Playing NCAA football just 10 minutes away from NRG Stadium, home of the Houston Texans, Christian Covington had more than enough opportunity to impress the National Football League (NFL) team.
And he obviously made the most of it. After three seasons with the Rice University Owls of the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association), the Surrey native was drafted by the Texans in the sixth round, 217th overall, of the NFL Draft Saturday afternoon.
“To have a team such as the Houston Texans, who are just right down the street, to be interested in this way, this is a dream come true for me,” Covington said during a conference call following his selection.
Covington was the lone Canadian to be drafted in the seven-round draft, and came after the Vancouver College high school graduate announced he was leaving the Rice football program a year early to declare himself eligible for selection.
“Being here locally, we were able to watch him. We think we know what he can add to our football team, so good pick for us, I think,” said Rick Smith, the Texans’ general manager and executive vice-president of football operations.
He played in 12 games as a freshman with the Owls in 2012, and in 2013 was a Conference USA all-star while recording 59 tackles and four sacks on an Owls team which won the conference championship. In the 2014 season, a knee injury sidelined him for the final seven games of the season.
Covington brushed aside expectations of a six-month recovery, proclaiming himself healthy after a three month rehabilitation program.
“I’m fully recovered,” Covington said. “I know when I get back to Houston they will be re-evaluating my knee, but I’m ready to get the ball rolling.”
“We are very comfortable from a medical perspective with the knee,” Smith said. “Obviously, we’re versed on the procedure that he went through and feel good about where his rehab is. I had an opportunity to go over and work him out, so we felt comfortable with him.”
Covington and other rookies will report Friday to Houston for a three-day mini-camp with the Texans.