The event was held on the Las Vegas strip in the area adjacent to Caesars Forum two years after it was initially scheduled. The 2020 draft was turned into a virtual event because of COVID-19.
Here's a pick-by-pick look at how each player Houston has selected will fit.
Round 1, No. 3 overall: Derek Stingley Jr, CB, LSU
My take: Texans coach Lovie Smith made it clear that he didn’t think his defense could play the way he wanted them to without improved play at cornerback. By drafting Stingley, the Texans have immediately improved a secondary that struggled in 2021. Houston allowed the second-most yards per game last season and were 29th in yards per pass attempt allowed, according to ESPN Stats & Info. Houston cornerbacks allowed 8.3 yards per attempt as the nearest defenders in coverage, the fourth worst, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. Smith has talked about how he and general manager Nick Caserio are on the same page and work well together, and Smith gets a cornerback who will thrive in his defensive system at the top of the draft.
Injury history: Following his outstanding freshman season in 2019, Stingley has played only 10 games in the past two seasons. The cornerback played three games last year after he needed surgery on a season-ending foot injury in September. Stingley did not perform in any drills at the NFL scouting combine in February but did participate in LSU's pro day workout earlier this month. When asked about his injury after he was selected by the Texans, Stingley said he feels “great right now.” Stingley also missed three games in 2020, one when he was hospitalized with a non-COVID illness and two with an ankle sprain.
Big upgrade in the secondary: Stingley joins a Texans cornerback group that includes Steven Nelson, Lonnie Johnson Jr. and Desmond King II. By drafting Stingley, Houston found a lockdown cornerback after allowing 8.1 yards per attempt on passes outside of the numbers last season, the third most in the NFL. Since 2019, Stingley’s 35% completion percentage allowed is second only to Cincinnati’s Ahmad Sauce Gardner among 85 defenders with 100 plays as the targeted defender, according to Sports Info Solutions.
Round 1, No. 15 overall: Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M
My take: The Texans knew they needed to upgrade their protection of quarterback Davis Mills, and they did that with their second pick of the first round. It still remains to be seen where Green will play, but if he plays inside, that allows Tytus Howard to move back to right tackle alongside left tackle Laremy Tunsil. Houston finished last in the NFL, averaging 3.4 yards per rush last season, and the offensive line ranked 27th in pass block win rate, according to ESPN Stats & Info. Houston needs to figure out how good Mills is so they can make a decision about how they handle the quarterback position next season, and adding Green, along with signing wide receiver Brandin Cooks to a contract extension, will put Mills in a better position to succeed.
Versatile lineman: Smith has talked about how much he likes versatility in his offensive linemen, and he has got it in Green. The Texas A&M offensive lineman was the only player in the FBS in 2021 with at least 75 snaps at left tackle, left guard, right guard and right tackle. Green earned All-America honors in 2020 and 2021 and played at all five positions along the offensive line during his A&M career. He also started every game in his three seasons at Texas A&M.
Hometown pick: Green expressed his excitement about playing in his hometown. Green is from Humble, Texas, which is located less than 20 miles north of Houston, and Texas A&M is about 100 miles from his new football home, NRG Stadium. This is the first time the Texans have taken an A&M player within the first four rounds of the draft.
What’s next: The Texans will have three picks (Nos. 37, 68, 80) in the second and third rounds. Last year, Houston had only one pick in the top 80 -- where they took Mills at No. 67.
Round 2, No. 37 overall: Jalen Pitre, S, Baylor
My take: Caserio is improving the Texans’ secondary, adding his second DB in Pitre. Although Pitre is listed as a safety, he actually played far more in the slot compared to a traditional deep safety in college. Last season, according to ESPN Stats & Info, Pitre played 657 snaps at slot cornerback, which was the most in the FBS. Houston moved cornerback King from the slot last season, so it remains to be seen where Pitre will play. Houston does have a need at safety after losing one of their best defensive players, Justin Reid, to the Kansas City Chiefs in free agency.
Round 2, No. 44 overall: John Metchie III, WR, Alabama
My take: The Texans took the first step in helping Mills this offseason with Cooks' extension, and now they give the second-year quarterback another weapon by trading up to draft a wide receiver. Metchie tore his ACL in the SEC championship game in December, but he said he‘ll be ready to play football without "training wheels” in July. Houston had just 79 catches by slot receivers last season, which ranked 28th in the NFL. Metchie had 96 catches for 1,142 yards and 8 touchdowns last season at Alabama.
Round 3, No. 75 overall: Christian Harris, LB, Alabama
My take: The Texans continued to add defensive talent on Day 2 of the draft, trading up five spots to draft the Alabama linebacker. Harris said he thinks his versatility will help him fit into Smith’s defense and that after talking to the head coach, he “fell in love with” Smith’s defensive scheme. In 15 games last season for Alabama, Harris had 80 tackles, 5.5 sacks and 11.5 tackles for a loss. This is the first time Houston has drafted two Alabama players in one draft, according to ESPN Stats & Info, and the last time the Texans took a linebacker from Alabama was DeMeco Ryans in 2006.
Round 4, No. 107 overall: Dameon Pierce, RB, Florida
Dameon Pierce's NFL draft profile
Check out the top highlights from Florida RB Dameon Pierce's time in college.
My take: On Day 3, Houston finally added a running back. The Texans, who averaged a league-worst 3.4 yards per rush and finished with eight rushing touchdowns (tied for worst), signed Marlon Mack this offseason but need more help at the position. Houston also had only 23 rushes that gained 10 or more yards in 2021, which was tied for the second-fewest in a season over the last 20 years. Pierce had 16 scrimmage touchdowns last year, the most by a Florida player since Percy Harvin had 17 in 2008, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
Round 5, No. 150 overall: Thomas Booker, DT, Stanford
My take: Smith has talked about how important the game is in the trenches, and Houston bolstered its defensive line by drafting Booker in the fifth round. Booker said he can play inside and outside, but that the Texans see him as an interior lineman. The Texans have now drafted a defensive lineman in every draft since entering the NFL in 2002, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
Round 5, No. 170 overall: Teagan Quitoriano, TE, Oregon State
My take: Quitoriano joins a tight end group that should be led by 2021 fifth-round pick Brevin Jordan, who had a solid end to his rookie season. Quitoriano said he thinks he is the most “well-rounded tight end in this draft,” and said he takes pride in contributing as a run-blocker. In 11 games last season, Quitoriano had 19 catches for 214 yards and three touchdowns. Houston lost tight end Jordan Akins in free agency, but brought back Pharaoh Brown and Antony Auclair this offseason.
Round 6, No. 205 overall: Austin Deculus, OT, LSU
My take: The Texans continue to add depth on the offensive line by drafting Deculus in the sixth round. Houston is expected to have its starting right and left tackle spots set after drafting Green at No. 15 overall, but Deculus could be Houston’s swing tackle. Deculus was a four-year starter at right tackle for LSU, playing in 61 games, more than any player in school history.