John McClain: Mock draft 2.0: Texans get QB, edge rusher in first round

Dec 31, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) drops back to throw the ball against Georgia Bulldogs in the third quarter during the Peach Bowl in the College Football Playoff semifinal at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Osu22uga Kwr 50

John McClain: Mock draft 2.0: Texans get QB, edge rusher in first round

John McClain does his second of seven mock drafts leading up to the first round on April 27:

1. Panthers: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Frank Reich changes his philosophy on big quarterbacks and takes the prospect who has everything but size.

2. Texans: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

DeMeco Ryans’ first draft choice as a head coach brings him the best pure passer in his class.

3. Cardinals: Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama

The Rotary Lombardi Award winner is a dynamic pass rusher and the safest defensive prospect available.

4. Colts: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

New coach Shane Steichen wants to build his offense around a quarterback, and he gets a strong-armed prospect with lots of upside.

5. Seahawks: Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech

Pete Carroll goes for an outside player who can pressure the passer over the talented but troubled Jalen Carter.

6. Lions: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

Dan Campbell has a prolific offense, and he needs to work on his defense. He starts with the secondary.

7. Raiders: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

Even though they signed Jimmy Garpoppolo, Josh McDaniels can’t pass up Richardson’s raw talent and will give him a season to develop.

8. Falcons: Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia

The Falcons didn’t think the most talented prospect would drop to them at this position because of character issues.

9. Bears: Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa

The Bears need help in their offensive and defensive lines and elect to go with a pass rusher loaded with talent.

10. Eagles: Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson

Nick Sirianni’s defensive line took a hit in free agency, and the Eagles love to stockpile talent to pressure the quarterback.

11. Titans: Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern

The Titans have to rebuild their offensive line. Mike Vrabel gets the top prospect at his position.

12. Texans: Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia

After filling one need with a quarterback, Nick Caserio fills another with an athletic speed rusher who ran a 4.39 at the combine.

13. Jets: Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State

Aaron Rodgers is going to want better protection, and that starts with a big-time prospect from a big-time program.

14. Patriots: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

Bill Belichick can’t pass up an exceptional prospect who can help improve the offense as a runner and as a receiver.

15. Packers: Jaxson Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

With Aaron Rodgers out of the picture, the Packers help new quarterback Jordan Love with the highest-rated wide receiver.

16. Commanders: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

Ron Rivera might be tempted to trade up for a quarterback or reach on Hendon Hooker but settles for a safe pick to benefit the receiving game.

17. Steelers: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia

Mike Tomlin wants to help second-year quarterback Kenny Pickett, and he does it by bolstering the pass protection.

18. Lions: Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh

Dan Campbell continues to build his defensive line with another prospect who can help improve the inside rush.

19. Buccaneers: Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee

With Tom Brady retiring, they have a problem at quarterback. They help solve that problem by adding more protection.

20. Seahawks: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

Pete Carroll gets great value when Gonzalez falls into the Seahawks’ lap. Another terrific pick to improve the defense.

21. Chargers: Jordan Addison, WR, USC

The highly productive prospect who excelled at Pitt and USC the last two years should be an ideal fit with quarterback Justin Herbert.

22. Ravens: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

They keep Lamar Jackson and try to make him happy by selecting the best big receiver available. Johnston also gets a lot of yards after the catch.

23. Vikings: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

Porter has a football pedigree and should get immediate playing time on a team trying to repeat as NFC North champion.

24. Jaguars: Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland

Doug Pederson needs an offensive tackle, but he’s wise enough to know teams can never have too many talented cornerbacks.

25. Giants: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College

Brian Daboll continues to put pieces around quarterback Daniel Jones to give him his best opportunity to succeed.

26. Cowboys: Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah

Jerry Jones allowed Dalton Schultz to leave as a free agent and replaces him with a prospect who might be the best at his position.

27. Bills: Will McDonald IV, EDGE, Iowa State

As a longtime defensive coordinator, coach Sean McDermott knows a defense can never have enough quality pass rushers.

28. Bengals: Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma

He can be a bookend right tackle opposite Orlando Brown, who signed as a free agent. Left tackle Jonah Williams wants to be traded.

29. Saints: Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia

Derek Carr will be happy with this 6-7 target who showed off his athleticism and exceptional hands at the combine.

30. Eagles: Brian Branch, S, Alabama

He fills a need position on a defense that’s suffered free agent losses. Branch also can be a slot cornerback.

31. Chiefs: Felix Anudike-Uzomah, EDGE, Kansas State

Andy Reid has to replace Frank Clark. They keep this underpublicized prospect close to home, and he’ll pay immediate dividends.

(John McClain writes four columns a week for He can be heard Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday on Sports Radio 610 and Thursday on Texans Radio. He does three weekly Houtopia podcasts for 610. He also can be read three times a week on

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