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Draft Class Potential: Can Jalen Pitre Replace Justin Reid?

A look into the potential of new Houston Texans safety Jalen Pitre.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 04 Big 12 Championship Game - Oklahoma State v Baylor Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Baylor safety Jalen Pitre was selected by the Houston Texans with the 37th overall pick in the second-round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

Pitre was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2021, accumulating 75 total tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and two interceptions.

Jalen Pitre has the opportunity to make a significant impact day one for the Houston Texans defense. Although we won’t know exactly how Lovie Smith will use Pitre just yet, we know that he has experience playing throughout all three levels of Baylor’s defense. Pitre started off playing linebacker at Baylor but eventually transitioned into a more hybrid position that allowed him to use his instincts and high football IQ to do a little bit of everything and make a consistent impact.

The Texans did not blitz the opposing quarterback often in 2021. In 2022, that may not be the case. Lovie Smith stated recently that the Texans would be doing some different things on defense and one of the many things Pitre can do at a high level is put pressure on the quarterback. Another area that needs significant improvement on the Texans defense is defending the run. Pitre is a sure tackler that has great vision and was very productive at Baylor with his run support.

“Tyrann Mathieu is definitely number one on my list of players I try to model my game after,” Pitre said. “I try to take different things from his game to add to mine. His versatility, his knack for being around the ball and his instincts are all things I try to add to my game.” Another player that Pitre has been compared to and even models some parts of his game after is Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker.

Countless people who have had the opportunity to work with and watch Pitre up close have nothing but positive things to say about his competitive nature and the energy he brings on and off the field. If the defense plans on taking a positive step forward in 2022, Pitre will be a huge part of that progression.