There seems to be a couple of separate consensus’ emerging after the 2011 NFL Draft about what the Texans did. One side liked what the Texans did, but weren’t sold on Brooks Reed, and one side LOVED what the Texans did and rewarded them with A’s. Here’s a few selected grades from around the web on what Houston did in this draft:
I love this draft for Houston as they set out to improve their defense and that is exactly what they did. What makes the draft so good is that they filled position (sic) of need without reaching for players. Watt, Reed, and Harris all could have went higher but feel into the Texans lap.
Texans general manager Rick Smith finally started to address the Texans’ woeful defense and he did so with the first five selections. The first two draftees should see plenty of time as rookies and the next two could start down the line. Yates could be veteran quarterback Matt Schaub’s eventual replacement in a few years.
One thing that became clear to me throughout Sunday was that a lot of people were higher on Yates than you might have thought on Saturday. Ron Jaworski and Greg Cosell both love him.
Rick Smith used the first five picks to fortify the defense. J.J. Watt (pictured), Brooks Reed and Brandon Harris should play significant roles as rookies, especially in passing situations when all three could be on the field at the same time. Shiloh Keo, a vicious hitter, should stand out on special teams.
Did Rick Smith use the first five picks on defense? I could use a clarification.
Even before drafting Wisconsin defensive end with the No. 11 overall pick, the Texans used the equivalent of a first-round pick in adding Wade Phillips as their defensive coordinator. His impact will be every bit as important to Houston’s improvement defensively as Watt – though the former Badger is a prototypical five-technique defensive end. I’m not as high on Arizona’s Brooks Reed as some, but he does give the Texans competition with Brian Cushing and Connor Barwin as threats off the edge. The Texans did get nice value in former ACC cornerbacks Brandon Harris (Miami) and Rashad Carmichael (Virginia Tech) later in the draft and took a quarterback in North Carolina’s T.J. Yates who demonstrated the leadership and intelligence that could someday make him a surprise starter in the NFL.
The Texans took a risk going with front seven players (J.J. Watt, Brooks Reed) with their first two picks when the secondary needed so much help, but we can’t kill either pick because this team needs defenders period. (We are worried Reed’s draft stock was inflated.) This team has not drafted defense consistently, which is why they spent their first five picks helping new coordinator Wade Phillips. It’s an uneven approach that speaks to this organization’s desperation.
I think it’s a little silly to kill the Texans for not addressing their secondary in the draft—part of the problem they had last year to begin with was they were too young back there.
Best pick: Second-round pick Brooks Reed fits in their 3-4. I think he can be a lot like Clay Matthews of the Packers.
Questionable move: Picking J.J. Watt in the first round instead of Prince Amukumara, but that’s being nitpicky, especially since they later landed two corners.
Third-day gem: QB T.J. Yates. Matt Schaub is their quarterback, but this is nice developmental pick.
Analysis: They were dreadful on defense last season, but their top four picks should help change that. The first three all could be starters as rookies. Wade Phillips had to be happy. The Texans had a good draft.
It’s pretty clear that just about everyone liked the Texans first four players—I like them too. The question will be just how much of an impact they can have at the spots they are being asked to fill. Watt and Reed in particular may not fill quite as much of a need as some other picks that were available when they were drafted.
Still, seems that the consensus is that the Texans made out pretty well here. Now lets check back in three years or so when the grades actually matter.
For more on the Texans, check out Battle Red Blog.