2024 NFL Mock Draft: Houston Texans full 7-round projection in early-February

The Houston Texans 2024 NFL Mock Draft, all seven rounds

2024 NFL Mock Draft: Houston Texans full 7-round projection in early-February
2024 NFL Mock Draft: Houston Texans full 7-round projection in early-February / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages
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Round 4, Pick 123: Xavier Thomas, Edge, Clemson

Will Anderson balled out as a rookie, recording 22 quarterback hits and 7 sacks. The Texans leading pass rusher from last season (Jonathan Greenard with 12.5 sacks) and their third leading pass rusher (Sheldon Rankins with 6 sacks) are free agents this off-season. They do have the cap space to bring back one or both of them, but it wouldn't hurt to get a good edge rusher in the 2024 Draft just in case.

With their fourth-round selection, the Texans take Clemson edge rusher Xavier Thomas. The 6-1 and 244-pound outside pass rusher is fast (expected to run between 4.40 and 4.50 forty), and mean. In 27 career games for Clemson, he had 63 quarterback hurries, 15 QB hits, and 11 sacks. Thomas is equally proficient in the run game, with a Pro Football Focus run defense grade of 73.0 to go with his p[ass rush grade of 79.8.

Xavier displays an explosive first step and agile feet. His speed and agility allow him to excel in zone coverage of covering tight ends and running backs man-to-man. He does need to develop a counter move or several of them to have consistent success at the next level. Thomas is a raw project that needs a lot of refinement but has all the physical tools to be great.

Round 4, Pick 127: Christian Jones, Tackle, Texas

Laremy Tunsil was a force at left tackle for the Texans last season but his counterpart, right tackle George Fant will be a free agent in March. With rookie CJ Stroud showing he could be a franchise quarterback, the team needs to protect him at all costs. This could mean getting someone like Tyron Smith in the free agent market, or it could be using a fourth-round pick on Texas tackle Christian Jones.

Jones stands 6-5 and 318 pounds and was a three-year starter for the Longhorns. Playing 2,473 snaps, he allowed just 5 sacks (3 of those as a freshman). He is as good in the running game as a blocker as he is in the passing game. Jones spent the last 2 seasons at right tackle for Texas, so the transition will be smooth for him in the NFL.

Christian shows good lateral quickness to protect against speed rushers, and the core strength to absorb bull rushers. He will require a bit of attention from the coaching staff to help him with his technique and help him get a lower pad level. Jones should be the Week 1 starter at tackle, but could also move inside to guard if needed.