Texans GM Nick Caserio on Ohio State TE Cade Stover: ‘This is an elite guy’

C.J. Stroud isn’t the only member of the Houston Texans excited for the arrival of Ohio State tight end Cade Stover at NRG Stadium. 

Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans can’t wait to see the newest offensive weapon get to work. General manager Nick Caserio believes the AFC South champions are getting a difference-maker from the jump.

 “This is probably one of our favorite football players in the entire draft, regardless of position, because of his mentality, because of his mindset—and he’s still developing as a player,” Caserio said Saturday following the 2024 NFL daft. “I mean, two years ago he was playing defensive end in the Rose Bowl against Utah. Now, he’s played tight end for two years, and here he is getting picked in the bottom of the fourth round.

He’s [as] blue-collar as they come. From a make-up, traits, toughness, mentality, this is an elite guy.”

Drafted 123rd overall in the fourth round, Stover heads to Houston as the long-term tight end option opposite Dalton Schultz. That’s a positive thing since he’s still developing as a prospect and far from ready to be the go-to weapon. 

One of the top defensive prospects coming out of Lexington, Ohio, Stover switched positions during his junior season. That year, he served as the security blanket for Stroud, hauling in 36 catches for 406 yards and five touchdowns.

Ohio State coasted to a College Football Playoff berth while Stroud eclipsed another invite to the Heisman Trophy presentation. 

It’s just such an honor to play with C.J. again,” Stover said. They’ve got something really special going down there in Houston, so I’m just really, really excited to be a part of it and – a lot of emotion right now, it’s hard to put into words.”

Stover showed signs of growth without Stroud in 2023 as the Buckeyes’ No. 2 target behind first-round pick Marvin Harrison Jr. With Kyle McCord, he caught 41 passes for 576 yards and five touchdowns, earning a first-team All-Big Ten selection. He also was named a finalist for the John Mackey Award, given out to the nation’s top tight end. 

“This guy is as tough and hard-nosed a player that they had in the program,” Caserio added. “He’s only played tight end for two years, so he’s certainly not a finished product, but he has the mindset and the work ethic to improve. I mean, how he was raised, this guy is everything you want in a football player and then more.”

Caserio mentioned Stover’s versatility as an asset to the organization, though they plan to leave him at tight end. The 6-foot-4 pass-catcher might not be hauling in balls consistently until 2025 with fourth-year tight end Brevin Jordan ahead of him on the depth chart. 

 That’s fine entering rookie minicamp. Jordan, who came up clutch in Houston’s wild-card round victory over the Cleveland Browns in January, is entering the final year of his rookie contract. So is tight end/h-back Andrew Beck, another position Stover could play in the pros. 

Caserio believes Houston is getting a blue-collar, no-nonsense offensive weapon. Stover doesn’t care what you call him on the field, just so long as his number is called

I’m gonna do whatever you ask me to do at 100 percent, everything I’ve got, every single time,” Stover said. “I’m gonna be the glue in the locker room, I’m gonna be the dude people can come to when things go wrong and I’m just excited to help this team any way I can.”

Story originally appeared on Texans Wire