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2011 NFL Draft Thread: The End Of The Capers/Casserly Era

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 2005 Houston Texans draft class - the final draft class of Dom Capers and Charley Casserly:
1st Round - DT Travis Johnson (Florida State)
2nd Round - Traded Pick
3rd Round - RB Vernand Morency (Oklahoma State), Traded Pick
4th Round - WR Jerome Mathis (Hampton)
5th Round - C Drew Hodgdon (Arizona State)
6th Round - S C.C. Brown (Louisiana-Lafayette)
7th Round - LB Kenneth Pettway (Grambling)

Talk about a flashback, right? If you're wondering where those guys are five years later then wonder no more:
- Johnson was traded for an eventual fifth round pick to San Diego where he is currently a rotational defensive linemen.
- Morency eventually ended up in Green Bay but hasn't played since 2008.
- Mathis, the former Pro Bowl and All-Pro kick returner, bounced to the CFL and was an inactive member of the UFL's Hartford Colonials in 2010.
- Hodgdon was released in 2007 and never heard from again, according to Wikipedia.
- Brown is currently tormenting Detroit fans with his terrible non-coverage skills.
- Pettway plays in the CFL for the Edmonton Eskimos.
- Those traded picks were for cornerback Phillip Buchanon. He currently is a cornerback for the Washington Redskins.

Out of the six drafted players, four are still playing some form of football. With Buchanon, three of those players are contributing members of a football team. Still, Casserly and Capers' last draft didn't provide any star impact players once Mathis fractured his foot. Needless to say, I will be re-drafting all new players.

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 could use starters at FS and DE with some depth at TE, OT, the defensive line, and OLB. Let's see if the 2005 Re-Draft can't fix those issues.

1st Round - QB Aaron Rodgers (California)
2nd Round - FS Nick Collins (Bethune-Cookman)
3rd Round - OT David Stewart (Mississippi State), DE Chris Canty (Virginia)
4th Round - WR/KR Joshua Cribbs (Kent State)
5th Round - TE Bo Scaife (Texas)
6th Round - NT/DE Jay Ratliff (Auburn)
7th Round - OLB Cameron Wake (Penn State)

It was a bit painful to pass on DE Marcus Spears to shore up a starting spot in the 3-4, but Ratliff helps that later. Rodgers would really be the missing piece on the Houston offense I've re-drafted, and allows flexibility in trading David Garrard (2002 re-draft) or Matt Schaub (2004 re-draft) for more picks. After this draft, I've really built out every position with depth, and this doesn't count free agency. It really goes to show you that, if done well, Casserly and Capers could've turned out a dynasty of a roster. Whether they could develop those players or put them in good position is another story, but the talent was there for the taking.

Another weak draft class that left the cupboard barer than bare when Gary Kubiak came into the head coaching position. If you've been following these re-mocks, Andre Johnson is really the only good pick from the era since most Casserly picks don't even play football in 2010. This draft pulls Fs for overall talent and Texans impact, but it's better than 2004 because there was no mega-trade for a bust of a talent. Yeah, there's a silver lining.

Next up? The 2006 NFL Draft where Houston held the #1 overall pick.

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