Houston Texans CB Derek Stingley Jr.

Houston Texans secondary most improved position in 2022?

The Houston Texans' secondary has undergone significant turnover since GM Nick Caserio took over and it continues to be the case heading into Year 2.

secondary has undergone the most change in their defense from 2021 to 2022:

Before the start of the 2021 season, the Houston Texans traded Kevin Crossen to the New York Giants, John Reid to the Seattle Seahawks, and traded their #1 CB Bradley Roby to the New Orleans Saints.

Houston started the 2021 regular season with Terrance Mitchell, Vernon Hargreaves III, Desmond King, Tremon Smith, Tavierre Thomas, and Jimmy Moreland at CB. At safety, Justin Reid, Eric Murray, Lonnie Johnson Jr., A.J. Moore, and Terrence Brooks.

Houston rolled into Week 1 vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars with Mitchell and Hargreaves III as their starting CB and Reid and Murray as their starting safeties.

Fast-forward to 2022, Thomas (CB), King (CB), Smith (CB), Murray (S), and Brooks (S) are the only returning defensive backs from the 2021 season opener. Murray will be the only returning starter from Week 1.

The Departures

- Vernon Hargreaves III was waived during the 2021 season.

-Terrance Mitchell was waived after the 2021 season, and Justin Reid signed with the Kansas City Chiefs in free agency.

- A.J. Moore signed with the Tennessee Titans.

-Jimmy Moreland was waived and claimed by the Philadelphia Eagles.

-Lonnie Johnson Jr. was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Reinforcements

This offseason, the Houston Texans have added Steven Nelson (CB), Isaac Yiadom (CB), Fabian Moreau (CB), M.J. Stewart (S), and claimed Kendall Sheffield (CB) off waivers.

Houston also drafted Derek Stingley Jr. (CB), Jalen Pitre (DB) and signed undrafted free agents Tristan McCollum (DB) and Jacobi Francis (CB).

Texans have gotten younger this year in the secondary. Yiadom (2018 former 3rd round pick) and Stewart (2018 former 2nd round pick) hit 2022 free agency after playing on their 4-year rookie-scale deal.

Also claiming Sheffield (2019 former 4th rounder) is an interesting move. Sheffield was one of the top CB recruits in the nation from the 2015 Class.

Houston has a talented group of players with upside that hasn't put it together for one reason or another. There always exists the possibility they continue the same trend of bouncing from team to team, or they could find some stability with a change of scenery.

Rasul Douglas is probably one of the more notable examples of a CB that had coveted traits that made him a 3rd round selection in the 2017 draft by the Philadelphia Eagles.

His short stint with the Texans in the 2021 preseason was pretty uneventful but he put up career numbers after the Green Bay Packers signed him off the Arizona Cardinals practice squad.

It took 6 teams in 5 years but Douglas had a career year with 5 interceptions in 2021. No one could have predicted Douglas' breakout 2021 year but that is why NFL general managers take flyers on players coming off their rookie deal.

Players like Yiadom, Sheffield, and Stewart are still blank canvases. Whether they make the 53-man roster or stick on the practice squad, they are relatively young and have room to grow as players.

Nelson and Stingley Jr. are a solid starting CB tandem in 2022, but Nelson remains a shorter-term option (turning 30 next season). Unless he impresses in 2022, Texans should continue looking for cornerbacks they can develop beyond the next couple of seasons.

Whether any of the younger CB can take a step in forward and stand out in training camp or preseason, it will be something to keep an eye on.