Perfect Picks 2024: Houston Texans

By Lee Wakefield

Next up for our Perfect Picks series is the Houston Texans. I wrote up the 2023 version of this article last year, taking C.J. Stroud with my first selection – You’re welcome, Texans fans. Anybody who listened to our NFL Podcast this season would have heard me bang the table for the Texans on an almost weekly basis. I think this team is going places and is well ahead of their development curve going into 2024.

This offseason is a great opportunity to kick on to the next level for Houston, if they make the correct selections and signings over the next couple of months, I feel like they could really seize control of the AFC South this coming season. It’s a division that should be full of intriguing storylines next year, so let’s equip Houston for the ride…

Round 1 - Byron Murphy II, IDL, Texas

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After Nick Caserio traded up to grab Will Anderson with the third overall pick last year, Houston gained a franchise cornerstone and number-one edge rusher for the next decade. I feel like reinforcing the interior of the defensive line to go hand-in-hand with the edge pressure that they can now guarantee would be a great start to their draft.

Murphy is my IDL1 in this draft – Something you’ll be able to read more about in The Touchdown 2024 NFL Draft Guide, which is coming soon.

Looking at my scouting notes for Murphy I wrote, “God-like lateral quickness. Speed, power, and motor all immediately just off the screen. Active and powerful hands, stout against the run, and holds his own against double-teams.”

If you like the sound of that, flick on the film, or grab a copy of the guide when it drops.

Murphy is an all-around defensive tackle prospect who should be impactful from day 1 in the NFL. He can apply vital interior pressure but has the strength to plug holes in the run game, both of which he does to a high level, meaning Murphy would surely form a great partnership with Maliek Collins in 2024.

Round 2 - Caelen Carson, CB, Wake Forest

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The Texans also nailed down another defensive cornerstone in the 2022 draft by taking Derek Stingley Jr. with the third overall pick. They will want to find a partner for Stingley, someone who can play on the opposite side and form their starting outside cornerback duo for the long term.

Caelen Carson is a long, physical corner who can be that guy; he has the short-area quickness and fluid change of direction skills that mean he can stay on the hips of receivers in the early parts of routes. Carson also has enough long speed and an appetite to attack the ball when it comes to disrupting at the catch point.

Carson isn’t ultra-fast, and his competitive nature can lead to errors in coverage, but don’t hold that against him too much. He’s easily good enough right now to be a solid number-two corner in the league, which is exactly the role that Houston needs him to fulfill.

With his length, and his physical play style, which is almost a prerequisite in the modern game, as well as his coverage ability that is sure to improve over time, Carson has the ceiling to become even more than that! 

Mid-Round Gem - Jaylen Wright, RB, Tennessee

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If we look at DeMeco Ryan’s previous home, the San Francisco 49ers, and how they built their running back stables, they always needed several capable runners in their ranks. There aren’t too many Christian McCaffreys around, so until a team finds one, it’s time to fill up on a diverse group of runners who can do the job.

One element that any running back stable needs is speed. This is where former Tennessee Volunteer, Jaylen Wright comes in. Wright clocked in at the Scouting Combine at 4.38 seconds for his best 40-yard dash attempt, which is an elite number. Wright looked explosive every time he was on our screens in Indy too, and most importantly, it matches what we saw on the field throughout his time in college. All of this whilst measuring in at 5’10 and 210 lbs, so it’s not like we are looking at an undersized runner here…

Wright is a player who shows good vision and burst as a one-cut back that will be perfect in Bobby Slowik’s offense.

Houston has a couple of vacancies too now that Devin Singletary and Dare Ogunbowale are hitting free agency, and they could do worse than adding Wright as their RB1 this April.

Late Round Sleeper - Walter Rouse, OT, Oklahoma

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When it comes to late-round selections, grabbing experienced, physical offensive linemen is never a bad idea. That is exactly what the Texans are doing here.

Walter Rouse began his college career at Stanford before transferring over to Oklahoma. During his college career, he played 2,552 snaps through four seasons at Stanford, of which 39 of 40 games were at left tackle. Rouse then added a further 650 snaps across 10 games this past year in Norman. Rouse was a four-star recruit who played football as well as basketball coming out of high school, so he has some athletic pedigree and versatility.

At the Combine, Rouse also showed his size and length, which is monstrous and will give him the physical tools to not only survive at the NFL level but also the potential to thrive and grow. Rouse looked lean at 313 lbs and 6’6 tall with arms that measured over 35 inches, all great numbers that will tick a lot of boxes across the league.

With Laremy Tunsil and Tytus Howard locking down the starting tackle spots in 2024, Rouse can settle into a swing tackle role and develop. Both Howard and Tunsil have years to run on their deals so a seventh-round pick will have time to adjust to the league before pushing for a starting role in the future if the level of either drops as age catches up. 

Draft In Full:

Round 1 – Byron Murphy II, IDL, Texas

Round 2 – Caelen Carson, CB, Wake Forest

Round 3 – Austin Booker, Edge, Kansas

Round 4 – Jaylen Wright, RB, Tennessee

Round 4 – Javon Baker, WR, UCF

Round 7 – Dominique Hampton, S, Washington

Round 7 – Walter Rouse, OT, Oklahoma

Round 7 – Kimini Vidal, RB, Troy

Feature Image Credit: Yahoo Sports

Lee Wakefield


Lee Wakefield is a defensive line enthusiast, Chargers sufferer, and long-time writer and podcaster for a number of publications. @Wakefield90 on Twitter.