-swap with the Texans; the 3 and 13 for the 5 and 7. I’d take that trade straight up.
4. Eagles - They are supposedly all-in on Jaelen Hurts, but don’t have any weapons around him. They have a decent offensive line, but could improve there too. They have five picks in the first 101 selections, making them a viable candidate. More likely a decent trade partner with us for the 13th pick, the Eagles and GM Howie Roseman are going to fight to set themselves up to run the NFC East for the next five years.
3. Seattle Seahawks - This team is rebuilding and does technically need a new QB. They hold the 9th, 40th and 41st picks. That’s enough for them to make a move to three if they fear Carolina will take their guy.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers - Mitch Trubisky is said to be the new starting QB for the Steelers, but I don’t buy it. Another season losing in the Wild Card round and the Mike Tomlin era approaching its end, the Steelers are desperate for any spark of hope. Steelers have the receivers, but not the arm to unleash them. They hold the 20th, 52nd, and 84th picks, none of which are inspiring, but if Nick Caserio wants to push his draft value into next year, this could be a team willing to part with their first pick next year. The Steelers must make a big splash soon or watch as they enter a prolonged period of turnover and turmoil.
1. New Orleans Saints - The Saints are where the Steelers could be in three years. Without a viable QB, a roster full of untapped talent that can’t shine, a new coach, and no logical path forward. They made a pre-draft trade with the Eagles and now have the 16th and 19th, in the sweet spot of this class. If they’ve fallen in love with a certain QB, they can jump most every QB-needy team to get the one they want and restart their team. The Saints don’t have the draft capital in future drafts they once had due to the Eagles trade, but if they are willing to also mortgage some of their defensive talent, this trade easily can go through.
Options: Thibideaux, Hamilton, Walker, Ekwonu, Neal, Gardner, Stingley Jr., Hutchinson, Johnson II, Willis, Wilson