The Houston Texans managed to avoid last place in the AFC South last season, thanks to the team with the #1 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft — the Jacksonville Jaguars.
But the Texans are still a long ways off from contending for the Super Bowl or even sniffing the playoffs — that’s why they sit with the 3rd pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. As such, this team still needs plenty of pieces and pick 3 is a great place to start.
The Texans will have to wait and see who the Jags take at #1 and the Lions select with the 2nd pick before they make the 3rd selection. There’s not a consensus top player in the 2022 NFL Draft, nor is this considered a strong class for quarterbacks — at least at the top of the draft. The Texans badly need a quarterback, with Davis Mills penciled in as their Week 1 starter, but there isn’t a QB in this class that isn’t considered a reach at No. 3. Given that the Texans also have the No. 13 selection, it’s possible that they trade down to compile more picks to help fill the many holes this Houston roster has.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the odds to be the 3rd pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, and then give our predictions and best bets for pick 3.
NFL Draft Odds for 3rd Pick
- Ikem Ekwonu, OT, +175
- Evan Neal, OT, +300
- Travon Walker, DT, +550
- Kyle Hamilton, S, +700
- Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, +900
- Ahmad Gardner, CB, +1000
- Aidan Hutchinson, DE, +1400
- Derek Stingley Jr, CB, +1400
- Malik Willis, QB, +2000
NFL Pick 3: 2022 Best Bets
Here are a couple of predictions and best bets for the 3rd pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
NFL Draft 3rd Pick Best Bet: Evan Neal (+300)
The consensus is that Houston is going to take an offensive lineman with the 3rd pick, and the odds reflect that with Ikem Ekwonu (+175) and Evan Neal (+300) as the favorites to go at pick 3.
On paper, Houston already has two offensive tackles — Laremy Tunsil and Tytus Howard. However, Howard has been asked to move from right tackle to right guard, which would free the Texans up to take a pure tackle with the No. 3 pick. To me, that’s Neal. He is considered to be the better prospect at the position, but is less versatile than Ekwonu, who can play either tackle or guard.
Plus, new Texans general manager Nick Caserio comes from the New England Patriots, and that organization’s preference for Alabama players is well established. If the Texans stick to their plan to move Howard to guard, then Neal is my best bet to be the 3rd pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
NFL Draft 3rd Pick Best Bet: Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner (+1000)
At the NFL Combine, Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder told teams that in a perfect world, he’d want to go to the team that selected Ahmad Gardner in the draft. The reason? He doesn’t want to have to play against Gardner in the NFL. That’s pretty high praise for a defensive back, and in Gardner’s case, it’s well earned. He’s the kind of cornerback who can take a #1 wide receiver out of the game, which he proved in the Cotton Bowl against Alabama by holding Jameson Williams, another player that should be drafted in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, to one catch for -2 yards when matched up with him.
With Lovie Smith taking over and installing the famed Tampa 2 defense, Houston is going to need coverage corners. And Smith has already stated that he didn’t think the Texans’ corner play was good enough last season. If Houston decides to wait and take an offensive lineman with its selection at No. 13, Gardner could end up being the 3rd pick. With +1000 odds, I’m making this bet, along with Neal, to hedge as both would be quality selections at pick 3.
NFL Draft 3rd Pick Best Bet: Kayvon Thibodeaux (+900)
When you play in a division with Jonathan Taylor (IND) and Derrick Henry (TEN) at running back, you’d better be able to stop the run as well as the pass, and Kayvon Thibodeaux would allow the Texans to improve in both areas. This pick would be a bit of a surprise, but with Georgia’s Travon Walker moving up Jacksonville’s draft board and the Detroit Lions highly unlikely to let Michigan product Aidan Hutchinson fall past them at No. 2, Thibodeaux will likely be there at #3, if the Texans want him.
The defensive lineman was originally seem as the potential #1 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft but his stock is falling due to teams questioning his work ethic and drive. But Houston has met with him multiple times and would likely have a good handle on if those concerns are accurate or not.
Thibodeaux at No. 3 could end up being a value pick for both the savvy bettor and the Texans.
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