Texans’ Calen Bullock Aiming To ‘Leave Everything Out On The Field’

HOUSTON — When Calen Bullock first visited NRG Stadium, he had a sense that the Houston Texans would be the team that would select him during the 2024 NFL Draft. The coaching staff welcomed him with open arms and displayed their love. For the first time, Bullock went on a Top-30 visit where the team did not focus on his on-field flaws.Mar 1, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Southern California defensive back Calen Bullock (DB48) works

During Day 2 of the draft, the Texans sent a trade package to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for the No. 78 overall pick used to select Bullock.

“It just felt great,” Bullock said during his post-draft media availability on April 26. “I’m coming to give my all to this organization — no matter what. I am going to leave everything out on the field. I am going to give this organization my best on and off the field.”

Bullock described himself as a versatile defensive back who can play anywhere in the secondary. General manager Nick Caserio and coach DeMeco Ryans became fond of the former USC prospect due to his range, but more importantly, his defensive ball skills.

Ryans expressed a desire to improve the Texans’ ability to create more takeaways at the end of last season. In 2023, they produced 14 turnovers. However, cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. and Steven Nelson accounted for nine.

Bullock recorded nine interceptions during his three-year tenure as USC’s starting safety. He entered the draft as one of the best defensive ballhawks, adding 15 pass deflections across 38 games.

The draft election of Bullock led to one of several moments in which Caserio and Ryans embraced each other following the selection.

“The draft is just such an exciting process,” Caserio said. “This is a player that we had earmarked. We had talked about him at [No.] 59 if we had the opportunity to pick him. I think we maneuvered; we had to move up a few spots.

“These are players that if we have an opportunity to add them to the team, let’s figure out a way to do it — let’s be responsible, not egregious with it. In Bullock’s case, that was the situation.”

Bullock’s favorite takeaway occurred during the third game of his collegiate career. In September 2021, he helped the Trojans win 45-14 over Washington State. He recorded his first career interception while adding four tackles at Martin Stadium.

Immediately after the game, Bullock called his family to celebrate the moment. But his first collegiate pick was a testament to a decision he made while attending a football camp in high school.

Bullock registered as a receiver to attend the camp. However, due to the long lines, he felt switching to defensive back would give him an opportunity to get more reps to help with his development.

The foundation he established during the camp has given him an advantage on the defensive side of the ball. During his final season at USC, Bullock registered a coverage grade of 82.2 — per Pro Football Focus.

“I played receiver; that was my first love,” Bullock said. “It’s almost like a cheat code. I know they have a certain number of yards [to run], and it helps me on the defensive side. It also helped me a lot with my ball skills…I’ve always been a guy who likes to get interceptions.”

Bullock played the majority of his snaps at USC as a strong safety. He will likely begin his pro career playing behind Jalen Pitre and Jimmie Ward. However, if injuries and subpar play hinder Houston’s safety unit for the second straight season, Bullock could challenge one of the players for their respective starting roles.

Bullock said the phone call he received from the Texans was emotional. Not only was it the team he wanted to play for, but the selection became more magnificent when learning that the Texans traded for his services.

He celebrated the moment with tears and hugs alongside his mother. Now, Bullock’s top objective is to prove to the Texans that their belief in him was authentic while helping the franchise reap the benefit of the assets given up to acquire his talents.

“When I went to the facility, I had a chance to meet some of the guys on defense,” Bullock said. “They told me that it was a ‘real family’ in Houston. I am going to hop on this train and get rolling with this defense. We are going to go out there and make plays.”

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