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2011 NFL Draft Thread: The Case For Texans Regression

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. Just to update you in case you haven't heard: the Texans have the 11th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Let's begin, shall we?

Here it is, in case your minds have blocked it out, the 2007 Houston Texans draft class:
1st Round - DT Amobi Okoye (Louisville)
2nd Round - Traded (Matt Schaub Trade)
3rd Round - WR Jacoby Jones (Lane)
4th Round - Traded (Got additional 07 picks), CB Fred Bennett (South Carolina)
5th Round - FS Brandon Harrison (Stanford), OT Brandon Frye (Virginia Tech)
6th Round - OG Kasey Studdard (Texas)
7th Round - OLB Zac Diles (Kansas State)

Talk about a flashback, right? If you're wondering where those guys are in the very distant future of four years later, look no further:
- Okoye's endured an fluctuating Texans career under different weights and line philosophies after a good rookie season. Arguably, despite three sacks, 2010 was Okoye's best season as far as being a more consistent disruptive tackle.
- Schaub's a top-ten NFL quarterback by most people's standards.
- Jones was a dynamic and explosive receiver/returner before 2010 hit and brought him down due to overhype in the off-season.
- Bennett started off great as a rookie before disappearing into Gary Kubiak's doghouse. He was cut by Houston and San Diego before landing on Cincinnati's roster.
- Harrison, the highest drafted free safety in Texans history, was cut after one season. His last known whereabouts was in the UFL's 2009 season as a member of the California Redwoods.
- Frye was cut and no longer plays football.
- Studdard started and played horribly in 2009 after Chester Pitts and Mike Brisiel went down with injuries. He spent most of 2010 inactive on gamedays.
- Diles had played well in spots, but he regressed horribly in 2010. He's a free agent to be.

The storyline of the 2007 Texans draft class is: regression. After promising rookie play, most of these players never developed. Is there a problem with developing players? Is this why Houston cannot get over the hump? All are good questions to wonder that are personified with this draft class.

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 - ILB Patrick Willis (Ole Miss)
2nd Round - C Ryan Kalil (USC)
3rd Round - OT Jermon Bushrod (Towson)
4th Round - Trade, FS Dashon Goldson (Washington)
5th Round - TE Brent Celek (Cincinnati), WR Legedu Naanee (Boise State)
6th Round - RB Ahmad Bradshaw (Marshall)
7th Round - FB Jason Snelling (Virginia)

Before anyone says it, I drafted Matt Schaub in a previous re-draft so there was no need to trade picks. Willis is a no-brainer as he has been, arguably, the league's best defensive player since his rookie season. Aside from that, I'm mostly grabbing depth for my re-drafted team (which you can check by going through earlier posts on this StoryStream). Unlike the Texans picks, those players progressed, but that wouldn't be a given in Houston. Still, this proves that every pick can really be used to find talent.

The 2007 NFL Draft produced talent for Houston. Those guys all had starter-level talent, but it never was or has been developed. I'll give a B for talent, but an Incomplete for Texans Impact. That seems fitting, no?

Next up? The 2008 NFL Draft where Houston would try to find a franchise left tackle.

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