NFL draft: Cole Thompson’s final first-round mock

The Houston Texans won’t be on the clock Thursday night as 32 prospects hear their names called and enter the NFL fraternity.

Or will they?

General manager Nick Caserio has proven his willingness to add “his players” over the seven rounds in the previous three drafts. He traded up to land Nico Collins in 2021. A year later, he secured the services of John Metchie III and Christian Harris.

Last season, the Texans believed in Will Anderson Jr. so much that they trade their own first-round pick in 2024, along with a first- second- and third-round selection to move up nine spots with the Arizona Cardinals.

Anderson rewarded Houston by breaking J.J. Watt’s rookie sack record en route to a division title and Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.

Maybe the Texans stand pat at No. 42 until Friday evening. Perhaps Caserio makes a few phone calls before calling it a day. That doesn’t mean he’ll sit back and make nine selections.

Houston can land five players and no one should be shocked. No one should lose their mind if the Texans add a dozen names by trading down for better value.

Every year, I do a mock draft. It’s been a passion of mine since I was sitting in my grandpa’s living room watching as Radio City Music Hall was buzzing on a Saturday afternoon between selections and analysis from the godfather himself Mel Kiper Jr.

The Texans currently aren’t scheduled to pick on Day 1, but I’m still keeping the tradition alive. Here’s my definitive — and only — first-round mock as the Chicago Bears prepare to take USC’s Caleb Williams.

Stop pretending he’s not the pick, people.

Story originally appeared on Texans Wire