The Houston Texans haven’t had a first round draft pick since the 2019 season, when they took offensive lineman Tytus Howard with the #23 overall selection, amidst all sorts of disdain and claims of ‘reaching’. Howard has yet to live up to his first round pick status, but that’s a topic for another day.
Prior to 2019, the Texans hadn’t picked in the first round since taking Deshaun Watson with #12 overall in 2017. The last time they had a top three spot? 2014 when they selected Jadeveon Clowney.
This time around, Houston general manager Nick Caserio and company arrived at the draft armed with eight total picks in the top 175.
#3 - First Round
#13 - First Round
#37 - Second Round
#68 - Third Round
#80 - Third Round
#107 - Fourth Round
#108 - Fourth Round
#170 - Fifth Round
This draft is the make it or break it moment for Caserio’s tenure as Houston Texans GM. An above average GM would employ this treasure trove of draft assets to build the core of a long term team, bound for playoff glory.
A below average GM would waste this opportunity on bad trades and/or draft busts that never see the field.
Just where Caserio lands in that scope remains to be seen.
But, the first bite from this cornucopia of roster building goodness is LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr.
The Louisiana native played his high school ball at the Dunham School in Baton Rouge, before landing at LSU in 2019. His sophomore year saw Stingley Jr. lead the SEC with six interceptions and 15 passes defensed. At just over 6 feet tall, 190 lbs, Stingley isn’t akin to more modern cornerbacks who are taller and heavier, however, Stingley has proven he sticks to a receiver like glue.
- One of the most talented cornerbacks in LSU history, twice earning first team All-America honors in 2019 and 2020
- Started all 25 games in which he appeared during his LSU career
- LSU went 20-5 in those games, including a 15-0 record his true freshman season in 2019
- Finished career with 73 tackles, 7.0 tackles for loss, 6 interceptions and 21 passes defended Opted for the NFL Draft following the 2021 season, forgoing his final season of eligibility with the Tigers
- Two-time first team All-SEC selection at cornerback
- Joined Corey Webster (2003, 2004) and Tommy Casanova (1969, 1970, 1971) as the only cornerbacks in LSU history to earn first team All-America honors twice
- Led the SEC in interceptions with 6 as a freshman, including 2 in the SEC Championship Game win over Georgia
- Switched from No. 24 to No. 7 in 2021, a number worn by some of the best playmakers in LSU history, including recent defensive back All-Americas in Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu, and Grant Delpit
- In 2019, became the most decorated freshmen in LSU football history, earning consensus All-America honors
- Made the transition from high school to the elite level of college football with ease … Started all 15 games as cornerback during LSU’s national championship season in 2019 … Led the SEC and ranked No. 5 in the nation in interceptions (6) and No. 2 nationally in passes defended (21)
- True shutdown corner that is very difficult to complete a pass on; draws the assignment of covering the opponents top wide receiver
- Rarely has a ball thrown in his direction as he typically eliminates his side of the field from the passing game
- Has all of the tools necessary to be an elite cornerback – elite speed with great hips, tremendous hands and vision and a true understanding of the game
- Is unique and exceptional in every aspect of his game
- Called a “rare breed” by Heisman Trophy quarterback Joe Burrow, the No. 1 overall draft pick in the 2020 NFL Draft
- Burrow competed against Stingley everyday in practice in 2019
- Became the first true freshman in LSU history to start every game as a rookie.
With the Houston Texans bottom ranked defensive backfield last season, it won’t be hard for Stingley Jr. to earn and keep a starting role. Now, if Nick Caserio can bolster the Texans pass rush and maybe get another player in the secondary, Stingley Jr. will have a chance to shine, quickly.
Excited? You should be!