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Texans Coach Lovie Smith Raves About 'Sponge' Jalen Pitre

Lovie Smith is a big fan of second-round pick Jalen Pitre

The Houston Texans selected Jalen Pitre with the No. 37 overall pick in the second round out of Baylor in the 2022 NFL Draft last month, addressing a major need in the secondary that plagued them in 2021. 

And so far through rookie minicamps and organized team activities, Pitre has impressed, catching the eye of his head coach, Lovie Smith, 

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“Jalen, he’s a sponge,” Smith said on May 24 during OTAs. “He’s picking up quickly.”

Pitre's ability to learn quickly should come as no surprise. For the Bears, he was the leader of the defense, finishing his senior season with 75 total tackles, 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, two interceptions, and seven pass deflections.

In five total seasons at Baylor, Pitre recorded 195 tackles with 140 solo hits and 8.0 sacks.

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However, he wasn't always a safety, beginning his career at linebacker before moving positions in 2020-- a telltale sign of a cerebral player. 

But despite that experience, even at multiple positions, Smith says Pitre still needs to get his reps in the Texans system.

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Jalen Pitre

“He needs reps,” Smith said. “Offseason work helps those guys so much, and that local flavor is good also.”

The good news for Pitre is he is used to earning his chance. He had to do the same thing at Baylor under Dave Aranda, and once he did, he thrived in the Bears system.

“The biggest thing that I learned was just to be patient with things and just to wait on my turn,” Pitre said on May 13 at rookie minicamp. “Coach Aranda is a very patient individual. That’s something I’ve been trying to work on.”