Ed: Welcome back, readers. The NFL draft has come and gone, so we’re going to be doing something a little different on GASB for the next month or so.
Normally when you read NFL draft coverage, you’re reading straight-laced un-biased appraisals of the teams and their players. Not here. Each of our draft reviews will be coming from a fan of a given team, which will give you a chance to get an idea of what that fanbase thinks about the direction the team is headed in and how the new players will fit with that vision.
It won’t be the perspective of a journalist, it will be the perspective of you. The perspective of the fan.
First up, the Houston Texans.
1 (11): JJ Watt, DE, Wisconsin
Immediately after this pick talk radio shows around town were full of people calling, furious over the choice go to with Watt over Auburn’s Nick Fairley.
Not only are Fairley’s talents (limited body of work, stockpiling stats against garbage opponents) debatable, but he simply does not fit the most pressing needs of the Houston Texans, who desperately need pass-rushing capabilities.
In Wade Phillips’ 3-4, which will feature multiple looks including 4-3 and hybrids, versatility is vital. Unfortunately, those people calling do not understand that in this system players who can play both DE and DT are just as important as those who play OLB/DE.
Watt will play DE in the 3-4, but can also slide inside to play DT in 4-3 formations and will provide ample pressure on the quarterback as well as support against the run game, and has the strength to tie up blockers for the men behind him.
Additionally, Watt has zero character issues, never gives up on a play and his tangibles are through the roof (please do me a favor and compare them to Fairley’s). Fans of college football will recognize that though the Big 10 (12) is certainly a shell of its former self, the league is still well known for its massive lineman on both sides of the ball. Watt faced these types of players weekly as a Badger and excelled against them.
Hopefully this means that Amobi Okoye’s days are done and fans of this franchise can move on from that debacle.
2 (42): Brooks Reed, OLB/DE, Arizona
As mentioned above, Houston drafted a DE/DT in the first round and in the second round they drafted an OLB/DE. As a result of this combination, the Texans gained two players who can play four positions.
Reed is all over the field and many analysts had him listed as a first-round talent. Reed should complete the Texans’ LB corps in the 3-4 set. He will be largely responsible for pass rush in either set, however. This is likely the best “value” pick of Houston’s entire draft.
Reed is tenacious, a good tackler, and has great game speed. The announcement late last week that Mario Williams will line up as an OLB in the 3-4 makes this pick even smarter.
With Reed and Williams on the outside, Connor Barwin is freed up to provide depth at the OLB position.
3 (60): Brandon Harris, DB, Miami
It could be argued that the Houston Texans’ secondary of 2010-2011 was one of the worst in the history of the NFL.
The youthful group gave up play after big play that cost the Texans big and that need was a priority in this season’s draft. The Texans were in place to draft Prince Amukamara, but passed on him.
That was likely also a good choice.
Harris provides a similar skill set, but in the third round. He runs a 4.4 and has the capability to guard WRs in a man-to-man scheme. Fans of the college game might recall that he occasionally looked out of place and lost at The U. This cannot be blamed solely on Harris.
After all, he played during the Randy Shannon era.
4 (127): Rashard Carmichael, DB, Virginia Tech
As a Texans fan I cannot tell you how happy I was when this selection is made.
It’s not that I think Carmichael is the second coming of Charles Woodson, but it is apparent to me that Wade Phillips is in charge of this draft. That is precisely was this team needs.
The duo of Gary Kubiak and Rick Smith has been below average as talent evaluators. What’s the result of below average talent evaluation? A 6-10 record. The Texans have focused entirely on the defensive side of the ball through the first four rounds, which is exactly what they should be doing.
Carmichael was the best player in a Virginia Tech secondary that was outstanding last season. He’s physical with WRs at the line of scrimmage and is not afraid to tackle. He will likely make a living playing in nickel and dime packages.
5 (144): Shiloh Keo, DB, Idaho
For those asking “damn, does Houston need that many defensive backs?” the answer is a resounding, “YES!”
The Texans apparently love Keo’s playing style. He’s not going to cover anyone man-to-man and it is doubtful he will get significant starting time at any point in his career. But he will be a special teams player and a backup safety.
Wade Phillips is reportedly enamored with his willingness to play the run and take on blockers and believes he has a real chance to be a good NFL player. I’m willing to accept Phillips has forgotten more about football than Mel Kiper, Jr. and I have ever known.
5 (152): T.J. Yates, QB, North Carolina
I have no problem with this pick.
So long as Matt Schaub stays healthy, his job is safe, but that’s not what this pick was about. Though he’s certainly a developmental player, Yates can play and is 6’4”, 225 lbs. The fact that he was able to accomplish anything behind that North Carolina offensive line speaks to his potential.
He has outstanding accuracy, as evidenced by his performance in the Texas vs. the Nation college post-season game (which Texas won by the way). I think the Texans likely chose him in hopes that he develops and they can trade him to a QB-hungry team in a couple of seasons. If they can turn this late fifth round pick into a second round pick, I will be thrilled.
This reminds me of a couple of horror stories I need to share with this blog’s readers. These incidents occurred during the Texans’ Charley Casserly era, a truly miserable era in the franchise’s history.
First of all, in 2003, the Houston Texans drafted Dave Ragone out of Louisville in the third round. That doesn’t sound so terrible if that’s all the information you’re provided. But consider the Texans drafted David Carr No. 1 overall that year. Forget about what a disaster Carr was and just consider this: Casserly used a third overall pick on a player who, if the rest if the draft (specifically the No. 1 overall pick) worked out, would NEVER set foot on the field for the Houston Texans.
I have no issue with a team taking chances like this in the fifth round, but the third?! No wonder Carr was running for his life for so long.
But Ol’ Charley wasn’t done. NO! He had more tricks where that came from! In that same 2003 draft, Casserly picked Drew Henson in the sixth round. This had the potential to be a brilliant pick (largely because it was in the 6th round). Henson had skills that were coveted by many teams and the size (6’4” 240) to back it up, but he was playing baseball at the time.
In 2004, the Dallas Cowboys traded the Texans a third round pick for the rights to Drew Henson, who retired from baseball and joined them that season. So this sounds great, right!? The Texans essentially traded a sixth-round pick for a third-round pick! Well, Charley couldn’t leave well enough alone and he packaged a second-round pick and that third-round pick (that represented Drew Henson, essentially) and sent them to the Oakland Raiders for Phillip Buchanon in 2005.
Yes. Phillip Buchanon.
It was widely reported at that time that no other team had even considered offering Oakland a fourth-rounder for Buchanon’s services. So, apparently Charley Casserly outbid himself and the result was getting the short end of the stick on a trade with Al Davis and the Raiders. That’s how bad he was.
But I haven’t even mentioned the best part! After it was painfully obvious that the Buchanon trade was a disaster, Casserly appeared on a local radio show and, when questioned about the trade he said something to the effect of, “well, we got that third-round pick from the Drew Henson deal, so we shouldn’t have had that in the first place. We look at it as if we gave up only a second-round pick.”
I was livid.
Was Charley saying “if I find $100 on the sidewalk and spend it on a $10 novelty toothbrush it’s ok because, I simply found that money anyway!” What a jackass. I hope Smithiak (or their successors should they go 6-10 again) handles T.J. Yates a little better.
7 (214): Derek Newton, OL, Arkansas State
Obviously, in the seventh round basically every pick is a crapshoot. Newton is 6’5” and could offer depth at right tackle or the interior line. He excels in the run game, which means he might find a home in Houston assisting Arian Foster.
7 (254): Cheta Ozougwu, OLB, Rice
If “Mr. Irrelevant” never sets foot on a NFL field I don’t care.
He is the type of player the Texans should have chosen with the last pick in the draft. He does not project to ever be much of a run-stopper, but he is extremely athletic and is a project with pass-rushing capabilities. As usual, the Texans took no chances regarding character issues. The man went to Rice and by all accounts is as decent of a person as there is.
– No Legs 2011