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Texans sit at No. 6 in PFF’s power rankings ahead of NFL draft

The Houston Texans might not be on the clock on Thursday evening during the 2024 NFL draft, but they’ve caught the attention of national pundits heading into the regular season. 

As teams prepare to land a hopeful franchise cornerstone during the first round, Pro Football Focus released its annual NFL Power Rankings following free agency. The Texans, who own two second-round picks, cracked the top 10 at No. 6 after an eventual free agency filled with lucrative extensions and influential trades. 

The Texans made the most of free agency, bringing in Stefon DiggsDanielle Hunter and Joe Mixon, to name but a few. – PFF

Diggs and Mixon were trade targets brought in to elevate the offense under franchise quarterback C.J. Stroud. After finishing seventh in passing last season, Houston made sure to bolster its air raid attack, sending a 2025 second-round pick acquired from the Minnesota Vikings to Buffalo in exchange for the four-time Pro Bowler. 

Diggs, 30, won’t have to be the top weapon like he was for Josh Allen and the Bills, but rather a complementary piece opposite Tank Dell and Nico Collins. Last season, Collin proved his No. 1 capabilities after becoming the third receiver in franchise history to finish with 1,200 yards in a single season. 

Dell, the Texans’ third-round pick out of Houston, was on pace to finish with 1,205 receiving yards before suffering a season-ending injury in the first quarter against the Denver Broncos in Week 13. The speedster finished with 709 yards and seven TDs while Collins ranked top 10 in both receiving yards (1,297) and touchdowns (8). 

Mixon headlines a backfield that was insufficient last season behind a combination of Devin Singletary and Dameon Pierce. Acquired for a seventh-round pick, Mixon quickly received a three-year, $27 million contract extension, including $13 million guaranteed. 

The Texans finished 22nd overall in rushing and 29th in yards per run. After Singletary, three other runners averaged 3.1 yards per carry and combined for three touchdowns. 

Since being drafted out of Oklahoma in 2017, Mixon has been one of the league’s more stable runners. He’s posted 1,2000 scrimmage yard seasons and earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2021. 

“Joe has been a productive player, pretty consistent player, and we think he can help our team,” Texans general manager Nick Caserio said last week. “We’re glad he’s here hopefully for a few more years.” 

Hunter headlines the defensive additions after a dominant final season with the Vikings where he led the league in tackles for loss with 23.5. Hunter, a Katy native who played at Morton Ranch High School, also finished top five in sacks with 16.5. 

Signed to a two-year deal worth up to $51 million, Hunter replaces Jonathan Greenard as the team’s new hopeful sack leader. Replacing tackle leader Blake Cashman is former Tennessee Titans linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair, who finished top-five nationally in tackles with 163 stops. 

Hunter and Al-Shaair were the mainstays of defensive additions, but not the only ones. Houston also agreed to terms with cornerbacks Jeff Okudah and C.J. Henderson, linebacker Jacob Phillips and defensive linemen Denico Autry and Foley Fatukasi. 

Among AFC teams, the Texans ranked third, trailing only defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City and Baltimore. The Ravens get the nod after beating Houston twice last season, including at home in the divisional round. 

Story originally appeared on Texans Wire