Thomas Booker says his face lit up when he received the call from the Houston Texans during Day 3 of the 2022 NFL Draft on Saturday.
Houston traded up 16 spots to draft the Stanford defensive lineman with 150th pick overall.
"This is something that I've dreamed about since I was in middle school so this has been years, if not a decade in the making," Booker said. "I'm so excited to get down to Houston, help the team out, become a contributor any way I can, and again, link up with my college QB Davis (Mills)."
Booker (6-3, 301) reunites with his former quarterback Davis Mills after playing alongside him for three seasons (2018-20) at Stanford. A three-year starter, Booker appeared in 43 career games, recording 158 tackles, 20.5 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble, three blocked PAT, six pass breakups, and one interception in his four-year career (2018-21) for the Cardinal.
Aside from playing with Mills, Booker says his pre-draft meetings with the Texans left a big impression on him.
"It's so exciting," Booker said. "This is a team with so many possibilities to go up from. I'm just excited to add to that locker room in any way I can, culture-wise, football-wise, off the field as well. So this is something I'm super excited about, specifically with the coaching staff, with Lovie (Smith), with my D-line coaches. Getting to talk to them at the Top-30 visit is one of the best things I got to do the entire offseason, so I'm excited to get working with them and grind."
Booker got into what he calls, "super, super nerdy football" in discussing with the Texans the nuances of playing on their defensive line. While he considers himself a versatile player that can play three-, four-, five- or zero-technique with a sudden change of direction or power, he ultimately believes the three-technique is where he might fit in best in Lovie Smith's defense.
"I think the Texans see me as a three-technique, disruptive three-technique," Booker said. "The defense runs through that three-technique, so I want to be able to be that guy, that premiere player that keeps the engine rolling in the Houston Texans defense. Let everything else come."
Last season, Booker started in 12 games and made a career-high 59 tackles with five tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, six quarterback hurries and one pass breakup. Booker was a two-time team captain and twice earned All-Pac-1 second-team defensive line honors (2020-21) and was a 2021 finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, known as the "Academic Heisman."
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With the 150th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, we select DL Thomas Booker from Stanford.