Lovie Smith era has Texans excited after NFL Draft
The top 5 picks in the NFL Draft were a surprise to all. It was not so much about the offensive or defensive selections, but more of which players that were taken. Since AFC South rival, Jacksonville Jaguars selected Travon Walker first overall, it made picks 2 through 5 all on high alert as to who is available.
The Houston Texans were number 3 overall and were locked in on one player. For Texans fans, it has been difficult watching a defense that did not have a natural lockdown corner. Lovie Smith and the Texans changed that by selecting Derek Stingley Jr. from LSU. He is a 6’0” 190 lbs physical press corner that has tremendous speed and can locate the ball in every phase while engaging with a wide receiver. He will need to improve his run defense and tackling, however his balance and awareness covering offenses will overshadow that. Stingley Jr. is set to come into training camp knowing that he is number 1 on the depth chart.
Staying in the first round, the Texans decided to trade down with Miami and drafted Kenyon Green, Texas A&M Guard. Green was the number 1 overall ranked guard in the draft. Houston are very familiar with Green, as he is a hometown kid. Green is a fearless run blocker who has mastered the many angles needed to open holes.
One key attribute about Kenyon Green is that he has started at every offensive line position except center. This fits well as Texans have Laremy Tunsil and Tytus Howard as tackles, slotting Green inside to be a starting guard Day 1.
Jalen Pitre was a first round talent that somehow ended up sliding to the second round. He was described as versatile safety that can line up over the slot, in the box, and can play deep. The Texans found themselves fortunate to draft Pitre, safety from Baylor in the second round. He will be a great fit in the Houston Texans’ two-high look defense ran by head coach Lovie Smith. Staying in the second round, the Texans took a household name to a college football fan. Alabama’s explosive wide receiver, John Metchie III was still on the board in round 2. One of the best route runner’s in the NFL Draft, Metchie will need to work on his ability to take the top off the coverage. He is coming off a torn ACL suffered in the SEC Championship game in December 2021. When healthy he will be a strong WR2 complimenting Brandin Cooks.
Round 3 brought excitement for Lovie Smith when he was able to add Christian Harris, inside linebacker from Alabama that is an instinctive pass-rusher with an explosive burst to give quarterbacks trouble. Look for Harris to win one of the linebacker starting positions. It is no secret that the Texans were desperate to find help in the running game. Houston added Dameon Price, running back out of Florida to their offense. Price is a one-cut downhill runner with a dependable touchdown ratio when he is near the goal line. He scored 9 of his 13 touchdowns in goal-to-go situations. He is sure handed and hardly fumbles and can help with the pass blocking downs as well.
The Texans are running a 3-4 defensive scheme heading into the 2022-2023 season. It was vital that they find depth at the Defensive Tackle position. Thomas Booker, DT out of Stanford was a perfect pick in round 5 for the Texans. He played a 3-4 scheme at Stanford. He has a natural ability to disrupt offenses by not only penetrating the offensive line, but he can take on two blockers at once. He also lined up at the defensive end position in several games, so he does have the scheme versatility.
Lovie Smith will love his knowledge of the defense and seems like it was a perfect match waiting to be made. According to a few television networks, there was a tight end that was on every “Who to watch for” lists. His name is Teagan Quitoriano, a tight end out of Oregon State. Texans drafted him in the fifth round and has been described as a polished route runner with amazing size and length. Even though he does have the ability to help with possessions, he will not beat you with speed, but will help Davis Mills in the passing game. The Texans added depth to the offensive line in the sixth round by drafting Austin Deculus from LSU. His setback is the length of time it does take him to get set and has been known to be beat by speedy edge rushers. He will need to work on lower-body strength and the ability to drive defenders to the second level, but it is a good pick to add depth to a line that is in the verge of being rebuilt and revamped.
The Lovie Smith head coach era in Houston is off to a good start. The selections all indicate that the Texans will become a tough nose defensive team that will pound the ball and create off of the play action. There is excitement in Houston, but we have to remember not all the needs were filled as several holes are still left unaddressed.