Houston Texans Draft: 4 players who could replace J.J. Watt

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports /
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J.J. Watt, Houston Texans
Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports /

The Houston Texans will have some new faces on the defensive unit next season, and looking at the 2021 NFL Draft the case can be made that is where the Texans will find some depth for the position, especially if the franchise moves away from veteran J.J. Watt.

This offseason the trade rumor cycle has mentioned the name of Watt a number of times due to the fact the Texans are rebuilding their franchise on-and-off the field. Watt is about to enter his 11th season, and to be honest a Super Bowl victory most likely isn’t in the cards for the Texans next season, which is the the final year of Watt’s contract, which he’s owed $17.5 million in 2021.

Though it would be tough to see for Texans fans, the odds are most likely in favor of J.J. Watt being traded at some point this offseason for some draft capital. The positive for Watt — the Texans all-time sacks leader —  is he will most likely end up on a team that actually does have a chance to compete for a Super Bowl title.

So for the purposes of moving forward, this upcoming 2021 NFL Draft will be very interesting to see what type and how many picks the Texans end up with. Since franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson is still on the roster and hasn’t been traded, the first time the Houston Texans will make a selection is the 67th overall pick, but all of that can change at any time.

Who are some of the defensive ends/pass rushers that could be added to the roster to play along side second-year player Ross Blacklock, a second round pick in 2020? Who will most likely have the tough task of replacing Watt if he is traded?

Next are five edge rushers who could take over for J.J. Watt if a trade is made. Remember Watt is an all-time great, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, and the greatest player to ever play for the franchise, so the shoes would be very large to fill.

All of that said, Watt deserves a real chance to play for a Super Bowl opportunity in his 11th NFL season, and to do so he’ll have to leave the only franchise he’s ever known as the Texans are rebuilding the team from the front office to the football field.

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4. Patrick Jones II

Here is a player who can rush the quarterback but has been described as a player who has the built of an NFL pass rusher, but not the strength of one. Pro Football Focus has Jones as a fourth round selection, which for the Houston Texans if things stay exactly like they are currently for their draft picks, would be a nice addition to their rebuilt roster.

Jones played 540 snaps outside of the tackle this past season playing for the University of Pittsburgh, totaling nine sacks, five QB hits, 23 QB hurries and he even had three pass deflections.

The past three seasons at Pittsburgh, Jones collected 23 sacks, with 10 sacks in 2019. That season seemed to be his best as he also had 44 QB hurries and eight QB hits.

Patrick Jones is a name to remember this offseason as the Houston Texans prepare for the draft. Who knows, if Jones does improve on his strength, as that seems to be an issue, the Texans could find some serious depth at defensive end during the second or third day of the draft.