Two weeks in, Lovie Smith pleased with Texans' rookie draft class


(SportsRadio 610) - With two weeks under their belts in the NFL, four of the Texans eight rookies drafted this past April have since made their debut.

Texans fifth round pick, defensive lineman, Thomas Booker, was the latest to crack the rotation.

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He debuted Sunday afternoon in Denver and played 31% of the teams snaps, recording one tackle.

The Texans are in the midst of a rebuild and the youth movement is well underway. It should come as no surprise the Texans would be relying heavily on a highly touted secondary including rookies Derek Stingley Jr. and Jalen Pitre.

Both of whom were standouts and All-Americans in college.

They’ve combined to play all but 4 snaps during the first two weeks. Stingley Jr. was forced to miss a few snaps after getting shaken up on a play against the Broncos.

Texans head coach Lovie Smith said Monday afternoon that Stingley Jr., along with Pitre and the rest of the rookie class would continue to get all the action they can handle as dictated by their growth and performance.

“He competed hard. He tackled well. He made some plays and we’re excited about that growth continuing,” Smith said. “I talked about Derek (Stingley Jr.), Jalen Pitre, same thing. Kenyon Green started (Sunday) for the first time, played well also. Thomas Booker got reps yesterday.  A lot of our younger players are getting good time and the time is warranted based on their play.”

Texans running back Dameon Pierce saw a significant bump in action from week one to week two.

Pierce played in just 29% of the snaps in the Texans week one 20-20 tie with the Colts, before rushing it 15 times for 69 yards per in Sundays 16-9 loss to the Broncos, where he saw action on 62% of the offensive snaps.

“I talked about getting Dameon more involved. We got him more involved and that’ll continue,” Smith said. “I thought he ran hard, did some good things.

Pierce, the seldom used former Florida Gator has been one of the few bright spots on the offensive side of the ball early on for the Texans.

However, Pierce was oddly absent from the Texans game plan in on their final four possessions. He carried the ball just twice from the 3:02 mark of the third quarter until the final whistle, in which the Texans were only able to run 18 plays as Davis Mills and the offense sputtered.

Despite their many offensive struggles within the first two weeks, rookie left guard Kenyon Green continues to impress.

The teams first round pick and former Aggie, Green, took 43 pass blocking snaps, allowing just one pressure.

That’s pretty impressive for any offensive lineman, nonetheless a rookie, particularly for Green who has said numerous times that he’s not been happy with his hand placement on pass blocking reps.

Smith said Green earned the opportunity to start Sunday and believe he’ll do nothing but improve each week.

“We’ve seen signs but I thought (Sunday), we gave him the reigns, start, go with it. I thought he was physical. He did some good things in pass protection. He was having fun doing it,” Smith said. “After the game, already talking about what he needs to improve upon. He’s going to help us win a lot of games. He’s one of our guys. He’s a good football player. Excited about the growth he’s going to make. He’s going to be better this week than he was this past week.”

As for the rest of the Texans draft class,  second round pick, receiver John Metchie continues treatment for Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia, and will miss the entire season. While, third round pick, linebacker Christian Harris still awaits his first NFL reps, as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury.

The Texans placed him, along with fifth round pick, tight end Teagan Quitoriano on short-term injured reserve to begin the season, both are not eligible to return until week five.

Meanwhile, sixth round selection, offensive lineman Austin Deculus was active for the first time this season against the Broncos Sunday, but did not play.

Shaun Bijani has spent the last 16 years covering the Houston sports scene for SportsRadio 610. Follow him on Twitter @ShaunBijani.

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