3. Houston Texans: Ikem Ekwonu, OL, North Carolina State
The emergence of Davis Mills in 2021 cannot be overstated in its importance for the Houston Texans as a franchise overall.
Going into the 2021 season, I was pretty confident in saying that without Deshaun Watson, the Texans really didn’t have much to build on with their roster at all. Their moves reflected that.
A slew of one-year free agent deals and odd, unbefitting trades for GM Nick Caserio indicated that 2021 was not just a rebuilding year for the Texans, but a total evaluation year and almost just a throwaway.
With Mills showing out and playing well as a rookie, the decision to trade Watson could be a lot easier than it would have been six months ago. Mills has given the Texans an option they can roll with for 2022 while Caserio builds the coaching staff and roster he really wants in place.
Ikem Ekwonu has now ascended to the point that he’s going first overall in Dane Brugler’s 2022 NFL mock draft.
Others have been talking about Ekwonu in the top five picks for a couple of months now, so seeing him that high shouldn’t be overly shocking.
Sure, it’s a reflection of the lack of elite top-end talent in this draft but Ekwonu’s athleticism and power certainly make him an intriguing prospect in the top five picks. For the Texans, he could slide in at the right tackle spot or at guard if they prefer him there for the time being.