Houston Texans: NFL Draft analyst names top LB prospect, prototype CB as ideal top picks

Texans defense will get more physical with these two 2024 NFL Draft selections.
Houston Texans GM Nick Caserio
Houston Texans GM Nick Caserio / Tim Warner/GettyImages

After a 10-7 season and a strong free agency, the Houston Texans are the “it” team of the NFL heading into the 2024 NFL season.  With the 2024 NFL Draft weeks away, can general manager Nick Caserio pull more tricks out of his hat and find more gems in the draft without a first round pick?

In trading the No. 23 overall pick to the Minnesota Vikings, the Texans are essentially punting on the first round in this year’s draft.  Due to the depth in talent and what Caserio has already built for head coach DeMeco Ryans on defense and surrounded CJ Stroud with on offense, the approach to the draft is finding players who can further complement a young team on the rise.

Whether it’s the addition of Stefon Diggs via trade or signing 4-time Pro Bower Danielle Hunter in free agency, the Texans are a squad not satisfied going from last to first in the AFC South, they are going for the jugular. 

NFL draft analyst has Houston Texans solidifying defense with two physical prospects

So, who should Caserio aim for in the draft?  NFL Draft analyst Chad Reuter list two interesting players who could be around at No. 42 and No. 59 as the top two ideal selections for the Texans in the 2024 NFL Draft.  Interestingly, both players are on the defensive side in Notre Dame’s Cam Hart and Texas A&M star linebacker Edgerrin Cooper.

Reuter writes:

“Trading for receiver Stefon Diggs allows the Texans to address other needs with their two second-round selections. Hart's combination of size (6-3, 202 pounds with 33-inch arms) and speed (4.5 40) make him a nice fit in Houston, especially with free-agent signees Jeff Okudah and C.J. Henderson coming off injury-shortened seasons. Cooper's speed (he put up a 4.51 40 at 230 pounds) could earn him a second-round slot, setting him up to attack plays in the backfield and to the boundary in DeMeco Ryans' defense.”

In competing with teams like the Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs for the AFC crown, the Texas adding speed on defense is an approach hard to disagree with, especially if they pull off adding a player like Cooper, who is the top linebacker prospect in a year the linebacker position is not so deep.

Although ranked in some outlets as a top 20 prospect, Cooper’s ceiling in this draft is late second round due to the depth in other skilled positions and the needs of teams drafting ahead of the Texans.  As Reuter mentioned, the speed will be a motivating factor for a former NFL linebacker turned head coach like Ryans.  But also, his blitzing skills and the punishing hits he puts on players.  With Hunter and Will Anderson coming off the edge, Cooper is an intense young linebacker who will bring the thunder.  The Texans are a great fit for the Texas A&M star.

As far as Hart goes, he is a name not mentioned much as far as top cornerbacks in the draft, but his combination of size and speed will further benefit a Texans secondary led by 2022 first round pick Derek Stingley Jr. and safety Jalen Pitre.  Like Cooper, it is the physicality of Hart that would intrigue Ryans. 

If the Texans pull off drafting these two players, Caserio will continue his trend of outstanding draft picks over the last few drafts, making the Texans the model franchise for rebuilding teams to mimic.