With the Houston Texans 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 drafts. Let's begin, shall we?
Here it is, in case your minds have blocked it out, the 2008 Houston Texans draft class:
1st Round - OT Duane Brown (Virginia Tech)
2nd Round - Traded (Matt Schaub Pick)
3rd Round - CB Antwaun Molden (Eastern Kentucky); RB Steve Slaton (West Virginia)
4th Round - LB Xavier Adibi (Virginia Tech)
5th Round - DT Frank Okam (Texas)
6th Round - SS Dominique Barber (Minnesota); Traded (Chris Myers Trade)
7th Round - QB Alex Brink (Washington State)
Talk about a flashback, right? If you're wondering where those guys are in the very distant future of three years later, look no further:
- Brown has been the starting left tackle since being drafted. While initially horrible, Brown's improved steadily to the point where he really only struggles with pure speed rushers (Dwight Freeney). He's a pretty good run and screen pass blocker.
- We've discussed Schaub.
- Molden's career has been injury plagued despite having the measurements to be an ideal starting CB. This season, Molden was one of the top special teams players for Houston, but he could not crack the terrible secondary rotation. That's pretty telling.
- Slaton had an amazing rookie season, but the line and injuries derailed him in 2009. In 2010? Slaton was among the league's worst kick returners.
- Adibi's another guy who has had injury woes. The coaching staff would like for him to start, but injuries, weight issues, and inconsistant play have impeded on their desires.
- Okam was supposed to be the space-eater in Houston, but he never could get it going. He was cut and signed with Tampa Bay earlier this season.
- Barber's primarily been a reserve in Houston with spot-starts. He's a decent reserve player.
- Myers has been the starting center for Houston. Despite being "ragdolled" by New York Jets NT Kris Jenkins in 2009, Myers was, arguably, the best offensive lineman in Houston in 2010.
- Brink was a practice squader for two seasons before moving to the CFL. He currently plays for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
The storyline of the 2008 Texans draft class is: injuries. It has kept players from fulfilling their potential and wreaked havoc on those who had success. While five of the seven are Texans still, most are reserves. At the least, the trades look pretty good for Houston. Random note: There was a lot of (West) Virginia love in this draft with two Hokies, one Mountaineer, and one pick traded for a Cavalier. Nonetheless, it's time for the re-draft.
How would I re-draft the entire class now? Again, I only select from the players available at the Texans pick and try to keep in mind the schemes ran back then. I'm also considering my previous re-drafts in this as well. At the moment, I'm pretty well stocked, so I can go best player available which means I'm more in the class of a Philadelphia or New England - find talent, always be replenishing.
1st Round - CB Brandon Flowers (Virginia Tech)
2nd Round - RB Jamaal Charles (Texas)
3rd Round - TE Jermichael Finley (Texas), WR Mario Manningham (Michigan)
4th Round - CB Brandon Carr (Grand Valley State)
5th Round - OG Carl Nicks (Nebraska)
6th Round - FB/RB Peyton Hillis (Arkansas)
7th Round - LB Gary Guyton (Georgia Tech)
Before anyone says it, I drafted Matt Schaub in a previous re-draft so there was no need to trade picks. It's all about talent here. Each one of these players starts in the NFL. In the case of Flowers, Charles, Finley, Nicks, and Hillis, these talents are all improving and heading towards the discussion of "best at their position."
The 2008 NFL Draft produced depth for Houston. It could've been a lot better, but it could've been worse. Including the traded picks hich give them three current starters, I'll give a B- for talent and Texans Impact. Without the trades, it's about a C or C-.
Next up? The 2009 NFL Draft where Houston found another rookie of the year.