• Brian L. Barefield

H-Town Representers: Texans Take Homegrown Talent To Help Bolster Needs In The 2022 NFL Draft

Photo Credit-Houston Texans

No one represents the city of Houston more than rappers Slim Thug, Paul Wall, and Z-Ro. That was evident in 2011 when the three teamed up on Slim Thug’s mixtape to make the song “Houston,” which later became the anthem for the hometown football team Houston Texans.

If you walk through the tailgate lots before a game, you will hear the song played multiple times, and if the team wins, you will hear it blaring from multiple vehicles leaving the parking lot.

Those familiar with the Houston underground rap scene will be familiar with the lyrics, but if you are not, all you have to do is wait for the hook when Slim Thug bellows out the melodic words that everyone knows and sings in unison.

“I’m from Houston, Texas, home of the Texans!”

That song is probably etched into the minds of rookie players Kenyon Green (Humble), Jalen Pitre (Stafford), and Austin Deculus (Cypress), who all heard their names called by the Houston Texans in the 2022 NFL Draft. And although Texans general manager Nick Caserio has only been in Houston for two years, he learned quickly that the city produces some incredible talent.

“There’s a lot of good football players in the state of Texas and specifically in the city of Houston,” said Caserio. “It’s probably a good place to start.”

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Caserio got off to a great start in the first round by selecting offensive lineman Kenyon Green out of Texas A & A&M. The former Atascocita high school standout was graded highly by NFL scouts and draft analysis. He started all three years at A&M and was a two-time Consensus All-American going up against some of the nation’s best talents.

“My blood, sweat, and tears have been here 21 years almost,” said Green when asked what it meant to never have to leave the state of Texas to play football. “I mean, it’s really nothing else to say. I’m here. I’m ready to go, so, you know, whatever that takes, whatever we need to do to do that, I’m willing and ready.”

The Texans struck oil again in the second round when they selected Baylor University safety Jalen Pitre. The Stafford native, who played football at the same high school (Stafford) as former NFL quarterback Andrew Luck (Colts), will replace former safety Justin Reid who signed a free-agent deal with the Kansas City Chiefs this past offseason.

Photo Credit-Houston Texans

“I’m blessed; it’s great to be able to stay at home with the hometown team,” Pitre said during his introductory press conference with the local media. “It is a blessing for sure. I was a little sad that I didn’t get picked early (First Round), but God had a better plan for me. He is keeping me home. I have a great coach in head coach Lovie Smith, and I plan to learn a lot from him.

Pitre is a player that fits right into a Lovie Smith-led defense due to his versatility of playing deep, in the box, or line up over slot receivers. What stood out the most for Texans when they evaluated Pitre was his instincts which allowed him to jump most routes, and his willingness to tackle. He recorded 18.5 tackles for loss to go along with 3.5 sacks in 2021.

Houston ended the last day of the draft on Saturday, the same way they concluded on Thursday by drafting a player who grew up about 40 minutes away from NRG Stadium. Offensive lineman Austin Deculus played at Cy-Fair High School before becoming an anchor for the LSU Tigers for four years.

“I’m beyond blessed, just to be able to a part of the Houston Texans,” said Deculus. “I grew up not too far from the stadium. I went to a couple of the games growing up. I am just blessed to play for a team that is right in my backyard.”

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Deculus’s strength is his active hands and long arms that measured 34 inches. He can contain most pass rushers by extending those arms before the defender has an opportunity to make his move. One area that he will need to improve on if he wants to get playing time his rookie year is quicker feet which caused him to lose some battles in the 60 games he played at LSU.

One advantage that all three young men had being from Houston during the draft is that they were aware of the numerous area codes used throughout the city. So, it was no surprise when an unknown number from Houston was calling them.

“When I got the 832-area code, I already knew it was the Texans,” said Kenyon Green.

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