Texans draft former Stafford star Jalen Pitre, trade up to get Alabama receiver

HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Texans selected Baylor safety Jalen Pitre in the second round with the 37th pick in the NFL draft Friday night, further bolstering their secondary after taking LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. with the third overall pick.

The Texans also traded three lower picks to Cleveland to move up to No. 44 to pick Alabama receiver John Metchie III. They moved up again later in the draft when they drafted Alabama linebacker Christian Harris with the 75th pick after trading picks 80 and 162 to Denver.

Pitre, who played for the Bears for five seasons, earned All-America honors in 2021. He had 75 tackles, including 18 ½ for losses, 3 ½ sacks, two interceptions, three forced fumbles and seven pass breakups last year.

The versatile Pitre spent his first three seasons at linebacker before moving to safety. He finished his collegiate career with 195 tackles, including 36 for losses, eight sacks and four interceptions.

The Texans, who finished 4-13 last season, had one more pick Friday night at No. 80 in the third round after trading No. 68 to the Browns to move up to get Metchie. They also shipped picks 108 and 124 to the Browns in the deal.

Metchie had 96 receptions for 1,142 yards and eight touchdowns last season for the Crimson Tide. The junior had 55 receptions for 916 yards in 2020. He tore his left ACL during the College Football Playoff semifinal but said he will be ready to play when training camp begins in July.

Harris was a three-year starter for Alabama and had 80 tackles, including 11 1/2 for losses, 5 1/2 sacks and three forced fumbles last season. He had 220 tackles with 26 for losses in his career with the Crimson Tide.

Houston had two first-round picks Thursday night after getting one from the Browns in the trade for quarterback Deshaun Watson. They traded down from 13 and selected Texas A&M offensive lineman Kenyon Green at 15.

The Texans have picked two players from the area with their first three picks with both Green and Pitre having grown up in suburban Houston.