Analyzing the Houston Texans Top-30 Visits for the 2022 NFL Draft

With the 2022 NFL Draft this week, the excitement brewing among Houston Texans fans is at an all-time high. With a full chamber of bullets at our disposal - 11 picks in total, 6 in the top 100 and 2 in the first round - Nick Caserio and co. have a massive opportunity to reshape this barren roster.

It's usually difficult to decipher which prospects any NFL team is highly interested in because teams don't like to show their cards and love to throw out smokescreens to deceive their competitors. Furthermore, there are numerous events at which teams can meet with prospects - the Senior Bowl, Combine, Pro Days, etc - but these events are not all weighed equally when measuring a team's interest in a player.

The crown jewel of these visits is the "Top-30" visit, in which NFL teams have 30 invites to spread throughout the 2000+ prospects in this year's class. Think of it as a shortlist for prospects that the team wants to do more homework on. Whether it's for their 1st round pick, which would seemingly be the new face of the franchise. Or for players with injury question marks, off-field red flags and even simply doing favors for agents/connections.

There is no proven correlation between a team's Top-30 visits and their eventual draft picks because the draft itself is unpredictable. However, it does give us a look into who the Texans want to do the most intimate homework on. Thus, I have assembled a list of the 28 reported prospects who have had Top-30 visits with the Texans.

One interesting thing to note is the number of players at each position that the Texans have met with. This may provide insights into which positions they are targeting the most and want to do the most homework on. Out of the 27 Top-30 Visits that have been reported, they've met with six EDGEs, four CBs, four LBs, three OL (two IOL and the other is Icky), three WRs, two IDLs, two RBs, two QBs, one S, and one TE.

I have provided a short summary from my scouting reports on these prospects, and analysis on my general thoughts of the prospect and where they should be drafted for the Texans specifically. These prospects are ranked in order of my personal big board, which you can find in my 2022 NFL Draft Guide. Now, let's begin!

Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan, EDGE

Round Grade: 1st

Big Board Position: 1st

Position Ranking: EDGE1

Film Grade: 63/70

Summary: Refined pass rusher with incredible rush plan, setup, variety of moves and counters who has a non-stop motor, can set the edge and drop into flat zones but lacks elite bend.

Analysis: Arguably the safest of the top tier of draft picks, Hutchinson is going to be a starter for a decade in the NFL, barring injury. Not confident he's available at 3 but anything can happen and he'd be a home run selection.

Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame, Safety

Round Grade: 1st

Big Board Position: 2nd

Position Ranking: S1

Film Grade: 64/70

Summary: Instinctual and rangy safety with coverage versatility and dependable tackling vs the run while showing a nose for high-impact plays.

Analysis: I wrote about why I'm so high on Hamilton here, but with how the board is shaping up, Hamilton no longer makes sense at 3 as it seems like a reach, relative to how the rest of the NFL views this prospect. Utilize whichever good luck charm of your choosing to help pray he's there at 13.

Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon, EDGE

Round Grade: 1st

Big Board Position: 4th

Position Ranking: EDGE2

Film Grade: 61/70

Summary: Elite athletic freak with a dominant get-off who can win with speed and power vs the run and pass but can develop a wider variety of pass rush moves and counters.

Analysis: Thibs provides the highest ceiling of any pick we could make at 3, but the Texans have continued to be extremely vocal about their players being great people, including work ethic and drive. Let's see if Thibs passes their test.

Ahmad Gardner, Cincinnati, CB

Round Grade: 1st

Big Board Position: 5th

Position Ranking: CB1

Film Grade: 59/70

Summary: Physical and long boundary corner with fluid movement skills to mirror routes and always plays under control with man/zone versatility.

Analysis: The fan favorite at 3, Sauce would provide Nick Caserio his next sticky man cover CB to follow in the footsteps of JC Jackson and Stephon Gilmore. Gardner is also adept in zone coverage and would allow Lovie Smith to diversify his coverage calls.

Treylon Burks, Arkansas, WR

Round Grade: 1st

Big Board Position: 7th

Position Ranking: WR1

Film Grade: 60/70

Summary: Rare athlete with elite size, body control and catch radius who is a versatile weapon that can be deployed all over the field but could use improved route salesmanship.

Analysis: Pick 13 seems a bit too high for Burks and I struggle to see him last to pick 37. In a trade down from 13 to the early 20s, he'd be an excellent target to make Davis Mills' life easier.

Ikem Ekwonu, North Carolina State, OL

Round Grade: 1st

Big Board Position: 9th

Position Ranking: OT2

Film Grade: 59/70

Summary: Nasty finisher who paves lanes on the ground with projected tackle/guard utility but needs to clean up angles and pad level to be more consistent.

Analysis: I'd be content with "Icky" at 3, if he starts at guard, keeping Tytus Howard at tackle. Our run game could certainly use his bulldozer mentality. Ekwonu is also highly regarded for his leadership and seen as a culture building block.

Jameson Williams, Alabama, WR

Round Grade: 1st

Big Board Position: 20th

Position Ranking: WR3

Film Grade: 53/70

Summary: Field-altering vertical threat with nuanced routes and dependable hands who can win from the outside and inside but lacks play strength.

Analysis: A popular prospect to mock at pick 13, I don't think the Texans will invest in a WR that early but I would be completely okay with it if they did. Jamo's combination of speed and route running is DIFFERENT.

Travon Walker, Georgia, EDGE

Round Grade: 1st

Big Board Position: 21st

Position Ranking: EDGE5

Film Grade: 49/70

Summary: Long and powerful defender with inside/outside versatility and is a pro-ready run defender but needs refinement as a pass rusher in terms of hand timing and counters.

Analysis: No, just no at 3. At 13 though, we cooking.

Derek Stingley, LSU, CB

Round Grade: 1st

Big Board Position: 23rd

Position Ranking: CB4

Film Grade: 55/70

Summary: Athletic corner who is a playmaker with special ball skills but is inconsistent covering inside releases and a lackadaisical tackler.

Analysis: I'm slightly lower on Stingley than most and think there is a lot of risk involved due to his declining play since 2019 and expanding injury history. That takes him out of the equation at 3, but a solid option at 13, if still available.

Kaiir Elam, Florida, CB

Round Grade: 1st

Big Board Position: 24th

Position Ranking: CB5

Film Grade: 49/70

Summary: Tall and physical press-man corner with valuable play strength and ball skills but is less effective in off-coverage and zone.

Analysis: One of my dream targets at #37 and someone I'd be content with if we decided to trade back into the 1st round for. Securing Elam and gaining the 5th year option on his contract - only given to 1st rounders - would be a win.

Logan Hall, Houston, IDL

Round Grade: 2nd

Big Board Position: 43rd

Position Ranking: IDL4

Film Grade: 48/70

Summary: Stout run defender due to play strength, physical toughness and arm length who is a nuanced interior pass rusher who can with power, finesse and has a counter but isn't the most fluid athlete.

Analysis: Hall would be a good pick at #37 and while he's not the most natural fit in Lovie's system, his talent and physical tools are too hard to pass up.

Breece Hall, Iowa State, RB

Round Grade: 2nd

Big Board Position: 44th

Position Ranking: RB2

Film Grade: 49/70

Summary: Patient zone runner who regularly makes the first man miss and is a touchdown machine with three-down potential but has plenty of tread on his tires.

Analysis: This roster has too many more pressing holes to spend an early 2nd round pick on a RB, especially one with as much usage as Hall as gotten (718 rushes). Beef up the OL first, then spend an early Day 3 pick on RB, that's where the value of the position is.

Kenyon Green, Texas A&M, OL

Round Grade: 2nd

Big Board Position: 49th

Position Ranking: IOL3

Film Grade: 46/70

Summary: Natural power to pave lanes on the ground but athletically limited with erratic technique which results in a low floor-high ceiling prospect who is best at guard.

Analysis: Green would be near the top of my list for pick #37. He slots in best at left guard, provides the mauling run blocking we desire and has a lot of room to improve throughout his career, which should be a long one.

Ed Ingram, LSU, OL

Round Grade: 2nd

Big Board Position: 51st

Position Ranking: IOL4

Film Grade: 46/70

Summary: Powerful and nasty mauler who excels on all gap/power blocks and anchors well but plays high and struggles to reach block during outside zone.

Analysis: His sexual assault allegations from two sisters are nothing to overlook and figuring out this situation is surely the priority of this Top-30 visit. Purely looking at the player, Ingram is exactly what this team needs and projects as a long term starter. He'll be off some teams' boards entirely though.

John Metchie, Alabama, WR

Round Grade: 2nd

Big Board Position: 56th

Position Ranking: WR11

Film Grade: 46/70

Summary: Sudden athlete with strong route salesmanship who excels separating horizontally in the intermediate area and during scramble drills but struggles catching throws away from his frame.

Analysis: Metchie is exactly what I imagine Pep Hamilton is looking for at the WR position and his injury could make him available in the 3rd round at pick #80, which would be a "run that card in" moment.

Brian Asamoah, Oklahoma, LB

Round Grade: 2nd

Big Board Position: 60th

Position Ranking: LB7

Film Grade: 49/70

Summary: Athletic, violent and quick to diagnose vs the run with great feel in zone coverage but can be overly aggressive and size won't be for every team.

Analysis: One of "my guys", I love how Asamoah flies around the field like a heat seeking missile. His athleticism and zone coverage prowess is exactly what Lovie Smith desires at the LB position. #37 would be too rich for me but in a trade down situation, or if he's there at #80 (very possible), pull the trigger.

Thomas Booker, Stanford, IDL

Round Grade: 4th

Big Board Position: 101st

Position Ranking: IDL9

Film Grade: 45/70

Summary: Technically advanced run defender who is always in the right position but limited size and length hurts his playmaking ability.

Analysis: Booker might be the smartest and most well-spoken players in this class. He is a "coach on the field" who Caserio will fall in love with. He exudes work ethic, passion for football and every intangible that Caserio has preached valuing in the next crop of Houston Texans. It wouldn't surprise me if he's a player that is traded up for, as early as the 3rd round.

Myjai Sanders, Cincinnati, EDGE

Round Grade: 4th

Big Board Position: 102nd

Position Ranking: EDGE11

Film Grade: 42/70

Summary: Long limbed with electric get-off and relentless pursuit but lacks pass rush plan, setup and counters plus the play strength to shed blocks.

Analysis: Sanders profiles as a nice Jacob Martin replacement who can win with speed and a relentless motor off the edge. He'd ideally be a 4th round target but I'd understand swinging on a player with his upside in the 3rd round.

Christian Harris, Alabama, LB

Round Grade: 4th

Big Board Position: 107th

Position Ranking: LB10

Film Grade: 40/70

Summary: Athletic and violent LB who is a valuable blitzer but has poor recognition skills versus the run and pass, plus is an inconsistent tackler.

Analysis: I'm much lower than the consensus on Harris, who has received 1st round hype and most have as a Day 2 target. I like his athletic gifts but think he's very raw at the mental aspects of LB play, making him a risk I'd prefer to take on Day 3.

Terrell Bernard, Baylor, LB

Round Grade: 4th

Big Board Position: 115th

Position Ranking: LB11

Film Grade: 41/70

Summary: Athletic and competitive attacking linebacker who can blitz and has potential in zone coverage but is a slow processor who bites on motion, misdirection and play action plus needs to improve as an open field tackler.

Analysis: A solid developmental LB to target early Day 3, Bernard possesses the athletic qualities that Lovie desires out of his LBs.

Alontae Taylor, Tennessee, CB

Round Grade: 4th

Big Board Position: 125th

Position Ranking: CB15

Film Grade: 39/70

Summary: Bump and run corner with re-routing skills and recongition ability in zone but plays high when transitioning and is a willing but inaccurate tackler.

Analysis: Taylor provides the height (6'0), arm length (32") and speed (4.36 40YD) that Lovie has preached valuing at the CB position. He projects as an aggressive zone CB who is not afraid to tackle. Definitely an early Day 3 target who could outplay his draft position.

Jeremy Ruckert, Ohio State, TE

Round Grade: 4th

Big Board Position: 158th

Position Ranking: TE12

Film Grade: 43/70

Summary: Dependable zone run blocker and pass protector with strong hands and the size to be a valuable red zone threat.

Analysis: While most have Ruckert as a top-five TE, I think his blocking is overrated as he ends up in the dirt too often. He also doesn't possess ideal athletic ability to warrant high upside. He's fine on day 3, but not earlier, for me.

Keontay Ingram, USC, RB

Round Grade: 5th

Big Board Position: 168th

Position Ranking: RB20

Film Grade: 39/70

Summary: Strong frame with light cuts and runs with vision and finesse but lacks top end speed and needs to improve all passing game duties.

Analysis: The former UT back found success at USC and showed impressive tape in 2021. He reminds me of D'Onta Foreman, a former Texans RB who has had success in Tennesse and is now in Carolina. He'd be a solid day 3 RB, where plenty of value at that position can be found.

D'Eriq King, Miami, QB/WR

Round Grade: 6th

Big Board Position: 180th

Position Ranking: QB10

Film Grade: 39/70

Summary: Athletic but undersized QB who is adept in the quick game and can make full field reads but his current mechanics limit arm strength and decision making is erratic.

Analysis: King would be an interesting upside pick late day-three. When healthy, he's shown impressive playmaking ability at QB and is now working out as a WR for some NFL teams. He could allow the Texans to invest in a high upside developmental QB who could also add value as a gadget player and create trick play opportunities.

The following players had Top-30 visits but I did not have the chance to thoroughly watch, evaluate and write a scouting report for:

DeAngelo Malone, Western Kentucky, EDGE

EJ Perry, Brown, QB

David Anenih, Houston, EDGE

Devin Harper, Oklahoma State, LB