New Texans secondary can be competitive in first season together

Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports /

There is change for the Texans in the secondary for 2022

The secondary of the Houston Texans will most likely have two rookies and a couple veterans at cornerback and safety to start the 2022 NFL season. That’s okay, because change is good, and it was needed for Houston in ’22.

Two of the players who are no longer with the Texans’ secondary — Justin Reid and Lonnie Johnson Jr. — were good players in their own right, but it was time for them and the Texans to have new starts in ’22, and that’s what happened this offseason with Reid and Johnson both landing with the Chiefs.

Now with the current depth chart of the Houston secondary, here is what the starting four could be when Week 1 arrives as they Texans face the Colts on Sunday, Sept. 11, but a lot can — and probably will — happen between now and when Week 1 takes place at NRG Stadium:

SS: Eric Murray (7th NFL season)

FS: Jalen Pitre (rookie season)

RCB: Derek Stingley Jr. (rookie season)

LCB:  Steven Nelson (8th NFL season)

Others on the current secondary depth chart who will be needed in ’22 include: Fabian Moreau (CB), Desmond King II (CB), M.J. Stewart (SS), Grayland Arnold (SS), Terrance Brooks (FS), Jonathan Owens (FS), Isaac Yiadom (CB), Tavierre Thomas (CB), Kendall Sheffield (CB), Tremon Smith (CB), Jacobi Francis (DB) and Tristin McCollum (DB).

Looking at the potential starters in the secondary for the Texans, when they have two corners and two safeties on the field, there will be two rookies and two players with a vast amount of experience playing next to them, which isn’t such a bad idea, right?

Texans: Mix of rookies and veterans in possible starting lineup could work out

That has to be in the plans of Smith and the defensive coaching staff if those four were to be the starters in Week 1, because having the experience playing alongside the two rookies would be an excellent mix of leadership, excitement, and poise to make things difficult for the opposing offense.

That possible lineup also would give the Texans two players who have very high potential in rookies Stingley Jr. and Pitre at their respective cornerback and safety positions, but also on the field are two solid veterans like Murray and Nelson who could be considered extra coaches on the field and coach up the two rookies along the way.

Nelson is coming off a ’21 season where in 16 games he forced seven fumbles, had one interception, and collected 34 solo tackles. Murray in his time with the Texans in ’21 finished with stats that included: one interception, four passes defensed, and 48 solo tackles.

Also the additions of players like Moreau, Yiadom and re-signing King were solid decisions by general manager Nick Caserio.

Moreau in ’21 while a member of the Falcons had 11 passes defensed, one fumble recovery, 44 solo tackles, and even three tackles for loss as a cornerback.

Yiadom last season with the Packers played in 10 games and made one start. In ’20 with the Giants he had five passes defensed, and in three seasons in New York, Yiadom totaled 12 passes defensed. This could become a situation like Kamu Grugier-Hill had last season at linebacker where his first year in Houston was a career-best season to-date.

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There is just a feeling of positivity when looking at the potential of the secondary for the Texans in ’22. Maybe it won’t be the greatest secondary in the NFL, but it can be a competitive unit, and in this part of the rebuild by Caserio, competitive play is needed for the ’22 season.