NFL Draft primer: Texans can continue push into contention by addressing these key areas

2023 record: 10-7, won AFC South, lost in divisional round

Draft picks per round

2nd round: No. 42 (from Vikings)
2nd round: No. 59
3rd round, No. 86 (from Eagles)
4th round: No. 123 (from Browns)
4th round: No. 127
6th round: No. 188 (from Raiders)
6th round: No. 189 (from Bills)
7th round: No. 238 (from Saints)
7th round: No. 247

(Taylar Sievert/Yahoo Sports)
(Taylar Sievert/Yahoo Sports)

Top needs

Offensive line
Defensive tackle

The Texans addressed multiple needs via free agency, including dealing for wide receiver Stefon Diggs and upgrading their pass rush with the additions of Denico Autry and Danielle Hunter, who combined for 28 sacks last season. Alongside Defensive Rookie of the Year Will Anderson Jr. (seven sacks), they should more than make up for the departure of 2023 sack leader Jonathan Greenard (12.5 sacks).

With edge rusher checked off, the Texans will look to improve at cornerback and on the offensive and defensive lines in the draft. Houston added former first-round cornerback Jeff Okudah from the Atlanta Falcons with starter Steven Nelson leaving in free agency. In a deep cornerback draft, the Texans should look to add another in the early rounds to fill out their top three alongside returning starter Derek Stingley Jr.

With Sheldon Rankins gone, the Texans need to shore up their run defense via defensive tackle. The departure of 2023 right tackle George Fant exacerbates the needs on the offensive line. Tytus Howard can play inside or out opposite Pro Bowl left tackle Laremy Tunsil. Either way, there's room to upgrade on the line to block for new addition Joe Mixon and protect C.J. Stroud.

C.J. Stroud headshot
C.J. Stroud
QB - HOU - #7
2023 - 2024 season
Comp Pct

Best first-round fits

Byron Murphy, DL, Texas
Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson
Graham Barton, OL, Duke

Best Day 2 fits

Mike Sainristil, CB, Michigan
Kamari Lassiter, CB, Georgia
Kingsley Suamataia, OT, BYU
Kris Jenkins, DL, Michigan
Ruke Orhorhoro, DL, Clemson
Khyree Jackson, CB, Oregon
Christian Haynes, OG, UConn

How they did last draft

The Texans did just fine, earning an A-minus and drafting arguably the greatest rookie quarterback in NFL history in Stroud. Anderson joined Stroud with Rookie of the Year honors on the defensive side, while third-round pick Tank Dell emerged as one of the best young receivers in the NFL.

Center Jarrett Patterson and guard Juice Scruggs each saw starts on the line and could remain contributors. This was the best draft in football last season, setting a high bar for 2024.

Dream fantasy draft pick

The Texans have the best young QB-and-WRs combination in the league and appear set at running back after bringing in Joe Mixon during the offseason. The Stefon Diggs trade makes an already potent passing game an embarrassment of riches. Dalton Schultz and Noah Brown also re-signed in Houston, so the main fantasy concern is upgrading the offensive line. The Texans’ offense is capable of being a fantasy juggernaut in 2024, but we need C.J. Stroud to remain healthy. — Dalton Del Don