The 2022 NFL Draft is nearly upon us, and the Houston Texans will have a difficult decision to make with the 13th overall pick. Unless, of course, they trade down and continue to stockpile draft picks.
In which case, that sure would make this list redundant, wouldn’t it?
So, who should the Texans draft at No. 13? As with our mock drafts, we picked players based on need and team fit. Also, all prospects are ranked alphabetically as opposed to preference or potential. For transparency, I projected the Texans would select Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal at No. 3, so this story was written with that in mind. However, I did include an offensive lineman on this list in case the Texans ignore me (which they likely will) and target a defensive player with their first pick.
Based on consideration of the aforementioned prerequisites, we believe the Texans should target the following players with the 13th overall pick:
George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
Although I mocked Karlaftis to the Texans in March, it feels like he’s losing steam as the draft nears closer. Either that or the hype he received in the first place came out of nowhere. Who knows anymore with how wild the pre-draft process gets at times?
The 6-foot-4, 275-pound Karlaftis overcame an injury and COVID-plagued 2020 season to tally five sacks, 11.5 tackles for a loss, and three forced fumbles last season. Although he could benefit from more development in the NFL, his power and strength could make him a perfect fit in new head coach Lovie Smith’s defense. If the Texans don’t take an edge rusher at No. 3, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the reigning first-team All-Big 10 pass-rusher wind up in Houston.
Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
It feels like it’d be a good idea to surround young quarterback Davis Mills with offensive weapons, and Williams could be an excellent fit in Houston. The 6-foot-2, 198-pound receiver hauled in 79 catches, 1,572 yards, and 15 touchdowns in 15 starts for the Crimson Tide last year; he began his career at Ohio State and tallied 15 catches, 156 yards, and three scores in two seasons with the Buckeyes.
Although Williams tore his ACL in the National Championship Game, the possibility still exists he would be ready to play in Week 1. His blazing speed and stellar route running — he had 11 receiving touchdowns of 30-plus yards last season, along with two scores on kick returns — would be welcome additions to a lackluster Texans offense.
Jordan Davis, DL, Georgia
If Davis falls to No. 13, he could very well be the pick here. The 6-foot-6, 340-pound defensive tackle has the size, strength, and character to become a pivotal weapon in Smith’s defense. Although Davis won’t stuff the stat sheet, he could provide a substantial impact in stopping opposing rushers.
Last we checked, the Texans are scheduled to face Derrick Henry and Jonathan Taylor twice during the 2022 season.
Davis is enough of a high-riser at this point that it feels somewhat unlikely he’ll be on the board at No. 13. However, there are enough receiver prospects in this class that the Texans could, theoretically, pass on someone like Williams or USC’s Drake London if it means adding the Georgia standout to the mix.
Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
If the Texans don’t select an offensive lineman at No. 3, they’d be wise to add one here. Linderbaum, the reigning Rimington Award (best center) winner and an unanimous All-American, has earned rave reviews throughout the pre-draft process for his mauling strength, football intelligence, and accurate snaps.
There are concerns about the 6-foot-3, 290-pound center’s size, and one shouldn’t rule out him moving to guard in the NFL. However, his raw physical traits could allow him to thrive in the NFL regardless of where specifically he lines up in the trenches.
Make no mistake; the Texans still have plenty of work to do if they’re to start consistently winning again. However, Linderbaum is exactly the type of player the six-time AFC South champions could use to make progress in achieving that goal, especially if the team uses its first first-round pick on a defensive player.