Draft Grade Whiparound: How did the Texans score?
Draft scores, much like power rankings, are ultimately meaningless. They are arbitrarily given at a time far too early to determine whether or not a team has passed a draft, as none of these players have yet proven to be NFL-caliber talent.
Still, it’s hard to resist the siren song of reading if Mel Kiper Jr. and his hair, Sports Illustrated, Pro Football Focus and all of their respective talking heads (and hair) thought your favorite team did a good job (what that this implies) in a given draft year.
I am no exception and have literally said that the draft grades make no sense.
So to save you some time and hassle, we’ve taken a quick tour to find out what various websites think of the Texans’ draft.
For the record, these results have not been handpicked to show any bias. The only bias shown here is my bias towards what will help me finish writing this post faster.
Pro Football Network (by Ryan Gosling; no, not that one):
Overall rating: B+
Another team that will enter the 2023 QB1 draw, the Houston Texans have met other needs. They bet Derek Stingley Jr. with the third overall pick and added Kenyon Green as the 15th pick. Round 2 saw them draft Jalen Pitre, a Swiss army knife who is comfortable playing anywhere. They also added wide receiver John Metchie III, a super underrated but productive wide receiver from Alabama. Metchie’s teammate Christian Harris was their third-round pick, and Houston added a powerful runner in Dameon Pierce. Thomas Booker, Teagan Quitoriano and Austin Deculus aren’t moving the counter much, but they haven’t been able to get them back.
Sports Illustrated (by Conor Orr)
Overall rating: B
The Texans are rounding the corner on their rebuilding, chaotic The iron Throne– power struggle to not-so-subtle tank work, to now using some of those strengths to formulate the basis of Nick Caserio’s long-term vision. Stingley is incredibly talented, a cornerback who has the tools to be among the best in the league. And quick. It is curious that the knock on him is that his game slipped after the 2019 USL league season, and not that his coaching staff did the same, ultimately leading to the ousting of Ed Orgeron and the Hiring of Brian Kelly. The Texans have exploited the Belichick-Alabama pipeline frequently in this draft and, despite missing the first set of wide receivers, have managed to find a functional wide receiver in John Metchie III, who will provide Davis Mills with the kind of point guard who can turn horizontal throws into significant wins. For a team that relied heavily on 28-year-old Brandin Cooks, the Texans have a chance to look a little less adrift offensively now, forcing defenses to respect both their deep speed and their middle speed.
Sports News (by Vinnie Iyer)
Overall rating: A-
The Texans nailed their first five picks, though the players in some cases (starting with Stingley and Green) may not have been the true bests available in their positions. Inside blocking and more big-play receivers were tackled on offense, as was cleaning up the top seven on defense. The only question marks for Nick Caserio weren’t tapping into the attacking tackle earlier and rushing at all.
CBS Sports (by Pete Prisco; I know, I know ::eyes roll::)
Overall rating: B+
Best choice : The choice of security Jalen Pitre in the second round will pay off big. He will be a star. He looks a lot like Tyrann Mathieu. Think Honey Badger 2.0.
Worst choice: Trading to take receiver John Metchie in the second round was aggressive for a player coming off an ACL injury who isn’t as explosive as teammate Jameson Williams.
Lean: I really liked what they did. First-round corner Derek Stingley Jr. will be a closed player, while offensive lineman Kenyan Green is a bad mauler who will help up front. I like Pitre and the running back of the fourth round Dameon Pierce
The Athletic (by Sheil Kapadia)
Overall rating: B+
There’s a lot to love here. I completely understand taking a swing on Stingley at No. 3. He has elite coverage skills and plays prime position. There is a real advantage there. The Texans traded before taking Green. This pick felt a bit like a litter, but Green is young (will play his rookie season at age 21) and versatile (debuted in four different positions in college).
Trading for Metchie seemed too aggressive. The Texans gave up the equivalent of the 56th overall pick in that deal, according to a commercial table. Metchie is a great prospect, but the Texans have holes all over their roster and didn’t have to give up two more fourth-round picks to land him.
Pitre is a really fun player. Harris has the advantage of becoming a bigger starter. And Pierce runs violently. In total, the Texans made nine picks. For the most part, I like what they did (I know, I’m as surprised as you are).
NFL.com (by Chad Reuter)
Overall rating: B
Ranking of day 1: B
2nd day level: B-
3rd day level: B
Analysis: The Texans picked a few guys who could be great with their top three picks: a potential point guard corner (Stingley), a powerhouse guard/tackle (Green), and a competitive and versatile defensive back (Pitre). Metchie and Harris could also become strong starters if they’re able to consistently secure passes and find the ball on defense, respectively.
Pierce will compete for every meter. Booker is a smart and active insider. Quitoriano fulfills the team’s need for a well-balanced tight end. The Texans should sign several undrafted free agent edge rushers to bolster this group as they failed to select one.
Pro Football Focus (no signing)
Overall rating: B+
Day 1 : Stingley’s draft stock eventually came full circle, with him exiting the board as a top-five pick and CB1 here for Houston. He was never able to build on a true dominating freshman season with LSU in 2019 when he allowed a 51.4 passer rating in his coverage with 21 pass breakups and interceptions combined. But that talent went nowhere. Stingley brings rare movement skills and athleticism and can play in any scheme. He will be a building block in Houston as Nick Caserio & Co. remakes the roster.
Green was a bit within reach based on the big PFF board (39th overall), but it’s not hard to see why the Texans would value him here. Green played in every position except center for Texas A&M in 2021 and will likely position himself as an early guard for Houston. Despite all that movement, Green still has PFF ratings north of 75.0 in each of the past two seasons, and he’s only expected to keep improving.
Day 2: Pitre doesn’t have the NFL’s cleanest positional projection as a safety who played mostly in the slot at Baylor, but he’s going to improve Houston’s defense. Pitre can play a nickel, safety and dime linebacker for a defense that has needs at every level, and he’s constantly going to find himself around football in coverage and in the running game. Pitre’s 92.7 PFF run defense rating ranked first among all defensive backs in the FBS last season.
Considering the Texans traded for Metchie, who just suffered an ACL injury and has a questionable cap, this is a below-average pick for Houston. An injury of this magnitude is a concern for a player who questions his full potential and his physical profile. On a more positive note, the 5-foot-11, 187-pound is a technician. He’s a solid road runner who has consistently opened up against fierce competition within the SEC. In fact, Metchie has led the conference in targets against single coverage with a step or more of separation the past two seasons.
Christian Harris is a player with a lot of experience starting in college who never really developed and improved as expected. Harris is an outstanding athlete but has never had a PFF coverage rating above 52.0 in a defense with NFL concepts and NFL-caliber coaching. It may have a limited role, but it can be useful in that role.
Day 3: The story for the Houston Texans in this draft was to build the team from scratch at every position. They continued to do so by adding Florida running back Dameon Pierce. Last season, the Gator earned a 92.0 PFF rating after rushing for 574 yards on 100 attempts. Pierce will likely support veteran Rex Burkhead and eventually take over the team’s backfield.
ESPN.com (by Mel Kiper Jr. and his hair)
Overall rating: B
If anyone told you they knew what the Texans were going to do in this draft, they weren’t telling the truth. The organization has been extremely low-key throughout the process, with two first-round picks – numbers 3 and 13 – potentially creating a bit of chaos on the board. They could have gone for several different positions with those picks, but I’ve always said they should take the best prospect on the board regardless of position.
We have to consider Houston getting three first round picks (2022, 2023 and 2024) and future third and fourth round picks in the profession of Deshaun Watson. The quarterback didn’t want to be there, so the Texans did their best in a bad situation.
So how did they get away with it? Let’s review their class, starting with the cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. (3). He’s a great talent, but it’s a bit high on my chart. I think he can get back to his 2019 form, though. After that, the Texans traded places, picking up an additional fourth-round pick and two more fifth-round picks. They took Kenyan Green (15), my second-tier guard. It will start from day one, although it’s not the most enticing choice for fans.
Security Jalen Pitre (37), wide receiver John Metchie III (44) and linebacker Christian Harris (75) were all good value picks, and Metchie, in particular, could be a steal as a target for the quarterback Davis Mills. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Dameon Pierce (107) became Houston’s first running back in 2023.
This team still has a long way to go to compete for the AFC South title again, but there are fundamental prospects in this class.
Overall surprisingly positive feedback. But none of that matters until these nine players begin their almost certain Hall of Fame careers later this summer.