HOUSTON — The Houston Texans have holes to fill across their roster, and their secondary could use the most assistance. The Texans’ defensive backfield gave up an average of 242.2 passing yards in 2021. And following the loss of Justin Reid in free agency, Houston’s secondary could take another decline.
The Texans could address their need for safety by drafting Notre Dame’s Kyle Hamilton with one of their first-round picks. But should Houston miss out on Hamilton, ESPN has a good Plan B option, in Baylor’s Jalen Pitre to serve as Reid’s successor at No. 37.
“Pitre is versatile, instinctive and sudden,” Todd McShay said during his NFL Mock Draft on Tuesday. “He’d be a great fit alongside Eric Murray and Terrence Brooks. In 2021, Pitre intercepted a pair of passes, broke up four more, forced three fumbles, made 75 tackles and dropped ball carriers behind the line of scrimmage 18 times.”
Pitre has the ideal playstyle to thrive in Lovie Smith’s defensive system. He can make plays on the ball while in coverage but also has the capabilities to get physical with his opponents. Pitre ended his career at Baylor University, recording 195 tackles and 36.0 tackles for loss and 8.0 sacks.
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Entering the 2022 NFL Draft, the Texans have two picks in the first round. There is a chance the Texans will address their safety need in the second round, given that the team is interested in filling other positions.
Lovie Smith and Nick Caserio
Houston is a heavy favorite to land Oregon’s star defensive lineman Kayvon Thibodeaux — who McShay took as the Texans’ top overall selection. At No. 13, McShay addressed Houston’s offensive line with the selection of Mississippi State’s Charles Cross.
“Cross is the best pass protector in the class,” McShay said. “No player in college football has seen as many pass-block snaps over the past two years as Cross, and he only surrendered one sack in 2021. If Houston feels comfortable sliding him over to the right side — this would make a ton of sense.”