While the Houston Texans would finish the 2021 season with a mere 4-13 record, fans and analysts alike knew they were in the midst of a rebuild. However, despite the rebuild, the Texans did show some signs of life that gave fans something to be excited about once again.
Once inserted into the starting role, rookie quarterback Davis Mills showed flashes of being a capable quarterback. He would finish his rookie year throwing for 2,664 yards to go with 16 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. His touchdown to interception ratio might not look promising on paper, but it isn't that bad for a rookie quarterback.
Now, as they enter another year of their rebuild, the Texans do so with a trio of promising rookies from the 2022 draft. A trio that Chad Reuter of NFL.com named to his preseason All-Rookie Teams.
Running Back Dameon Pierce
Drafted: Round 4, No. 107 overall
Pierce has an excellent opportunity to earn a lot of carries for the Texans this year if veteran Marlon Mack doesn't grab the reins. Pierce’s tough running and underappreciated short-area quickness allow him to move the chains and excel in short-yardage/goal-line situations.
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While Pierce will not enter as the de facto starting running back as some rookies do, he might just be entering the best possible situation for himself. The Texans might look to him early and often, even as a rookie, especially in short-yardage situations, which will allow him to earn more carries as the season progresses.
Linebacker Christian Harris
Drafted: Round 3, No. 75 overall
I like Harris' chances of seeing significant playing time with the Texans as a rookie, as he can play all three linebacker spots in head coach Lovie Smith's 4-3 alignment. Houston signed a few veteran linebackers this offseason but Harris' ability to cover, rush the passer and attack running lanes should put him in position to win a starting job early in the year.
If your team is able to draft a defensive player from the Alabama Crimson Tide, you do so. Harris figures to be yet another defensive star in a long line of defensive playmakers that have come out of Alabama, as his versatility will see him earn plenty of playing time. As the Texans continue to retool and rebuild for the future, Harris could become a core member of their defense for years to come.
Safety Jalen Pitre
Drafted: Round 2, No. 37 overall
Pitre did a bit of everything for Baylor's defense in 2021 and Texans fans should expect to see the same from him this fall. The comparisons with Tyrann Mathieu will be hard to ignore, as Pitre seems to regularly find the ball whether blitzing, avoiding linemen to get to running backs or staying with slot receivers and tight ends in coverage.
Pitre is the perfect fit for the Texans and the Texans were the perfect landing spot for Pitre. He can earn playing time from day one on a young rebuilding team, becoming a cornerstone on defense as he matures and learns the game. The Texans might not win a lot of games this fall, but Pitre alone will make their defense must-watch television on any given Sunday.