With the Senior Bowl under way in Mobile, Alabama, and only one game left in the 2024 post-season, it’s time for Battle Red Blog to unveil it’s first Mock Draft of the offseason.
Houston enters the 2024 Draft in a “best player on the board” mentality. It’s a rare position for this organization to be in given the past half-decade of atrocious teams and glaring needs on the roster. General Manager Nick Caserio finally has the flexibility to blend his draft strategy of targeting needs with the long-term goal of finding the best overall talent on the board.
As I wrote about last week, Houston’s primary needs heading into the offseason are cornerback, running back, and defensive tackle. In the first mock draft of the season, we project Nick Caserio do just that. While there’s an online push to bolster the wide receiver corps, I believe the Houston Texans are fairly happy with their wide receiver group. If anything, they’ll address any holes through free agency (give me Josh Reynolds from Detroit).
Round 1, Pick 23: Kamari Lassiter, CB - Georgia
Houston spends their first pick on a starting cornerback to pair with breakout second-year corner Derek Stingley Jr. This pick very well could be a defensive lineman and most likely depends on if Houston resigns CB Steven Nelson or DT Sheldon Rankins.
Lassiter is a perfect fit for DeMeco Ryans’ zone scheme. He’s a two-year starter for the Bulldogs and led the team in pass breakups with eight. However, he didn’t record an interception in his two years as a starter and only once as a backup DB his freshman year.
Lassiter is a high-floor, low-ceiling, plug-and-play corner. He may not be a rock star corner prospect, but he can step in immediately and lock down team’s second best receiver.
Round 2, 59: Kris Jenkins Jr. , DL - Michigan
At 6’3”, 305 pounds, Jenkins is a run-stopping beast in the middle of the defensive line. Since it’s pre-NFL combine, it’s difficult to tell whether Jenkins will be valued higher than his current late second-round billing. He’s going to test as one of the top athletes in the DL class which could hike up his draft stock. This isn’t a deep interior defensive line class, so landing a quality prospect early will be critical.
Jenkins is the son of four-time All-Pro defensive tackle Kris Jenkins Sr. That family acumen could come in handy as there’s probably a starting role available on this defensive line.
Round 3, Pick 85 Jaylen Wright, RB - Tennessee
Considering Devin Singletary is a free agent and Dameon Pierce is fresh off a demoralizing sophomore slump, running back become an immediate need. This class is confusing given Jonathan Brooks’ injury and other under-developed prospects. If Bucky Irving falls, he’ll be the choice here, but Jaylen Wright is a fantastic option.
Wright was the focal point of a dynamic Tennessee Vols’ offense. He’s an upright runner with patience, acceleration, and quality pass catching acumen. The kid loves a stiff arm, a jump cut, and a good juke in the middle of the field. A thousand yard rusher in the SEC who averaged 7.4 yards per carry will fit in just nicely to the Texans offense.
Round 4, Pick 112: Blake Fisher, OT - Notre Dame
Fisher slots in as the backup tackle after starting two years at right tackle for Notre Dame. He will have just turned 21 by the time of the draft and will have plenty of years to learn under Laremy Tunsil and Tytus Howard. At 6’6”, 312 pounds, Fisher has the size and footwork to develop into a quality tackle.
Round 4, Pick 122: James Williams, CB/S - Miami
After Houston chose an offensive tackle for depth, they turn around and address another depth issue at Safety. Frankly, it’s so early in the draft process that this player could jump into the second round. He could also very well be sitting there at the end of the fourth. It simply comes down to if a team can find a role for this hulking player.
Williams is a freak of nature corner the likes of Baltimore’s All-Pro S Kyle Hamilton. Williams stands at 6’5” and 215 pounds. Texans need a ball hawking safety, but that’s not Williams; he’s more of a sole crushing hitter in the middle of the field. At the very least, Houston drafts one of the best special teams players in the draft.
That rounds up the first mock draft of the 2024 offseason. What did we miss? Are there any players the Texans should target in the draft?