23. Houston Texans (via CLE): Byron Murphy II, DL, Texas
Despite how impressive the Houston Texans were in Demeco Ryans’ first year and with C.J. Stroud as a rookie, it’s not hard to look at this roster and see obvious areas where the team could immediately improve going into 2024. Perhaps the most glaring need that you see on this franchise, though, is on the defensive front where they need more interior presence than Sheldon Rankins or Maliek Collins gave them last season.
Byron Murphy is the type of monster they’ve simply been missing. Murphy isn’t as physically imposing as his Texas teammate, T’Vondre Sweat, but he might be more devastating. He’s the clear-cut best interior pass-rusher in the 2024 draft class and could be the type of player that Chris Jones or Aaron Donald has been for their respective defenses, which is a scary thought when putting him alongside Will Anderson Jr. in Houston.
24. Dallas Cowboys: Jackson Powers-Johnson, C, Oregon
Moving on from Travis Frederick was something that the Dallas Cowboys were forced to ultimately do on the fly due to a medical issue and the results were middling at best. Tyler Biadasz wasn’t a problem by any means, but he wasn’t nearly the tone-setting leader that his predecessor at center was. Now set to be a free agent, it’s the perfect time for Jerry Jones to find that type of player again, which is why they look to Jackson Powers-Johnson.
Put simply, Powers-Johnson is an outlier in the best way. He moves laterally and quickly in the way you want your center to be able to do, but that comes in a 330-plus pound package. The Oregon star is just a freak of freaks and, though it might not be a premium position, upgrading this spot as the offensive line shuffles with the likely departure of Tyron Smith would be a critical move for the Cowboys to make in the draft.