HOUSTON — During a break in Friday’s NFL training camp action, Rockets head coach Stephen Silas had a chance to talk to Texans head coach Lovie Smith on the sidelines. Smith had invited Silas to attend practice with the opportunity to finally meet, face to face.
While on the sideline, Silas took some mental notes on how Smith was relating to his younger players, as well as making sure they were where they needed to be in order to succeed in the play being called. One player Silas paid special attention to was rookie cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., and specifically how he interacted with Smith.
A former LSU standout, Stingley was picked at No. 3 overall in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft. His athleticism and natural ability stood out at LSU, and he was named to the AP All-American first team as a freshman. Going into his rookie year, he has a lot of expectations to become a football cornerstone for the rebuilding Texans.
The main reason Silas watched the interactions between Smith and Stingley is because, in less than two months, he will find himself in a similar situation with rookie forward Jabari Smith Jr. of the Rockets.
Houston Rockets HC Stephen Silas was asked about his impression of Texans rookie CB Derek Stingley Jr. who was selected third overall in the 2022 NFL Draft. Houston will showcase their third pick in the 2022 NBA Draft this season in F Jabari Smith Jr. #WeAreTexans #LightTheFuse pic.twitter.com/Qzujn6MxMD
— #SARGE (@BigSargeSportz) August 7, 2022
Houston used its No. 3 pick in the 2022 NBA draft to select Smith, who played one season at Auburn before declaring. Like Stingley, Smith also received several awards for his stellar play in college and was named an All-American (second team) at the end of the season.
Silas knows that both players and organizations have big tasks ahead of them, trying to restore faith among fans who have not been happy about the results from both teams over the last two seasons. He elaborated on what he could observe about Stingley at training camp.
“Right now, he is trying to learn, and guys are pointing him in the right direction,” Silas said of Stingley. “For him, it is the learning curve. Making sure you are in the right spot and helping the next man play well is probably what he is going through right now. He is impressive watching him. He is super quick and fast. The learning curve is going to be interesting to see.”