Sean Pendergast

The One Big Concern About Nick Caserio's 2022 Texans Draft Class

Nick Caserio had a nice draft, but if there's one concern it could be his reaching on some prospects.
Nick Caserio had a nice draft, but if there's one concern it could be his reaching on some prospects. Photo by Jack Gorman
The NFL Draft is an inexact science. That is not breaking news. The only predictable thing about the NFL Draft is that there will be a ton of failure in assessing the potential and futures of the various draft prospects. The overall rates of failure, by round, are fairly stable, but identifying the traits and such of precisely WHICH players are destined to fail is a crapshoot.

None of this uncertainty stops the experts from trying to accurately forecast which collegiate prospects will become the stars of tomorrow (or the role players fo tomorrow, or the practice squad players of tomorrow). There is an entire cottage industry of "draft expertise" that's been constructed around the public's thirst for educated opinion, despite even the most educated of opinions swinging and missing a huge portion of the time.

That said, even with the inherent peril in trying to predict success for these prospects, there are some interesting nuggets that can be pulled when you blend hundreds of these opinions together. There is a website called "Grinding The Mocks" that does just that, blending hundreds of mock drafts into one database that spits out an average forecasted draft slot for each NFL prospect.

The output from that website led to this very interesting four year study from Warren Sharp, captured in this tweet:
If you look at many of the names that teams reached for, i.e. drafted at a much higher draft slot than the experts saw them going (denoted in this graphic with green arrows pointing up), especially LATE in the first round, it's not gone very well. "Reaching" on guys has generally worked out far worse than taking guys that the consensus sees as having fallen in the draft.

If you're looking for one more metric to back up the perils of reaching in the draft, know this — of the 32 first round picks from the 2019 draft, 12 of them did not have their fifth year option exercised earlier this month. Of those 12, 10 of them were considered REACHES by the draft experts. (Ironically, the biggest reach of the first round was Texans' right tackle Tytus Howard (30 slots), and he had his fifth year option picked up by the team.)

So, how does this apply to the Houston Texans' 2022 rookie class? Good question, and I don't think you're going to like the answer, if you're a Texans fan. Again, using "Grinding The Mocks" as the basis, here is how the Texans' rookie class stacks up (REACHES are in BOLD):

3. DEREK STINGLEY, JR. (mocked at 7th, REACH by 4)
15. KENYON GREEN (mocked at 24th, REACH by 9)
37. JALEN PITRE (mocked at 54th, REACH by 17)
44. JOHN METCHIE III (mocked at 63rd, REACH by 19)

75. CHRISTIAN HARRIS (mocked at 58th, STEAL by 17)
107. DAMEON PIERCE (mocked at 122nd, REACH by 15)
150. THOMAS BOOKER (mocked at 149th, STEAL by 1)
170. TEAGAN QUITORIANO (mocked at N/A)
205. AUSTIN DECULUS (mocked at 293rd, REACH by 28)

Seven of the nine draft picks are considered "reaches" compared to the consensus scouting reports, some significantly so. (NOTE: TE Teagan Quitoriano was not taken in enough mock drafts to register in the database, inherently making him a reach, just without a quantifiable gap.) The only true "steal" by any significant margin was LB Christian Harris from Alabama.

Does this mean that Caserio's the draft class is set up to fail? Certainly not to any remarkable degree, but it does mean that Caserio is betting against some tangible trends, particularly when he trades up 24 spots to go get a player like Metchie, who was mocked 19 spots below where Caserio selected him.

What it will ultimately boil down to is the role Caserio envisions for each guy, and how they fit that role. I still love this rookie class, but if they collectively fail, we can look back in a few years and say that reaching is what may have bitten Caserio in this draft.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.
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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast