Texans land LSU LB Harold Perkins In ESPN’s 2025 NFL mock draft

A week ago, Caleb Williams took the stage in Detroit, Michigan, and donned his first jersey as a member of the Chicago Bears. The move was expected for months, but it finally marked the start of the 2024 NFL draft. 

Now, analysts are already preparing for the 2025 draft less than 10 later. Of course, plenty could change from here until Week 18 come next January, but at least pundits have a baseline on what to expect leading up to the regular season. 

For the Houston Texans, they remain a playoff contender entering 2024 after their lucrative offseason spending. Is it enough to send the franchise to New Orleans for the Super Bowl? According to ESPN, not yet. 

Instead, the Texans secure the 24th overall pick in the 2025 draft and select LSU linebacker Harold Perkins, thus bolstering DeMeco Ryans’ front seven at the second level. 

“Perkins is an ideal fit in DeMeco Ryans’ scheme,” wrote ESPN’s Jordan Reid. “He has spent time at the first and second levels of the Tigers’ defense, but he is expected to be a full-time inside linebacker this season. Perkins is an explosive playmaker, with 13 sacks and 28.5 tackles for loss over the past two seasons, but he has to improve his read-and-react skills.” 

Perkins, a native of Cypress, has been a staple of the Tigers’ defense over the past two seasons. He started as a true freshman and impressed off the edge, leading the team in tackles for loss and sacks while earning first-team All-SEC honors. 

Last season, Perkins’ numbers plateaued. While his rep count grew, his production dipped, totaling just three more tackles and two fewer sacks.

He did finish with an identical 13 tackles for loss in comparison to his freshman year production, though this time it was from the inside linebacker role. 

Perkins’ best asset is his ability to blitz. He’s also been an effective run-stopper, though half of his production came on designed blitzes meant for quarterback hits. 

Far from a finished product, it’ll be interesting to see what new LSU defensive coordinator Blake Baker does to fix the miscues in Perkins’ game. It’ll also be intriguing to see how the Texans view starters Azeez Al-Shaair and Christian Harris following a prominent season in the AFC South. 

Al-Shaair, who played under Ryans in San Francisco, is coming off his best professional season with 163 tackles. He inked a three-year, $34 million deal with Houston this offseason and should be the starting MIKE backer through at least 2025. 

Harris, a former third-round pick out of Alabama, broke out as Houston’s weakside backer en route to a division title. He totaled 101 tackles and two sacks during the regular season.

Harris made headlines with his 36-yard interception returned for a touchdown in the wild-card playoff win over the Cleveland Browns. Should Perkins be the selection, Harris will be entering a contract year and could be viewed as the odd man out. 

Story originally appeared on Texans Wire