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Jalen Pitre for Defensive Rookie of the Year

A draft pick Nick Caserio nailed in 2022

Cleveland Browns v Houston Texans Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

It’s often far too early to grade a rookie when their first season hasn’t concluded yet. But not Jalen Pitre. This dude has come to play, and play he has.

Through 15 games, Pitre has 126 combined tackles, 81 solo stops, 45 assists, four interceptions, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and a sack. How good are those numbers?

Historically good.

Best part of that? Pitre still has two more games to go. With an 8.4 tackles per game average so far, the bruising young safety is likely to end the year with 142 tackles. Currently Patrick Willis holds the record for most tackles by a rookie in a season with 136. Barring an injury, Pitre should break that record easily.

Now, the interception record, that one is likely safe. Dick “Night Train” Lane set the record with 14 all the way back in 1952. If Pitre somehow gets 11 interceptions between now and the last whistle of game 17, that really would be incredible ... but highly unlikely.

However, setting the tackles in a season record should definitely garner some attention in the Defensive Rookie of the Year conversation.

Better yet? A game sealing interception against the Baby Horses and Glitter Kitties like he did against the Tennessee Titans.

Last Word On Sports has a nice piece on potential DROY candidates at this juncture. Pitre is firmly embedded on that list.

Safety Jalen Pitre

The only rookie to have made more tackles than Walker is Houston Texans safety Jalen Pitre. Wracking up an impressive 126 total tackles, Pitre has been phenomenal on a lackluster Texans defense. He even leads all NFL safeties in tackles, ahead of Giants Julian Love by six. The 37th overall pick also has a sack, forced fumble, and a fumble recovery to his name.

Not only Pitre has been a tackling machine, but he has been a playmaker in pass coverage. His four interceptions are tied for the third-most in the league, with only two rookies having more. Pitre also has seven pass deflections as well.

And, beyond the DROY convo, Pitre has given notice he’ll anchor the Texans last line of defense for a long, long time. Expect this young man to see the Pro Bowl on an annual basis, before eventually cementing his place as one of the greatest safeties in Houston Texans history.

If Pitre can have solid outings against the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Indianapolis Colts, he should be a lock for DROY. However, this is the Texans and Pitre might see that honor stolen by a committee that doesn’t pay enough attention to this floundering franchise to recognize greatness when they (don’t) see it.

Maybe J.J. Watt can toss out some accolades for Pitre as he rides off into the sunset...