Texans Draft Rumors: Lovie Smith Is 'In Love' with Travon Walker at No. 3

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVApril 27, 2022

ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 06: Travon Walker #44 of the Georgia Bulldogs leaves the field at the conclusion of the game against the Missouri Tigers at Sanford Stadium on November 6, 2021 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

The Houston Texans may have identified their primary target in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft. His availability could be an issue, though.

CBSSports.com's Jonathan Jones reported Texans head coach Lovie Smith is "in love" with Georgia star Travon Walker.

Unfortunately for Houston, Walker has emerged as the consensus favorite to go No. 1 overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Following the trade of Deshaun Watson, the rebuild is only now beginning for the Texans. After going 4-13 in 2021, they once again figure to be among the league's worst teams.

What that means for Houston in the first round is that general manager Nick Caserio can go in a number of directions with the No. 3 overall pick and address a clear roster need.

Walker was only tied for 10th on Georgia in total tackles (37), adding 7.5 tackles for loss and six sacks. His stock has soared, though, as the draft approached, and he's all but guaranteed to be selected ahead of teammates Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean.

The Bulldogs edge-rusher was the choice for the Texans on Bleacher Report's most recent mock draft.

"While his pass-rushing skills are limited right now, Walker has all the athletic potential to eventually develop into a good pass-rusher after a year or two," B/R NFL scout Derrik Klassen wrote. "The 21-year-old will walk into the league as a strong run defender and an effective twist/stunt piece in the passing game."

Walker's versatility would be perfect for a Texans defense that's starting over, and the fact he's not the finished product isn't much of a concern given the franchise's short-term priorities.

Still, Smith and Caserio might not want to put all of their eggs in one basket considering how highly Walker is rated. Jones reported that "there's a ton of smoke" surrounding the Texans and LSU star Derek Stingley Jr., who would be a nice consolation prize.