The 2022 NFL Draft has officially kicked off, and the Houston Texans have made their first selection. As the seven rounds progress and the team makes all of their picks, we will provide a live draft grade and analysis for each of the Texans’ selections. How do these new prospects fit with the roster, what kind of impact will they have on the team, and what do the team’s needs look like now that the draft is complete?
Make sure to continue to check back as the 2022 NFL Draft continues for live Houston Texans draft grades and analysis.
Houston Texans grades for 2022 NFL Draft
What are the Texans’ grades for their selections in the 2022 NFL Draft as they look to address their main needs this offseason?
Round 1, Pick 3: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
The Houston Texans have selected LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. with the third overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Stingley’s had a tumultuous draft process. At one point, there were questions about whether he’d slip down the board in Round 1. Stingley certainly hasn’t had the same production since his historic true freshman season. But a lot of times, the best cornerbacks are quieter because they aren’t being tested. This is often the case with Stingley.
Stingley is an elite short-area athlete, with the burst, fluidity, and twitch to match receivers stride-for-stride. It helps that he’s already a smooth technician for his young age. He can kick-slide, match receiver movements, and time punches with precision and zeal. And at the catch point, Stingley is as dynamic and instinctive as they come. The Texans get a lockdown cornerback who’s always been a top-five prospect through the ups and downs.
Round 1, Pick 15: Kenyon Green, G, Texas A&M
After trading back with the Eagles to the 15th overall pick, the Houston Texans landed Kenyon Green out of Texas A&M. This move starts what should be a long and expensive process toward protecting quarterback Davis Mills. There was some speculation that Green would drop after a middling Combine performance. Instead, he’s the first offensive guard off the board.
The Texans get a bonus for trading back and acquiring extra assets in the process. And while Green isn’t the top guard on most boards (with Zion Johnson taking that honor), he’s still a very solid guard with athleticism, power, and forceful punches. The aspect of need and value is most questionable here. Could Houston have picked a more valuable player? Do they now keep Tytus Howard at right tackle? Green undoubtedly locks down the interior for Houston, but he still leaves them with questions.
Round 2, Pick 37: Jalen Pitre, S, Baylor
One round after selecting LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. with the third overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans are once again investing in their secondary. With the 37th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Texans have added Baylor defensive back Jalen Pitre.
Pitre is an intriguing pick for Houston, and one who can complement Stingley well. Pitre profiles as a high-level slot defender — he was a hybrid STAR at Baylor and flourished both in coverage and as an attacker in the box. Pitre doesn’t have a ton of man-coverage experience, but in Lovie Smith’s zone scheme, he has the play recognition, aggressiveness, and closing speed to make an impact. His skill set is a bit redundant with Desmond King, but Pitre could end up being a better player.
Round 2, Pick 44: John Metchie III, WR, Alabama
The Texans have already filled quite a few needs with their first few selections in the 2022 NFL Draft. They only continued on that path with this pick, taking Alabama WR John Metchie III at 44th overall. The Texans traded up to the Browns’ pick to acquire Metchie, showing how much they valued the chance to add him to their WR room.
Metchie might not have been the best wide receiver on the board, but he’s a solid player. He also fits what the Texans need. With Brandin Cooks and Nico Collins leading the way at receiver, Metchie can file in nicely as a movement Z or slot. With his release package, he can win from a number of different alignments. And with his speed, route-running nuance, and solid catching instincts, he can be a consistent chain mover for Davis Mills.
Round 3, Pick 75: Christian Harris, LB, Alabama
The Texans have been checking off boxes so far in the 2022 NFL Draft, both on offense and defense. Linebacker was another box that needed checking in Round 3. They selected Alabama LB Christian Harris to fill that need, but does he have enough to turn a need into a strength?
If there’s one thing Harris has, it’s upside. He’s a rare athlete at the linebacker position, with elite explosiveness and speed, and solid frame density. When he’s in run-and-chase mode, he can make some eye-popping plays. But in a bare LB room, Harris may be asked to take on added responsibility early. His questionable instincts and eyes in the box make that a risky venture.
Round 4, Pick 107: Dameon Pierce, RB, Florida
The Texans addressed a few key needs over the first couple days of the 2022 NFL Draft. That enabled them to use their first fourth-round selection on a running back – Florida’s Dameon Pierce. It’s a bit surprising that Pierce goes over Isaiah Spiller, but Pierce has the skill set to be the lead back in the Texans’ rotation. At around 5’9 ⅝”, 218 pounds, he’s a bowling ball on the field with tenacious physicality, excellent contact balance, and underrated creation capacity. He’s also a smooth receiver out of the backfield. This is a solid pick for Houston.
Round 5, Pick 150: Thomas Booker, DT, Stanford
The Houston Texans might have found their long-term quarterback last season in Davis Mills. They return to the West Coast to upgrade their defensive front with the selection of defensive tackle Thomas Booker. The Stanford standout has elevated his stock late in the process with an excellent all-star game performance and impressive NFL Combine testing. He’s a big, strong, intelligent DT who has alluring size and length to be an impactful playmaker on this Texans defensive line.
Round 5, Pick 170: Teagan Quitoriano, TE, Oregon State
In a deep Day 3 tight end class, Oregon State’s Teagan Quitoriano might not be a household name. However, he’s a reliable pass catcher who explodes into his routes and demonstrates good ball-tracking skills and a natural pass-catching technique. The explosion he shows off the snap is also evident in his blocking reps. However, he’s not a particularly powerful blocker and lacks the top-level athleticism to be a game-changing threat as a pass catcher.
Round 6, Pick 205: Austin Deculus, OT, LSU
Many mock drafts in the ramp-up to the 2022 NFL Draft had the Texans selecting an offensive tackle early. They instead picked a guard – Kenyon Green – in Round 1, forgoing the selection of a tackle until this point. For what they can get here, Austin Deculus provides solid value. Perhaps most importantly, he’s a natural right tackle who can provide depth opposite Laremy Tunsil. He likely won’t factor into the starting equation right away, but he has the athleticism and length to supplement some growth.
What were the Texans’ biggest needs entering the draft?
- WR, CB, S, EDGE, OT
The Texans have needs all over their roster heading into 2022. Offensively, they need a wide receiver partner for Brandin Cooks and someone to play opposite Laremy Tunsil on the offensive line. Davis Mills’ performance in 2021 meant QB was not a major need, but it would not be a shock if the Texans took an insurance policy at the position if there is one they like in the 2022 class.
On defense, the main needs are in the secondary. They have short-term options at both cornerback and safety, but they need to have a plan for the future. Both positions could benefit from investment heading into 2022 and there is time to develop them heading into 2023. More quality in terms of the pass rush is also something the Texans should not ignore heading into the 2022 season.