HOUSTON — Lovie Smith made it clear that the Texans needed to improve at cornerback to “play the type of football that we want to play.”
The Texans did that on Thursday night when they drafted LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. with the No. 3 pick.
Stingley, who is 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, earned All-America honors in 2019 and 2020 but suffered a season-ending foot injury in September and played in just three games in 2021. He did not perform in any drills at the NFL scouting combine in February but did participate in LSU’s pro day workout earlier this month.
Stingley joins a Texans cornerback group that includes Steven Nelson, Desmond King II and Lonnie Johnson Jr.
Nelson, who is entering his eighth NFL season, signed with the team earlier this month. Johnson, a 2019 second-round pick, moved back to the position from safety in 2021. King moved outside last season for the first time in his NFL career.
Stingley is the fourth cornerback to be drafted with the No. 3 pick in the common draft era (since 1967), tying the highest pick used on the position in that span.
The Texans are coming off back-to-back four-win seasons. They went 4-13 in 2021 under coach David Culley, who was fired after one season and replaced by Smith, who had been Culley’s defensive coordinator.
The Texans have a history of drafting mostly defensive players in the first two rounds. Only nine of Houston’s 29 first- or second-round picks since 2004 have been on the offensive side of the ball. However, the last time the Texans had the No. 3 pick, they selected future All-Pro wide receiver Andre Johnson.