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USC safety Calen Bullock visits Texans

The Houston Texans are making it clear that safety remains a priority in the upcoming NFL draft as another high-profile name comes to visit NRG Stadium.

USC safety and All-Pac-12 defensive back Calen Bullock met with the Texans on Wednesday for a top-30 visit. Bullock is expected to be a mid-round pick, with most mock drafts seeing him land in Round 3.

One of the few bright spots for the Trojans’ defense under Lincoln Riley, Bullock shined in 2024. He finished 61 tackles, seven pass breakups, and two interceptions in his final year at Palo Alto before declaring for the upcoming draft.

Bullock might best be known for his ball-hawking ability in man coverage. A native of Pasadena, Calif., the 6-foot-2, 188-pound defender recorded nine interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns during his three seasons with the Trojans.

Last month at the combine, Bullock clocked in at 4.47 seconds on the 40-yard dash, good enough for a top-five finish among safeties.

The Texans have hosted three safeties this past week for top-30 visits, including Auburn’s Jaylin Simpson and Georgia’s Javon Bullard. All three defensive backs are expected to be off the board no later than the fourth round after stellar careers with their respective schools.

Houston is looking for position flexibility in the secondary heading into Year 2 of the DeMeco Ryans’ era. The nickel position is one area that remains unknown given the status of the safety room.

Jalen Pitre and Jimmie Ward were serviceable while helping Houston clinch its first AFC South title in four years, but were also inconsistent in man coverage. Pitre, who enters a crucial Year 3 with Houston, was credited with 14 missed tackles last season in coverage.

Ward missed nine games, including both playoff matchups, due to multiple injuries and was placed on the second-ending injured reserve in late December.

Bullock, who started two seasons at free safety, likely would remain on the backend if selected. As for the nickel, both Pitre and Ward have experience lining up in the slot. The Texans also re-signed starter Desmond King this offseason to a one-year deal, giving them stability entering offseason workouts.

Pitre, who won Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2021, shined at Baylor as the team’s starting STAR position.

Ward, who joined Ryans after eight seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, began his career at the nickel before transitioning to safety in 2018. In 2022, he shifted back to the slot role following the emergence of All-Pro Talanoa Hufanga.

The Texans currently own nine picks in the draft, including two picks in the second, fourth, sixth, and seventh rounds, respectively. The Texans also own pick No. 86 in the third round.

Story originally appeared on Texans Wire