With the Houston Texans all but officially eliminated from playoff contention, the talk of the fanbase will shift to coaching changes, off-season moves, and the 2011 NFL Draft. Before we break down prospects and analyze mock drafts, we're going to re-visit Texans draft history to study where the franchise has been and grade each of the nine draft classes. Let's begin, shall we?
Here it is, in case your minds have blocked it out, the 2002 Houston Texans draft class:
1st Round - QB David Carr (Fresno State)
2nd Round - WR Jabar Gaffney (Florida), OG Chester Pitts (San Diego State)
3rd Round - OG Fred Weary (Tennessee), NT Charles Hill (Maryland)
4th Round - RB Jonathan Wells (Ohio State), Traded a pick to Atlanta for 2003 3rd Round Pick
5th Round - FB Jarrod Baxter (New Mexico), S Ramon Walker (Pittsburgh)
6th Round - CB DeMarcus Faggins (Kansas State), DT Howard Green (LSU), and supplemental pick OG Milford Brown (Florida State)
7th Round - DE Greg White (Minnesota), DT Ahmad Miller (UNLV)
Talk about a flashback, right? If you're wondering where those guys are eight years later then wonder no more:
- Carr's a third-string QB for the San Francisco 49ers (his 4th team).
- Gaffney's a contributing WR for the Denver Broncos (his 4th team).
- Pitts is a starting guard for the Seattle Seahawks after eight years starting in Houston.
- Green's a back-up for the Green Bay Packers (his 9th team) and former head coach Dom Capers.
- Stylez G. White (formerly Greg White) starts for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (his 7th NFL team, spent 2 years in the AFL) and has 24.5 sacks in 60 games for them.
- DeMarcus Faggins plays for the Omaha Blackhawks of the United Football League.
- Fred Weary, Charles Hill, Jonathan Wells, Jarrod Baxter, Ramon Walker, Milford Brown, and Ahmad Miller aren't on any professional roster as of 2010.
Half of the picks don't play football anymore while some have fought hard to stick somewhere. In a re-draft situation, I would only take Pitts again. Want proof? With current knowledge, here's how I would re-draft in 2002 only allowing myself to pick players available at Houston's picks.
1st Round - OT Bryant McKinnie
2nd Round - RB Clinton Portis and OG Chester Pitts
3rd Round - FB Lamar Gordon and SS Chris Hope
4th Round - QB David Garrard and OG Jonathan Goodwin
5th Round - LB Scott Fujita and DE Aaron Kampman
6th Round - LB Bart Scott, RB Chester Taylor and TE Jeb Putzier
7th Round - C Eric Heitmann and LB James Harrison
The pick that may be questioned most is McKinnie. In fact, I'm sure most Texans fans wouldn't take McKinnie over Julius Peppers, Dwight Freeney, or Ed Reed in a re-draft. However, McKinnie's a still-starting Pro Bowl-level left tackle who could have been a huge help for the offensive line - especially since Tony Boselli never played a snap in Houston. Also, Freeney and Peppers may not have played well at 3-4 OLB, and Reed probably would've been behind then-FS Marcus Coleman. Speaking of that early offensive line play, it's no coincidence that I drafted four linemen overall. If only Charley Casserly had the foresight to see those 76 sacks coming.
Still, the Texans found decently talented players - many of whom did play a few seasons in the NFL and two who still start. On a more established team, some of these picks could have panned out much better. I'll give a C- overall on talent, but a F in terms of how it fared for the Texans as only one of those players panned out to be a true starter or significant player for the franchise.
2002 may have been an overall bust, but 2003 would yield something a bit more substantial for Houston.