Houston Texans Mock Draft: Defense needs to be the focus

Ross Blacklock (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Ross Blacklock (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /
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Texans draft
Julian Okwara #42 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Round 3: Julian Okwara, EDGE, Notre Dame

(90th overall pick)

This is where the Texans draft can move toward adding more of an edge rush to their roster with the 90th overall selection of the 2020 NFL Draft and build for the future, while also getting early production from a player as well.

Notre Dame product Julian Okwara enters this week’s draft as a third- to fourth-round graded player (12th overall edge rusher) by Dane Brugler of The Athletic  in his NFL Draft preview “The Beast.” In a closer look at Okwara by Lance Zierlein of NFL.com, Okwara is 6’4” and weighs in at 252 pounds, and at the combine he didn’t run the 40-yard dash.

At the NFL Combine, though, Okwara did display his strength with 27 bench press reps of 225 pounds. Zierlein had the following to say about the strengths of Okwara in his draft profile:

"“Saw 33 percent of his tackles go for a loss … frame should carry additional mass and strength with time … possesses NFL-quality range and pursuit speed.”"

In Okwara’s final season at Notre Dame, the defensive end totaled 10 solo tackles, seven tackles for loss, five sacks, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery in just nine games played last season.

For only nine games, those are very solid numbers. In ’18 as a junior, Okwara played in a career-high 13 games where he had 26 solo tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks, one interception, one pass defensed and one forced fumble.

There is a lot to work with here if the Texans were to select Okwara with the 90th overall pick, and if that happens, the edge rusher could learn from J.J. Watt, get accustomed to the 3-4 defense at the NFL level and not have to be the team leader on defense at the very start of his career.