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Rounding the Houston Texans Corners

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By: Mike Bullock

Photo by Kirby Lee/Getty Images

Who starts opposite Derek Stingley Jr.?

Despite early struggles in his pro career, Houston Texans cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. stepped up and showed out in 2023 under new head coach Demeco Ryans.

The former LSU Tigers star scored an 81.8 overall PFF grade in 2023, with a 84.9 in pass defense. His run defense was a meager 59.5, but he wasn’t drafted to stop Derrick Henry.

Sting ended last season with 34 solo tackles, 5 assists, 11 stops, 6 missed tackles and 5 interceptions. He allowed 17.2 yards per reception and an opposing passer rating of 71.6. Now, that’s hardly Primetime Dion Sanders level work, but for the recent Houston Texans, Sting is a rockstar.

Where things get murky becomes obvious once we look past him on the depth chart.

CB2 – Jeff Okudah. Kenneth did a good job detailing the question marks around Okudah the other day, and the TL;DR version is “he’s likely not the Chosen One.”

CB3/4 – C.J. Henderson is next on the list, and like Okudah, he might not be many people’s first choice in the “If you had one corner to shut down the last play of the Super Bowl to secure a victory”. Compared to Henderson, Sting is the 2nd coming of Charles Woodson. Per PFF, Henderson rated a 45.4 overall grade in 2023, with a 43.9 coverage score. He did land a 79.2 pass rush rating, but he’s likely not stealing any pressure opportunities from Danielle Hunter and Will Anderson Jr.

CB4/3 – Mike Ford. Along with Henderson, Ford may very well be a “see who steps up and who hits the street after training camp” signing. With a 56.8 overall PFF grade, and a 64.2 coverage score, Ford is also not likely striking fear into the hearts of opposing passers.

While there is a sizable group of cornerbacks in the NFL draft projected to hear their names called in the 2nd round, Nick Caserio and the Texans have bigger fish to fry with the offensive line. Currently holding the 42nd and 52nd overall picks, Houston could potentially grab an o-lineman and a corner.

Or Caserio could pull off another trade where a solid veteran joins the Texans and their draft picks shuffle once again.

Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard has made some H-Town-Centric noise lately, but that’s no guarantee he’ll suit up in battle red this year.

The mock drafts are in full swing, with some having Houston double down on O-Line, some corners and, of course, the silly splash picks of wide receiver.

In the end, odds are Caserio is going to further address the o-line and the secondary before the Hall of Fame game, one way or several others.

In the meantime, the additions of the aforementioned Hunter and fellow d-lineman Denico Autry will make the corners’ jobs easier. Will that be enough to elevate Stingley and crew to lock down status? Probably not.

But, time will tell.

Originally posted on Battle Red Blog – All Posts