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2011 NFL Draft Thread: Andre Johnson And Nine Other Guys

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 drafts. Let's begin, shall we?

Here it is, in case your minds have blocked it out, the 2003 Houston Texans draft class:
1st Round - WR Andre Johnson (Miami)
2nd Round - TE Bennie Joppru (Michigan)
3rd Round - OLB Antwan Peek (Cincinnati), OT Seth Wand (NW Missouri State), QB Dave Ragone (Louisville)
4th Round - RB Domanick Williams (formerly Domanick Davis) (LSU)
5th Round - Traded pick to New England for T Greg Robinson-Randall
6th Round - QB Drew Henson (Michigan), DT Keith Wright (Missouri)
7th Round - DB Curry Burns (Louisville), C Chance Pearce (Texas A&M)

Talk about a flashback, right? If you're wondering where those guys are seven years later then wonder no more:
- I hear that Johnson guy is kind of good.
- Wand currently plays for the Florida Tuskers of the UFL (4th pro team).
- Ragone is currently the QB Coach for the UFL's Hartford Colonials.
- Joppru, Peek, Williams (the Texans' career rushing leader at 3,195 yards), Henson, Wright, Burns, and Pearce bounced around but, as of 2010, are not on any active professional roster.
- Robinson-Randall, the acquired traded player, played one season for the Texans and is also not on an active professional roster.

Unlike 2002's class, only one player is still active in the NFL. With that kind of class record, the re-draft won't be nearly as similar. 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.

1st Round - WR Andre Johnson (Miami)
2nd Round - WR Anquan Boldin (Florida State)
3rd Round - LB Lance Briggs (Arizona), OL Wade Smith (Memphis), CB Asante Samuel (Central Florida)
4th Round - RB Domanick Davis (LSU)
5th Round - Pick was traded prior to the draft.
6th Round - CB Chris Johnson (Louisville), WR Kevin Walter (Eastern Michigan)
7th Round - OG Kris Dielman (Indiana), TE Antonio Gates (Kent State)

I re-drafted two of the Texans 10 picks, so there's progress from 2002. I take Davis again because he was a talented running back and still better than any late-round back from that draft. Unlike the line-heavy 2002 re-draft, there's a lot of focus on skill positions to round out the then-anemic Texans receiving corps and provide depth for an aging secondary. Could you have imagined an offense with Johnson-Boldin-Gates? Let these drafts serve as a reminder that Charley Casserly and Dom Capers did this team no favors.

Unlike 2002, this was not a group of solid draft picks. Most of these players never made an impact in the NFL and are no longer playing. Still, the Texans found a surprise in Williams, although injuries cut his career short, and a future Hall of Famer in Andre Johnson. The 2003 class was awful overall, and Johnson's brilliance is the only thing keeping it from being a double F. Overall Talent: D-; Texans Impact: D-

As bad as that draft was, Johnson excluded, it wouldn't reach the depths of suck that Houston achieved in the 2004 NFL Draft.

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.