The first round felt like a merry go round that sped up into a thrilling amusement ride and then careened off the edge like Thelma and Louise. It was pure insanity with nine trades but there weren't a ton of surprises with the 32 players that were selected. Ironically, it was the somewhat strange Patriots selection of Cole Strange that exemplified the wild first round but I'm the first to admit it wasn't a shock at all. That guy is a football guy's football guy. He's going to play for a decade or more with that team and be a multi-year Pro Bowler. I absolutely loved him as a prospect and getting a chance to see him at the Senior Bowl solidified how I felt about him. As such, I totally understood that pick but it was still symbolic of a wild crazy round.
The Texans selected Derek Stingley Jr. at number three and I can't begin to tell you how excited I am about saying that out loud two and a half years after the fact. As I watched him as a true freshman in 2019, the Texans were in the process of struggling MIGHTILY at cornerback. On our Texans Live Draft Show on Thursday night, Marc Vandermeer remembered me telling him that he could step in and play for us that Sunday after playing Alabama on Saturday. He was that impressive as an 18-year old. The last two years were difficult on many levels but a guy doesn't forget how to play but it's not imperative for Stingley to be healthy, mentally and physically, and be ready to roll on Sunday. Here's my Harris 100 Scouting Report on Stingley.
"Heading into the 2021 season, I firmly believed that Stingley Jr. was the, no doubt, best defensive prospect in the nation and close to being the best overall prospect in the nation. When I watched Jalen Ramsey (FSU/Jags/Rams), I saw a polished and NFL experienced Derek Stingley Jr and vice versa. That said, I thought Stingley had better cornerback potential coming out of college but his length, speed, recovery speed, smooth cover...man, you name it, and he's got those skills. He made Bruce Feldman's Freaks list at No. 9. Why? At the Opening heading into his senior season in HS, he clocked a 4.30 40-yard dash, a 42-inch vertical and a 4.28 short shuttle. Apparently, he's FASTER and he's definitely leaner, shaving 11 pounds to get down to 194. There were rumors about him playing offense in 2021 but he was shelved with a lower leg injury that took away our shot to see him play college football at a high level in 2021. I don't know if the injury will have a major impact on his physical future, but the fact that he played little in 2020 and was hurt early in 2021 will be discussed a ton in draft rooms. The fact that his best film and really, the only legitimately true film that he has is in his true freshman season is a concern. I thought about watching NC State OT Ikem Ekwonu two years ago and where he is now. He's LIGHT years ahead of where he was. Stingley isn't. But, he was a wunderkind as a freshman; perhaps, he can pick up right where he left off as an NFL professional and be THAT guy. The concerns are valid. The assets/elite traits are too. All of that leaves me in a quandary. In the end, I trust what I saw as a true freshman and I trust those elite traits as well, so he'll remain a top seven player in my opinion."
I wrote that back in December 2021 and I wouldn't change a word. I love this guy on the field but the concerns from the last two years will follow him until he shows up and balls out. That said, he's made to play in any scheme. He doesn't have tremendous length but that's not as concerning because of his feet and his match and mirror skills. Hands before feet. That's him.
Then, as expected, the Texans traded out of the number 13 spot, picking up three day three draft assets in the process to move down to number 15. It was at that spot that the Texans selected a Houston homeboy and former Atascocita HS star. Out at Miller Outdoor Theater, we were on a serious delay so I get a text from our social team superstar Aynav Leibowitz asking for the draft pick quote I always provide for each pick. I responded that I had sent it way earlier thinking that she meant the one for Stingley. Then, she said no she needed one for the new pick at 15…
I wish I had video of the look on my face. Pumped and excited wouldn't even come close to doing it justice. From the first time that I saw Green at A&M, I knew he would be a first rounder. Here's my report on Green from the Harris 100.
"An absolute dude for the Texas Aggie offense. I could watch Green play all day and I've seen nearly every rep that he's had for the Aggies in his first two years. He's not on par with Quenton Nelson, but, honestly, who is? That said, he's in that type of class, even at the guard position. He's done things I didn't think upperclassmen can do. I saw him as a freshman scoop the backside of zone runs, zoning off a zero technique like it was child's play. He's strong AND quick. He can pull on power. He can slide laterally on zone plays, climbing to the second level when necessary. He mashes at the points of attack, possesses nimble feet and plays with a ferocity that would benefit all offensive linemen. In 2021, he was asked to play nearly every single position on the field and there were times when he looked like he was a fit to play tackle. But, there were times where he struggled (see Arkansas and #55 Tre Williams). When he transitioned back inside, he looked that much more comfortable and at ease knocking 300-lb men off the ball without much effort."
In the 2021 season, he moved around to tackle a little bit, as I noted above, but when he moved back inside with the big boys, he looked immensely more comfortable and at home. He plays with the quickness, violence, agility and desire that we all will come to love and respect as fans of this team. I had a bunch of people come up to me at the Draft Party to ask me whether that was early for Green. The Chargers helped make my case that it was almost too late. In my final mock draft, I had the Chargers at number 17 selecting Green and, on Thursday night, two picks after the Texans did select Green, the Chargers selected a GUARD - Zion Johnson. So, had the Texans gotten cute and taken a different player with thoughts of moving back up into the back end of the first round to get Green, the Chargers would've ended that plan taking Green at 17 like I noted in my mock draft. So, the old adage in the Draft - "if he's your guy, draft him"? THIS is Exhibit A
Let's crank this diesel up and do it again on night two. Let's GO!
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