Duke Ejiofor never thought that his hometown Houston Texans would be the team to select him in the 2018 NFL Draft.
"I mean, honestly, I didn't meet with them or talk with them at the combine or anything," Ejiofor said via phone. "I didn't think they had any interest in me at first. To see them call me is the greatest blessing in the world."
Ejiofor, a 2013 graduate of Alief Taylor, is a self-professed fan of the Texans who grew up watching the likes of J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus. Now, the 6-3, 265 outside linebacker will get the chance to play alongside them. Ejiofor will also join his former Wake Forest teammate, Kevin Johnson.
Ejiofor finished his career at Wake Forest with 23.5 sacks, third-best in school history. Following his 2017 performance, he was invited to the Reese's Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine, but could not participate due to a shoulder injury suffered during his final season.
"As it relates to the injury issues, what I would say is any player that we considered, there was a thorough analysis with our team docs and our medical staff as it relates to assessing durability and the medical portion of it," general manager Brian Gaine said. "As it relates to Ejiofor from Wake Forest, we like the idea that the guy can rush the passer and we like the idea that he's done it from the edge and has done it from the inside and has been productive in that role. But we're confident and optimistic that he'll be ready to go when we put the pads back on."
The Texans selected Ejiofor with the third pick in the sixth round (177th overall) of the NFL Draft. He will wear No. 53 for Houston, the same number he wore in high school.
The Houston Texans roster in photos. (Updated 3/2/2021)