NFL draft rumors: Could Texans trade back into first round for defensive prospect?

Given Nick Caserio’s track record on draft weekend, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to see the Houston Texans wheel and deal their way through the 2024 NFL draft.

Houston’s already started making deals when it shipped the No. 23 overall pick to the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for two second-round selections and a 2024 sixth-round pick. One of those Day 2 selections was shipped off to Buffalo in a deal to acquire four-time Pro Bowl receiver Stefon Diggs. 

Could Houston make a move back into the first? According to The Athletic’s Diana Russini, it’s technically not off the table. 

“The Texans aren’t on the clock until the second round, but I wouldn’t put it past Nick Caserio to trade into the first round Thursday night,” Russini wrote. I’m expecting Houston to at least try, just based on Caserio’s history. He traded eight times last year and seven times in 2022. We’ll see if he starts calling Thursday.” 

Try and do differ completely, but make equal sense. The Texans would likely have to be significantly high on a prospect that fell down the pecking order. They also would have to be willing to give up proper compensation to acquire him without taking themselves out of range on Day 2. 

Defensive tackle and cornerback remain weak points for Houston entering Thursday night. Both positions were constantly filled at pick No. 23 and have the usual suspects at picks No. 42 and No. 59, respectively. 

Illinois defensive tackle Johnny Netwon and Alabama cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry could be ideal targets for Houston late in Round 1. Both All-Americans dealt with Jones fractures that limited them in workouts during the pre-draft process. 

McKinstry confirmed that he met with the Texans for a formal visit in Indianapolis last month at the combine. Newton also met with the Texans at his pro day away from the other Illinois prospects. 

Caserio has proven before his militancy to grab a talent he covets. In 2022, he traded up 23 spots to draft receiver John Metchie III in the second round. Last season, the Texans moved up nine spots with the Arizona Cardinals to acquire defensive end and eventually Defensive Rookie of the Year Will Anderson Jr. at No. 3. 

Both Metchie and Anderson went to Alabama, a common theme for Houston in the Caserio regime over the previous two drafts. On top of that, Arizona holds the No. 27 pick, and Caserio’s relationship with Monti Ossenfort bodes well for a potential deal. 

Houston might not move up into the top 32, but Caseiro likely will inquire about the asking price. Expect at least one trade from Houston within the first 64 picks, if not more, by the time Round 3 begins Friday evening. 

Story originally appeared on Texans Wire