The Houston Texans received a lot of positive praise for their top-three draft choices this season, with good reason. Cornerback Kevin Johnson, inside linebacker Bernardrick McKinney and wide receiver Jaelen Strong were all solid picks with starter potential in the NFL.
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Perhaps the best value pick of all came later in the draft for Houston, as in round six they plucked a kid from nearby Rice University in Houston. Defensive lineman Christian Covington was picked 216th overall by Houston, and I immediately thought he would fit great with the Texans and their 3-4 defensive system.
Covington has ideal size for a space-eating defensive end in a three man front at 6’3″ and right around 290 pounds. He has also shown enough athleticism and strength to move inside and be a force when the team employs a four-man front.
As a freshman at Rice, Christian totaled 43 tackles, with eight going for a loss and five sacks. He followed that up with a sophomore campaign that saw him credited with 59 tackles, 11 for a loss and four more sacks.
Heading into 2014, Covington looked to be a player rising in the eyes of NFL scouts. Unfortunately a knee injury cost him most of his season as he finished with only 20 tackles and 2.5 sacks in seven games for the Owls.
So after the injury his Junior year, the young lineman forgoes his senior season and heads for the NFL. Then due to his injury, team after team passed on the promising young player. That is until the Texans stopped his fall and brought him in.
Now in the first week of camp Covington is not only participating (which makes it even more strange so many passed on him since he is already on the field), but getting praise for his play as well. John Harris of the Texans website describes the good day Covington had against the Redskins in the joint practice.
"But, the real winners to me during that drill though were two rookies – Christian Covington and Dan Pettinato. Covington, the former Rice University product, is going to be a steal in the sixth round, mark my words. On the first rep that I saw when I walked up, he completely ran flat right over a Washington OL to get to the QB. Over the next four or five reps, Covington won each and every rep and was, without question, the winner of the drill. He won with a variety of different techniques but when he started the drill by running over a Washington OL, it gave him some serious confidence."
Later in Harris’ observations, he returned to the work of the D-line against Washington, and once again the rookie had his name mentioned.
"During the final team drill of the day, the Texans pass rush, led by Covington, had Colt McCoy running for his life as he attempted to just throw the ball away and get away from the blue shirted Texans."
The Texans were very wise to draft a player like Christian Covington, who will surely make the team and provide some solid, strong depth at the defensive end spot. Just remember his name, and don’t be surprised to find the Rice product in the starting lineup in the near future.