The Houston Texans had a need at safety, and the club took care of the void within the first three selections of the 2022 NFL draft.
Just five picks into Round 2, Houston selected former Baylor safety Jalen Pitre with the No. 37 overall pick.
Hall of Fame sportswriter John McClain had the opportunity to speak with Pitre’s college coach, Dave Aranda, and the Baylor football coach was complimentary of his former defensive back.
“Jalen’s a pot that’s been brewing a while,” Aranda said. “There’s a fire burning inside that young man that he lit long ago, and for it to stay lit, is very impressive, especially for everything he’s been through.”
At Baylor, Pitre collected 195 combined tackles, 36.0 tackles for loss, 8.0 sacks, four interceptions, two returned for touchdowns, 10 pass breakups, three fumble recoveries, and four forced fumbles. The former Stafford High School product earned Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2021.
Aranda told McClain that what allowed Pitre to excel was allowing him to be who he was as a football player.
“It was seeing what he could do, seeing his instincts, his intangibles and leadership,” said Aranda. “A lot of it was letting Jalen be Jalen, letting him be himself. A lot of it was finding all that was right with Jalen There’s a real maturity in that young man.”
As Pitre transitions to playing safety in Lovie Smith’s Tampa 2 scheme, Aranda foresees the 6-0, 197-pounder succeeding, not only on defense, but on special teams.
Said Aranda via McClain: “Day in and day out, he’s going to be a pro. They can put a lot on him. He’ll know the defense, and he’ll be able to communicate it. On special teams, he’ll be a terror. He’s going to push everybody in his room. We’re so proud of him.”
If Pitre can bring the same ferocity, leadership, and talent to Houston that he displayed in Waco, then the Texans can consider safety secure for the next four seasons.