Houston Texans: Xavier Crawford is a bite-sized yet speedy playmaker

Houston Texans defensive back Xavier Crawford (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Houston Texans defensive back Xavier Crawford (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The Houston Texans selected Xavier Crawford 195th in the 6th round of the NFL Draft. What are his best strengths that he brings? Let’s take a look at them.

The Houston Texans tapped into the defensive back well with their second pick of Day 3 in the NFL Draft.  And you know what?  I have no problems with it as they needed to address the dire needs with depth at the cornerback position.

Kareem Jackson isn’t walking through that door, Johnathan Joseph turns 35 this season so Aaron Colvin obviously needs some help.  Like I’ve said previously, it’ll also be interesting to see what they do with last season’s 7th-rounder in Jermaine Kelly, who is a defensive back as well.

They were able to land the talented Lonnie Johnson Jr. in the second round of the NFL Draft but Brian Gaine felt that he wasn’t enough and he decided to get this team another defensive back in Central Michigan’s Xavier Crawford.

He appears to be a bit undersized but he makes up for it with his speed and his ability to make plays.  The Houston Texans likely pulled the trigger on him because his way of exuding himself is larger than life.

The team is familiar with Crawford as he did privately work out for the team in the leading weeks before the draft.  He mentioned that “it’s not really a surprise” that he worked out with them and the marked level of interest was there.

So what’s there to be said about Crawford?  Let’s examine.


Crawford is a 5-foot-10, 187-pound DB with 29.1-inch arms and 9-inch hands while running a 4.48 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine.

According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Crawford earned a 85.0 overall grade through 777 snaps back in 2018.  He was ranked 7th among CBs in his draft class within his tackling efficiency (30.0), 8th in yards per cover snap (0.53) and 9th in cover snaps per reception (20.53).

PFF has him graded above-average in just about every category that matters including his overall grade, coverage, tackling, run defense, passer rating allowed, completions allowed and yards per cover snap.  He’s truly a first-down back but that certainly won’t be the case in his early days on learning the craft in the pros.

Crawford amassed 24 tackles — 18 solos, three missed — along with five passes defended, 11 run stops, one interception and one touchdown allowed.  QBs had a 50.6 rating when targeting him directly — 38 targets total — and receivers had a 39.5 catch percentage back in 2018.

Those numbers are impressive even though his competition was in the Mid-American Conference.  Crawford was a transfer from Oregon State, to where he was still highly-regarded early in his career while competing in the Pac-12.

Crawford was named to the All-Mid-American Conference first defensive team despite this past campaign being his first — and the only season — at Central Michigan.

What the experts are saying

SportsRadio 610’s John Harris:

Lance Zierlein of NFL.com:

The Bottom Line

Seriously — I like this pick because of the potential this guy could have to be an everyday starter.

More from House of Houston

He won’t have to right off the bat but I think that could possibly happen, despite his size.  He knows how to stay focused in the classroom as he had already graduated from Oregon State with a degree in Public Health before transferring to Central Michigan.

Gary Andersen, his former coach at Oregon State, resigned in the middle of the 2017 season after a 7-23 record.  Things were in turmoil because Andersen had recruited him but he found a home Central Michigan and he was able to take Cory Hall, Andersen’s assistant that finished out the season with him to Mount Pleasant as well for 2018.

Crawford’s story of adversity may not be as compelling as Lonnie Johnson‘s road to the NFL but the two have had an immense amount of challenges in their careers.  And for that reason, I see them excelling at their craft, although it may take some time for them to perfect it.

The Houston Texans want to see some nasty among their defensive backs up front and they want their backs to get physical because it’s expected that Romeo Crennel is going to employ a lot of press man-to-man coverage on their opposing receivers next season.  Let’s keep an eye out!

Welcome to H-Town Xavier.

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