The Houston Cougars were the most-represented AAC team at the 2023 NFL Draft with four selections. The fourth and final selection transpired toward the tail-end of the draft.
With the sixth-to-last selection of the event at pick No. 254, the New York Giants selected Houston free safety Gervarrius Owens. Owens joined college teammates Tank Dell, Clayton Tune, and Derek Parish as Cougars to hear their names at the 2023 draft. Houston saw its most draft picks it generated four selections in the 1997 NFL Draft.
Owens earned a pair of All-AAC selections at Houston, landing on First Team in 2021 and Second Team in 2022. The free safety posted 52 tackles, four tackles for loss, and a pair of interceptions in 2021 while anchoring the 19th best pass defense in the FBS. The following year, Owens set a new personal-best with 74 tackles, broke up eight passes, and forced a pair of fumbles to cap off his collegiate career.
Prior to suiting for the Cougars, Owens was a JUCO All-American. He became an instant contributor at Houston in 2019 in head coach Dana Holgorsen’s inaugural season. After serving as a four-year starter, he departed from Houston with 208 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, four interceptions, and 15 pass breakups to his name.
Owens was invited to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis where he posted the fifth best vertical jump and broad jump showings among participating safeties. After forgoing the 40-yard dash in Indianapolis, Owens registered a 4.52-second time at Houston’s Pro Day in March, demonstrating his degree of speed.
He is the third Houston defensive back selected in the last two drafts, joining 2022 selections Marcus Jones and Damarion Williams — who both saw significant playing time as rookies last fall. Owens joins a New York Giants squad fresh off its first playoff appearance since 2016, which features a safety room of Xavier McKinney and Bobby McCain.