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Which elite prospects might last until 23 in NFL Draft? | The Experts


Last week at the Combine in Indianapolis, we chatted with a few national media folks who cover the NFL. The Texans hired Head Coach DeMeco Ryans in late January of 2023, drafted the Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the year in quarterback C.J. Stroud and defensive end Will Anderson, Jr., and then won 10 games, AFC South, and a playoff game.

On Monday, 'The Experts' shared their thoughts on what the "Next step forward" is for the organization.

Tuesday, 'The Experts' had some intriguing comparisons for Stroud.

Yesterday, 'The Experts' described just how bright the future is for Houston.

In today's installment of 'The Experts', the national media members answered the question: "What top-of-the-Draft type of prospect might slide to the Texans' spot at 23rd overall?"

Andrew Siciliano, NFL Network: (Georgia tight end): "Brock Bowers. I do think he could be there at 23, just because I don't see him going in the Top-10. Not that he isn't Top-10 talented, but just the way second contracts work in positional value and franchise tags, I don't think he's going to go there. You can never go wrong with offensive line either. This class has so much talent, especially at tackle, and there's going to be a run on tackles early. But I think one of them certainly could be there as well. There's also a great edge class here. Again, top heavy with edge rushers. I'm sure Demeco Ryans would love to get another one of those two."

Jordan Reid, ESPN NFL Draft Analyst: "Two players come to mind and they're both defensive linemen. The first one is Johnny Newton of Illinois. I think the Texans need that centerpiece in the middle of DeMeco Ryans' defense, just because they don't have a lot of depth there, and he is dealing with a surgery that he just had in January. But for Texans fans, that could be a good thing, a blessing in disguise. Alongside Byron Murphy, II of Texas, he's the best interior defensive run stopper in this entire draft class.

Another name I'll give you is Laiatu Latu, who is an edge rusher out of UCLA, if you're looking for somebody to pair with Will Anderson, Jr. Putting Latu on the roster, I think would be a huge benefit for the Texans."

Rhett Lewis, NFL Network: "I think the Texans would love it if Byron Murphy fell, the defensive tackle from Texas. If he falls to 23, that would just be an incredible coup to bolster that defensive front."

Mike Silver, Bestselling author and columnist for San Francisco Chronicle: "23 is an interesting place to be, because you might have a cluster of guys you think are similar, and that might even be a trade-down spot if you can find someone to do it. (General Manager) Nick Caserio is very good at this. But honestly, I just think when you have the quarterback, you just build it organically. If you can get at 23 a corner or an edge or a big defensive tackle, or a receiver who's a difference maker, you probably do that. If not, you just take the guy on your board who you think is the best football player and try to keep building it."

Chris Rose, NFL Network: "That's where I think the run is going to be on corners. (Alabama cornerback) Kool-Aid McKinstry. I would draft him just based on the nickname. Your marketing department is probably salivating over that one, right? So you could be good there and have some bookend corners that are really, really good.

You can always go with pass-rushers too. (Alabama defensive end) Dallas Turner is probably going to be the first one off the board. But there's a bunch of other guys that will be available there. Here's the great thing: You want as many quarterbacks to go as possible before 23. You would love it if there are five that are gone. You hope that it sounds like J.J. McCarthy will be the fourth guy and then maybe Bo Nix, depending on how people feel about him. You want other teams to draft what you already have, right? We don't need a quarterback. So that way you get a better player."

Matt Miller, ESPN NFL Draft Analyst: "I'm interested to see where the run happens at wide receiver and corner. If (WR) Brian Thomas, Jr from LSU is a Houston Texan next year, I will become a fan of the Houston Texans. I will be on board all the way.

Terrion Arnold, cornerback from Alabama: where does he go and how early? Because that could push some really good corners down the Draft board like Ennis Rakestraw from Missouri, Nate Wiggins from Clemson and Quinyon Mitchell from Toledo. You could be pushing those guys to 23 potentially. So I think that's a great way to look at it. You're in a good spot. You've got a playoff team. You can almost go best player available. So you want to see who falls to you."

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