Houston Texans GM Nick Caserio Says Cade Stover is “Everything You Want in a Football Player,” Ohio State Tight End Ready to Contribute Any Way He Can

By Andy Anders on April 29, 2024 at 10:10 am
Cade Stover

From listening to Houston Texans brass discuss Cade Stover, it’s clear that his character traits are the biggest selling point on why the team used its fourth-round pick to select the former Buckeye.

His toughness, first and foremost.

“He probably played hurt this year,” Houston general manager Nick Caserio said. “I think he had an MCL or had an issue (in his knee) where, quite frankly, it would have limited some other players, but he just braced it up and he just kept playing football. I don’t want to speak for (head coach) DeMeco (Ryans), but I think we feel the same way, this is probably one of our favorite football players in the entire draft, regardless of position, because of his mentality, because of his mindset.”

Stover still needs seasoning in the nits and grits of his game coming out of Ohio State, but with patience, his attitude and a willingness to do whatever it takes to see the field, he’ll have a good shot to carve out a role in Houston’s organization over the next few years.

“They’re getting just a complete utility player,” Stover said of what he brings to the Texans. “I’m gonna do whatever you ask me to do at 100 percent, everything I’ve got, every single time. 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.”

Houston isn’t drafting Stover to be its go-to guy at the tight end position.

That honor already belongs to Dalton Schultz, a six-year NFL veteran who hauled in 59 receptions for 635 yards and five touchdowns as C.J. Stroud’s safety valve in 2023. Schultz spent his first five professional seasons with the Dallas Cowboys and holds 2,757 career receiving yards.

When asked what he likes about the Texans’ offense outside of his reunion with Stroud, Stover first mentioned the opportunity he has to play behind Schultz.

“Dalton Schultz is a great player,” Stover said. “I’ve watched a lot of his film growing up and even the last couple of years, I could tell you a lot of what he does, especially when he was on the Cowboys. Now just to be able to learn from a guy like that and take notes and tips, how he handles his life and everything, it’s gonna be awesome.”

That doesn’t mean Stover isn’t excited to be back with the quarterback who connected with him 36 times for 406 yards and five touchdowns in his breakout 2022 campaign, though.

“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.”

Stroud’s success in winning NFL AP Offensive Rookie of the Year, passing for more than 4,000 yards and helping turn the Texans from a three-win team to AFC South champion in one year came as no shock to Stover. 

“It was no surprise to me or anybody in that Ohio State facility,” Stover said. “We knew that dude was special. When he got the chance, got put with the right people and the right coaching staff, the dude is unbelievable.”

The Texans are taking a developmental approach with Stover, who played tight end for the first time in college. He converted from linebacker at Ohio State in 2020, switched back to the defensive position for one game in the Rose Bowl following the 2021 campaign, then stuck at tight end permanently for his final two years as a Buckeye.

Conversations with Stroud, Ryan Day and Ohio State’s coaching staff about what makes the Ohio native tick convinced Caserio and company that Stover will get where he needs to go, though.

“Whatever it is, it’s elite,” Caserio said. “This guy is as tough and hard-nosed a player that they had in the program. ... 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. How he was raised, this guy is everything you want in a football player and then more.”

For Stover’s part, he feels the experience of being tossed between two different positions for a few years will only prepare him for the trials and tribulations of professional football.

“I’ve been pulled in a million different directions,” Stover said. “Nothing’s ever gone how it’s supposed to on pen and paper in my life, in my playing career. I feel like I’m battle-tested and I feel like I’m ready to go.”

Stover will get to work taking the next step in his game when Texans OTAs start on May 20.

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