Best players available for Texans to draft early in second round

Houston still has lots of needs and these guys would be good fits when the Texans pick 37th overall Friday night

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Western Michigan receiver Skyy Moore (left), Baylor safety Jalen Pitre (center) and Michigan edge rusher David Ojabo (right) would all be fits for the Texans with the 37th pick in the NFL Draft on Friday.

Western Michigan receiver Skyy Moore (left), Baylor safety Jalen Pitre (center) and Michigan edge rusher David Ojabo (right) would all be fits for the Texans with the 37th pick in the NFL Draft on Friday.

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The Texans addressed two of their biggest needs on the first day of the NFL Draft by shoring up the cornerback spot with LSU's Derek Stingley at No. 3 and bolstering the offensive line with Texas A&M's offensive guard Kenyon Green at No. 15. There are plenty more holes to fill and the Texans will get a shot to quickly address one of those needs when they pick 37th overall - the fifth pick of the second round - Friday night.

The Texans need a pass rusher they can put opposite Jonathan Greenard, last year's third-round pick. The defense also could use a safety to replace Justin Reid, who signed with the Chiefs as a free agent. On offense, they need a receiver to give Davis Mills a weapon besides Brandin Cooks and could use a running back.

Here are 10 of the best players still available that could be a fit for the Texans early in the second round ...

1. Nakobe Dean, ILB, Georgia

 Nakobe Dean of the the Georgia Bulldogs returns an interception for a touchdown against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 10, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

 Nakobe Dean of the the Georgia Bulldogs returns an interception for a touchdown against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 10, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

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Georgia set a record by having five players from its defense get drafted in the first round Thursday. It easily could have been six, because Dean was probably the best player on that defense, but his measurables at 5-foot-11 and his 40 time (4.74) scared some teams off. The Texans have much bigger needs than linebacker, but they’d have to feel good about taking Dean in the second round.

2. Arnold Ebiketie, edge rusher, Penn State

Arnold Ebiketie of the Penn State Nittany Lions celebrates while wearing the running backs chain after the game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Beaver Stadium on November 20, 2021 in State College, Pennsylvania.

Arnold Ebiketie of the Penn State Nittany Lions celebrates while wearing the running backs chain after the game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Beaver Stadium on November 20, 2021 in State College, Pennsylvania.

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Five edge rushers – Georgia’s Travon Walker, Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson, Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux, Florida State’s Jermaine Johnson and Purdue’s George Karlaftis – went in the first round and Ebiketie is next up. Adding a pass rusher to the defensive line is a huge need for Lovie Smith and the Texans. Ebiketie needs work on stopping the run, but his athletic skills and motor leap off the page.

3. David Ojabo, edge rusher, Michigan

Michigan Wolverines linebacker David Ojabo (55) rushes into the backfield against Iowa Hawkeyes offensive lineman Mason Richman (78) during the Big 10 Championship game between the Michigan Wolverines and Iowa Hawkeyes on December 4, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN.

Michigan Wolverines linebacker David Ojabo (55) rushes into the backfield against Iowa Hawkeyes offensive lineman Mason Richman (78) during the Big 10 Championship game between the Michigan Wolverines and Iowa Hawkeyes on December 4, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN.

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The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Ojabo likely would have been a first-round pick but he tore his Achilles during his Pro Day at Michigan in March. Teams taking Ojabo would have to look at his rookie season as a redshirt year, which would be fine with the Texans, who aren’t likely to compete in 2022 anyway.

4. Jalen Pitre, S, Baylor

Baylor Bears safety Jalen Pitre during a Big 12 football game between the Baylor Bears and Kansas State Wildcats on Nov 20, 2021 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, KS.

Baylor Bears safety Jalen Pitre during a Big 12 football game between the Baylor Bears and Kansas State Wildcats on Nov 20, 2021 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, KS.

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Lots of mock drafts that went into the second round have the Texans taking Pitre at 37, and it makes sense because not only is he from Stafford, but he was known in Baylor as a locker-room leader and fierce competitor, qualities the Texans always value.

5. Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan

Western Michigan Broncos wide receiver Skyy Moore (24) runs the ball into the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown after a reception against the Pittsburgh Panthers during a college football game on Sept. 18, 2021 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Western Michigan Broncos wide receiver Skyy Moore (24) runs the ball into the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown after a reception against the Pittsburgh Panthers during a college football game on Sept. 18, 2021 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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This is a great draft for receivers, but six already were taken in the first round, which leaves the 5-foot-10 Moore as next in line. He doesn’t possess breakaway speed, but has excellent hands and is thought of as a slot receiver.

6. Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State or Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State

Kenneth Walker III #9 of the Michigan State Spartans runs up the field against the Maryland Terrapins in the first half at Spartan Stadium on November 13, 2021 in East Lansing, Michigan.

Kenneth Walker III #9 of the Michigan State Spartans runs up the field against the Maryland Terrapins in the first half at Spartan Stadium on November 13, 2021 in East Lansing, Michigan.

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Not a single running back was taken in the first round, so Walker and Hall are still available and either would immediately be the Texans' top back. Walker rushed for 136 yards a game and finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting last season. Hall ran a sub-4.4 40 just like Walker and could be a game-breaker as well.

7. Travis Jones, DT, UConn

Travis Jones of the Connecticut Huskies speaks to reporters during the NFL Draft Combine at the Indiana Convention Center on March 4, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Travis Jones of the Connecticut Huskies speaks to reporters during the NFL Draft Combine at the Indiana Convention Center on March 4, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The Texans didn’t get the defensive lineman they desperately need in the first round, but the 6-foot-4, 325-pound Jones may still be there waiting for them at pick 37. Jones is explosive and strong, but needs work on technique, which is where Lovie Smith and his coaching staff would figure to get the best out of him.

8. Logan Hall, edge rusher, Houston

Houston Cougars defensive lineman Logan Hall (92) warms up for the Armed Forces Bowl between Houston and Army on December 22, 2018 at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth.

Houston Cougars defensive lineman Logan Hall (92) warms up for the Armed Forces Bowl between Houston and Army on December 22, 2018 at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth.

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At 6-foot-6, 283 pounds, Hall is impressive walking into the building. UH played him a lot at defensive tackle, but he has the athletic ability to play on the outside, making him another impressive edge rusher possibly available to the Texans early in the second round.

9. Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State

Wide receiver Christian Watson of North Dakota State during the Reese's Senior Bowl practice session on February 2, 2002 at Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile, Alabama.

Wide receiver Christian Watson of North Dakota State during the Reese's Senior Bowl practice session on February 2, 2002 at Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile, Alabama.

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Watson blew teams away at the Combine when he ran a 4.36 40 at 6-foot-4 and 208 pounds. He needs work on polishing his routes, but he could be an immediate deep threat for second-year quarterback Davis Mills in Houston.

10. Andrew Booth, CB, Clemson

Cornerback Andrew Booth Jr., of the Clemson Tigers reacts after making an interception against the South Carolina Gamecocks during their game at Williams-Brice Stadium on November 27, 2021 in Columbia, South Carolina.

Cornerback Andrew Booth Jr., of the Clemson Tigers reacts after making an interception against the South Carolina Gamecocks during their game at Williams-Brice Stadium on November 27, 2021 in Columbia, South Carolina.

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Booth actually may be the best player still available, it just seems unlikely that the Texans would take another cornerback this soon after taking Derek Stingley No. 3 overall. He looks like an NFL starting cornerback though, and those guys aren’t easy to find.

More Texans News

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- Everything to know about Texans' first-round pick Kenyon Green

- ESPN’s NFL experts actually praise Nick Caserio, Texans

- What the Texans got from the Browns in the trade for Deshaun Watson

- Everything you should know about next Texans head coach Lovie Smith

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