The Texans went into Friday night of the 2022 NFL Draft with three picks at 37, 68 and 80 overall. They finished the night with three picks that came at 37, 44 and 75. GM Nick Caserio wheeled and dealt all night to make sure he finished with five picks in the overall top 75 and you could say that he won the night with Crazy 8's. He drafted both number eights from Alabama and Baylor's All-American number eight.
The night started with DB Jalen Pitre from Baylor who persevered more in his career than most. It paid off with a wonderful final season that saw Baylor win the Big 12. Here's my scouting report on the versatile safety from Stafford, TX (Another Houston homeboy, too. He took the call from Nick Caserio and the Texans from about ten minutes from his future home).
"Pitre is one of the most versatile talents in all of college football and he's battled through one of the craziest college situations to get to the other side, if you will. Trying to figure out what his main position will be in the NFL a challenge for NFL squads but a good one, honestly. I was a HUGE fan of former Oregon star Jevon Holland and Pitre's number eight isn't the only thing that reminds me of Holland. The former Oregon Duck Holland played a ton of time near the box, but had the range to make plays as MOF player. Pitre has shown the same thing, especially in Dave Aranda's defense in 2021. He will make effective tackles out in space and find the football in a hurry. At the Senior Bowl, he was effective in coverage, making hits near the LOS and being the floor general/leader that he was at Baylor. There's a definite "we don't know where he's going to line up on every play" Tyrann Mathieu-like play style that makes Pitre a star. I've seen him sniff out screens. He's blitzed the edge like an OLB for sacks. He's been the backside run defender running down a zone play going the other way. He's fearless as a run defender and tackler - he's NEVER making business decisions, that's for sure. Against BYU, he blitzed off the edge against a wide zone play. The H-back caught him but Pitre never stopped his effort. When the BYU ball carrier had to slow down to cut back, Pitre made the stop from behind for a two yard gain. He's a playmaker with no flash. He makes a play and hands the ball to the ref or walks back to the huddle. With Baylor ahead of BYU by THREE touchdown with just three minutes left in the game, he sprinted after a BYU receiver who made a tremendous catch down the field as the Bears CB fell down. Pitre ran that BYU pass catcher down to keep him out of the end zone...with a 21 point lead. My gosh, a true football baller for sure."
It was that BYU game that really captured my attention. He was just brilliant. At the Senior Bowl, I was struck by his consistency regardless of the task he was asked to complete. Pitre is just a darn good football player with insane quickness, change of direction and football IQ.
Then, the Texans started making deals and moved up to #44 to select one of the most interesting players in this draft WR John Metchie III. Although he tore his ACL in December in the SEC Championship game, he said in his draft presser that he should be ready to roll by July. That's such sweet music because, like Pitre, he's a ball playin' dude. Here's my scouting report on Metchie III from the Harris 100.
"Metchie III has a truly interesting background. He was born in Taiwan and lived there for five years before moving to Canada for the majority of his young life. When he reached high school years, he moved to St. James in Baltimore suburb. He then transferred to The Peddie School in New Jersey for a prep school year before enrolling at Alabama as a true freshman in 2019. Metchie III is a physical dude who played mostly outside in his two years as a starter, but can transition inside when needed, tough and reliable anywhere in the passing game. He was overshadowed in 2021 by transfer Jameson Williams, but Metchie III does the little things that'll entice an NFL team for sure. I think of anyone in this draft class that could emulate Deebo Samuel (49ers/South Carolina), it might be a healthy Metchie III. I've struggled for two years trying to figure out what I'd do with him on my roster but when I saw him running routes from the slot against Florida in 2021, it hit me. He's not as big, strong or fast as Samuel but he's tough after the catch and showed the acumen to get loose against inside defenders as a slot WR. His recovery from the ACL tear he had in the SEC Championship game is going to be key to his overall evaluation, but we've seen so many players come back fine from that surgery. As such, I could see a team getting him touches in the backfield in a pinch. Now, having inside running IQ like Samuel is tough, shoot, even Samuel didn't know that he could do it the way he does."
Metchie III strikes me as a guy who could find a role doing everything with the ball in his hands and that's not a bad thing at all. He's a technician in his routes, plays the game the right way and will deliver in the clutch. In the 2021 Iron Bowl, Alabama's offense couldn't move the ball an inch, it seemed, other than what Metchie III was delivering in the passing game. He concluded the night with the game winning touchdown against All-American CB Roger McCreary.
Then, Nick Caserio decided he needed another eight from Alabama and drafted LB Christian Harris. Here's my scouting report on Harris from the Harris 100.
"Before truly diving into Harris' film, I thought he was a good player but not in the class with Nakobe Dean or Devin Lloyd. Then, on National Championship night, he was arguably one of the top three defensive players in the game. I've heard that some scouts really liked Harris, but I wasn't there yet but that performance certainly made me excited to study him closer. When I did, whoa, this dude can absolutely ball and I wished I hadn't said that other part out loud. On the first play of the National Championship game against Georgia, he read bootleg immediately and took off like a shot to sack Georgia QB Stetson Bennett IV for a significant loss to start the game. His anticipation and football IQ led him there, his speed got him there. That play may not have come off as being patient, but he was; he just recognized and deciphered that play that quickly. He is patient, though, in his diagnosis and doesn't just start moving one way or the other until he knows for sure. When he does, he GOES. When he doesn't, he can't get caught creeping into the LOS. He'll get pinned inside and can't provide over the top pursuit at all. He takes on blocks better than most off the linebackers in this, and many other draft classes. He does get lazy/fatigued and plays standing straight up and doesn't always react to RB/TE on pass routes well, in particular. Against Florida in 2021, the Gators ran QB power RPO out of empty. Harris was the overhang player to the trips formation into the boundary. When the pulling guard popped across the formation, all 330 lb. of him, he ran right into Harris. The Crimson Tide defender wrong-armed him to spill the run to the alley filling safety and backside run-thru LB. Now, when I say wrong-armed, I mean, Harris jacked him up, stoning him and knocking the hulking guard completely off balance. That dude just hammers people and I love it. Then, a few plays later, down on the goal line, he lined up as an edge defender, a wide 9 stand up OLB. The Gators RT stepped right to him and Harris violently snatched/yanked the big tackle right off of him. Then when the Gators RB bounced the run to the outside, Harris ran him down for a four yard loss. That was impressive as all get out."
It was a wild Friday evening, but the Texans got some football playing Jessies as Nick Caserio pointed out in presser after the night was over. Now, it's time for day three to bring this draft all the way home.
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