Texans need to use premium picks on edge defender in 2023 NFL draft

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The 2022 NFL draft is barely in the books, and the focus has now shifted to the 2023 draft.

Part of the reason the draft will continue to be relevant to Houston Texans fans through 2024 is the club has twin first-round picks. As a result, Houston either has at least four picks in the top-100 for the next two years, or general manager Nick Caserio has the draft capital to assemble packages to acquire blue-chip talent.

The Texans didn’t really address the defensive line in the 2022 draft — save for the fifth-round selection of Stanford defensive lineman Thomas Booker. Edge defenders such as Travon Walker, Kayvon Thibodeaux, and Jermaine Johnson were linked to Houston in mock drafts, but the Texans either passed on these players or never had a shot at them.

Houston will have to consider edge defender as a premier position in the 2023 draft.

Defensive end Jonathan Greenard will be entering the final year of his contract. The Texans have role player veterans on the roster to provide depth at the position. They don’t have a war daddy like Greenard.

Even if the Texans base their pass-rushing on Greenard, it would behoove them to add more firepower.

A name that floats around as a top-5 pick is Alabama’s Will Anderson. Clemson’s Myles Murphy is another name to watch.

According to Michael Renner from Pro Football Focus, who compiled a list of collegiate edge defenders to watch in 2023, one player to keep in mind is Notre Dame’s Isaiah Foskey.

Foskey is built in the Marcus Davenport bull-rusher mold. He has the kind of juice and length to continually collapse pockets. He took massive steps forward as a junior in that regard last season en route to an 80.7 overall grade, but there are more athletic tools to work with than even that production suggests.

The Texans will have defensive tackle Roy Lopez for another two years starting in 2023. They will also have cornerback Derek Stingley and safety Jalen Pitre entering their second years — the secondary is covered. Even the linebacking corps has promising talent with Garret Wallow and Christian Harris. The missing piece for the future is edge defender.