The Houston Texans take LSU CB Derek Stingley Jr. at No. 3 and Texas A&M OL Kenyon Green at No. 15

HOUSTON, Texas — New Texans coach Lovie Smith recently said the team’s cornerback play just wasn’t good enough last season.

“It’s a position that we will continue to improve on,” said Smith. “We can’t play the kind of football we want to play until we get better at cornerback, I’ll say that.”

On Thursday night, the team’s former defensive coordinator got a player to help change that when the Texans picked LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. with the third overall pick of the draft.

Stingley had six interceptions and 15 pass failures as a freshman in 2019 to earn All-America honors but has only played 10 games in the last two seasons due to injuries. He only played three games last season before undergoing foot surgery.

Stingley said he feels “great” now and is ready to work in Houston.

“Whenever I get there, I show them that I work hard and don’t give up until I figure something out,” he said.

General Manager Nick Caserio has raved about Stingley’s skills and believes playing in the Southeastern Conference will stand him in good stead as he moves to the NFL.

“He’s a technician,” Caserio said. “He’s really dedicated to understanding the techniques to play the position. So when you look at it all as a whole, we just felt it made the most sense for our team. And I would say that there was only organizational consensus, and that’s important. “

Stingley, who helped LSU win a national title in 2019, said he modeled his game on Hall of Fame cornerback champ Bailey.

“I’m just saying that because we have a similar body,” he said. “He’s fast, he can keep up with almost everyone. He can be strong with the bigger receivers and he’s fast enough with the dodgy guys. And I feel like I can do that too.”

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Later in the first round, Houston added versatile Texas A&M offensive linemen Kenyon Green with the 15th overall pick. He said he didn’t discuss exactly what position he’ll play in with the Texans, but Caserio said he sees him more as a guard than a tackle.

“Wherever they need me, I go out and play it,” he said.

The Texans had the 13th pick from Cleveland as part of the trade with Deshaun Watson, but sent them to Philadelphia in exchange for the 15th pick and three lower-round picks.

Caserio said the Texans had a chance to trade further down after falling to the 15th pick, but decided they didn’t want to miss out on the talent that was still on the board at 15.

Green received All-America honors in 2020 and 2021 after receiving All-America honors as a freshman in 2019. He started 2021 at both guard spots and both tackle spots. The 6-foot-4, 323-pound green was the only player in the bowl subdivision to record 80 games or more at four different offensive line positions last season and helped the Aggies average six yards per game.

Green started every game in his three seasons with the Aggies and played all five positions on the offensive line.

“He’s one of the most selfless players I’ve ever seen,” said Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher. “He has worked hard on his technique and is always trying to get better. When we lost four offensive linemen from the 2020 roster, Kenyon stepped forward in a leadership role and always had a great attitude. For him, being part of winning with his team comes way before individual achievements.”

Stingley is the first cornerback Houston has taken in the first round since picking Kevin Johnson 16th in 2015.

It’s the first time the Texans have had first-round picks since 2019. Houston didn’t have a first-rounder in the last two drafts after sending that pick to Miami in the 2019 trade, which brought left tackle Laremy Tunsil to Houston.

It’s the second time in franchise history and the first time since 2004 that they’ve had two first-round picks.

The Texans have three picks Friday night, with the first coming in the second round at No. 37. They also have the 68 and 80 picks in the third round. The Texans also received picks of 124, 162, and 166 in the Philadelphia trade.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The Houston Texans take LSU CB Derek Stingley Jr. at No. 3 and Texas A&M OL Kenyon Green at No. 15

Dais Johnston

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