It seems a pretty safe assumption to suggest that the Houston Texans spent a little time scouting in the SEC.
Six of the Texans’ nine draft picks including both of the first-round selections played in the Southeastern Conference. That included two players each from Alabama and Louisiana State.
The biggest surprise might be that Houston had any picks in the first round after not picking in the opening round since 2019.
Houston tried to address as many positions as possible with two defensive backs and two offensive linemen topping the picks.
Even with the draft picks, Houston’s odds to win the Super Bowl are listed at +25000 according to the sportsbook which is easily the longest odds of the 32 NFL teams.
Here’s a look at how the Texans fared in the draft.
Pick 3 Derek Stingley | CB, Louisiana State Tigers
Word leaked a couple of days before the draft that Houston favored Stingley over Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, though the Cincinnati DB was higher on most of the draft boards you might stumble upon.
Stingley, despite having his best season at LSU back in 2019, indeed was the third overall pick. Stingley has all the measurables teams are looking for in its shutdown cornerbacks. The biggest question is whether he will approach his remarkable 2019 level when he helped LSU win the national championship or will he resemble the player who fought through injuries during the 2020 and 2021 campaigns.
The NFL betting lines list Stingley as being tied for the eighth-best odds to win the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
Pick 15 Kenyon Green | OL, Texas A&M Aggies
Taking interior offensive linemen in the middle of the first round can always be a little risky. The Texans allowed 44 sacks a season ago so picking an offensive lineman seems like a reasonable way to proceed. The Texans also had the fewest rushing yards in the NFL during the 2021 campaign so Green can help improve the offensive production in both the running and passing game.
Houston did pick up a fourth-round pick and two fifth-round selections to drop back two spots. Trading down kept Houston from possibly drafting Georgia All-American defensive tackle Jordan Davis or former Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton. Instead, the Texans made a pick that didn’t go over well with most of the people grading drafts.
Pick 37 Jalen Pitre | S, Baylor Bears
Baylor going from a 2-7 record during the 2020 season to a 12-2 mark including capturing the Big 12 championship was one of the feel-good stories of the 2021 college football season. Pitre played a major role in that bounce-back season.
Pitre had 75 tackles, 18½ tackles for loss, 3½ sacks, seven pass breakups, and two interceptions. With Justin Reid signing with the Kansas City Chiefs, there was definitely a need at the safety position. Of course, holding onto pick No. 13 to take Hamilton and then address another position with this pick was also a possibility.
Pick 44 John Metchie | WR, Alabama Crimson Tide
Houston certainly needs some help at receiver. It wasn’t too long ago that DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller, and Kenny Stills gave Houston plenty of options at the receiving position. Those days are long gone.
Nico Collins was a solid pickup in the third round of the 2021 draft. Metchie will give quarterback Davis Mills another option although Houston did give up two fourth-round selections to move up from 68 to 44 to select a player coming off a torn ACL late in his final season at Alabama.
Metchie is viewed as a top-notch route runner and he will be a nice addition to the Houston offense.
According to the Las Vegas odds, 11 receivers have a better probability to be named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Pick 75 Christian Harris | LB, Alabama Crimson Tide
Houston traded up to select another former Alabama star as it surrendered pick No. 162 to move up five spots.
Harris was used to rush the passer, he dropped back into coverage and of course, was a force against the run. It won’t be a surprise to see Harris start in the 2022 season opener.
The Texans also traded a 2023 sixth-round pick for Blake Cashman so upgrading the linebacking group is obviously a priority.
Pick 107 Dameon Pierce | RB, Florida Gators
There was a thought that Houston was ready to take former Iowa State running back Breece Hall with the 37th overall pick. However, the New York Jets traded up to pick Hall right in front of the Texans. Rather than select Kenneth Walker or another one of the running backs, Houston was willing to wait.
Pierce wasn’t utilized that much at Florida as he only led the team in rushing once in his four seasons. He only had 45 receptions in 50 career games with the Texans.
Pick 150 Thomas Booker | DE, Stanford Cardinal
Booker had 7½ sacks in his first two seasons at Stanford but only 2½ as a junior and a senior. At 310 pounds, he does give the Texans some positional versatility.
It will be interesting to see where he lines up at the next level. Considering that his 40-yard dash time was 4.94, kicking him inside to tackle might be the way to go.
Pick 170 Teagan Quitoriano | TE, Oregon State
Another player who wasn’t overly productive in college with 40 receptions in his four seasons. He was sixth on the 2021 Oregon State team with 19 catches so this is a case of the Houston coaches and scouts projecting Quitoriano as a player who can help improve the Texans’ passing game rather than taking a prospect with a track record of making plays.
Pick 205 Austin Deculus | OT, Louisiana State Tigers
Deculus went a little later than expected and he could provide some depth at the tackle position.
Deculus started 46 career games at LSU and was a four-year starter at right tackle. He was a starter on LSU’s national championship team and he seems like a pretty solid pick in the sixth round.
FYI: Austin Deculus appeared in more games than any player in LSU history 👀 pic.twitter.com/cwqUzDNr9s
— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) April 30, 2022
Houston received this pick in a trade that sent receiver Randall Cobb to Green Bay. With Houston trading away a pair of seventh-round picks, this was the final selection for the Texans.
From a value standpoint, this has a chance to go down as the Texans’ best pick in the draft.
Grading the draft
The Texans could have been a little rusty when it came to making first-round selections since the franchise had no first-rounders in the previous two drafts as a result of the Laremy Tunsil trade with the Miami Dolphins. Those who bet online probably had little clue about the likely first-round choices for the Texans.
Top pick Stingley will forever be linked to fellow cornerback Ahmad Gardner who went to the Jets with the next selection while Green was not a popular pick even if it helps with the interior of the line.
Houston surrendered some draft capital to move up twice during the second day of the draft. With all the needs on this roster, Houston might have been better served to keep as many picks as possible.