The third overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft is of great importance for the Houston Texans.
Having consecutive four-win seasons, the Houston Texans know they need to fix aspects of their roster and that includes the pass rush, and when the 2022 NFL Draft arrives, that’s when that change can take a huge step in a positive direction.
The defense of the Texans had just 32 sacks in ’21, and in ’20 the defense had 34 sacks, but the unit was a bit different in those two seasons, even though both defenses were a part of four-win seasons.
That brings the Texans to the ’22 draft where they have the No. 3 overall pick, and many mock drafts have the franchise selecting a pass rusher with the third pick, and if not a pass rusher, it is still a defensive player by most mock drafts.
In a mock draft on CBSSports.com, Tom Fornelli had the Texans selecting Kayvon Thibodeaux, an EDGE player from Oregon. In the first two picks of the ’22 draft, he had offensive tackle Evan Neal to the Jacksonville Jaguars and EDGE player Aidan Hutchinson to the Detroit Lions at No. 2 overall.
Fornelli wrote this about Thibodeaux potentially joining the Texans and the defense of head coach Lovie Smith:
"“Lovie Smith’s defense is predicated on generating pressure on opposing QBs with a four-man rush. Thibodeaux can provide that from multiple spots on the line, and he’s effective against the run as well. He’s my top player in this class.”"
This is a great paragraph to read because there is excitement if the Texans can bring a potential superstar to the roster through the 2022 NFL Draft, meaning they can have a game-changer in the first round and still have the possibility to add to the pass rush through free agency and even later again in the draft.
Houston Texans: How good was Kayvon Thibodeaux at Oregon?
At Oregon, Thibodeaux had seasons of nine, three and seven in that order for a total of 19 sacks along with a career three forced fumbles, and seven passes defensed. He also 72 career solo tackles, and in ’21 he had his best season to date with 35 solo tackles.
Thibodeaux joined with Jonathan Greenard on the defensive line could be something that could get the entire NFL talking as the duo would become a scary topic of discussion for opposing offensive coordinators on a weekly basis, especially with Smith calling all the shots and with the excitement that Thibodeaux will bring to the franchise.
If Thibodeaux were to be drafted by the Texans it would be an excellent addition, but if they were to get one of the two players mocked ahead of him — Neal or Hutchinson — that wouldn’t be so bad, either.
The Texans are in a great spot in this upcoming draft, and if Greenard can add to his eight-sack total he had in ’21 along with his two forced fumbles, and the Texans get a top-tier pass rusher, again the word excitement comes to the forefront of describing the potential the defense could have in ’22, which is much-needed when looking at what the Texans need to have in ’22.