2010 NFL Draft Recap: Houston Texans Are Not Trying To Please the Crowd
The fans want to believe that the Texans made the right moves on draft day, and the front office has never really given them a reason not to believe in them (under GM Rick Smith).
Recently, the Texans have built up a pretty strong resume when it comes to selecting players in the first couple of rounds of the draft.
The Houston Texans have managed to come out of the draft with two Rookie of the Year winners and four Pro Bowlers in the past four seasons. They have also added quality players like Jacoby Jones, Amobi Okoye, Glover Quin, and Steve Slaton in the process.
However, for some reason this draft just feels a little different.
We all remember the grief the front office took in the 2006 draft when they passed on the likes of hometown hero, Vince Young, and Heisman Trophy Winner, Reggie Bush, in order to take some defensive end out of North Carolina State named Mario Williams.
The Mario Williams pick sure did not look good in 2006 when Reggie Bush posted nine touchdowns on his way to the NFC championship game, while Mario Williams posted a whopping 4.5 sacks.
It didn't help that Mario Williams' teammate, DeMeco Ryans, who was drafted in the second round, earned the Defensive Rookie of the Year award. Fans were screaming for people to be fired and calling Mario Williams the biggest bust in NFL history.
However, four years later the history books would read a little differently. Today Mario Williams is one of the best defensive ends in the league and his adversaries have been competing for starting roles. If you go back and evaluate the draft today, the Texans came out of it as huge winners.
Not only did they make the correct but highly unpopular decision in drafting Mario Williams, but they also got two other Pro Bowlers in that draft.
The 2006 NFL draft may not have pleased the Texans fans in 2006, but it is being applauded and marveled in 2010.
The Texans front office has never really been into pleasing the crowd. They could have drafted popular players to make fans happy and picked up big name free agents but they have chosen to take the other route.
They have passed up hometown heroes and big name stars in order to take the players they feel will make them a better team.
There is a big difference between Jerry Jones and Bob McNair. One is flashy, a big spender, and all about selling tickets (although I think Jerry also wants to win a Super Bowl, but still selling tickets is a main priority). The other is boring, conservative, and all about making smart moves to bring in players that will fit in with his football team.
I can’t tell you how many fans I know that complain every time the Texans pass on a really talented player with character issues. They get so mad and say that the Texans are pathetic and will never be a great franchise.
They might be right and you could argue that Jerry's style is the better way to go because he has the rings to prove it. However, I’ll give McNair a little more time to prove himself. You have to remember that he has only been in the league less than a decade.
McNair will never be a popular owner and he probably doesn't care either way, but he will do all he can to make the Texans a better team.
He always makes the unpopular decision like retaining head coach Gary Kubiak when everyone was calling for his head, and not signing aging running backs like LaDainian Tomlinson.
You have to admit that McNair has learned a lot from his past failures and he seems to have a better supporting cast on board these days. I’m not saying that he is the best owner because the Texans haven’t done anything yet, but I think the guy catches too much grief.
Well, McNair can get ready to hear it from the fans with the 2010 NFL draft.
This draft was marked with big name players that the Texans passed on in order to grab their guys.
In the first round, the Texans had a chance to grab stand out cover corner, Kyle Wilson, and they chose to grab the little-known cornerback Kareem Jackson.
To be honest going into the 2009 college football season, I didn't know who either of those guys were. When I started doing research on the draft, I was able to find a lot of videos of Kyle Wilson and I was able to read a lot of analysis on how "experts" thought he was the best cover corner in the draft.
On the other hand, when I was doing my research on Kareem Jackson, the only time I could find a highlight of him was when I was looking at line backer Rolando McClain.
That is probably one of the main reasons Texans fans were so shocked when the Texans passed on Kyle Wilson and took Kareem Jackson from Alabama.
Fans had probably heard more about Kyle Wilson, were able to see his performance in the senior bowl, and thought that the Texans would take him if they had the chance.
Although some scouts had Kareem Jackson rated above Kyle Wilson, there were still scouts that were calling Kareem a late-first or early-second round pick.
Whenever your team takes a guy at the 20th pick who "could have gone in the second round according to experts," then you feel a little uncomfortable about the situation.
Most people who back the Texans taking Kareem Jackson over Kyle Wilson are those that are relying on the Texans being smarter than them, and knowing something they didn't about the two players.
I happen to be on that bandwagon and I hope that the wheels don't fall off.
The Texans first round pick would not be the end of the Texans passing on big name players in order to take their guy.
The only other bigger names than Toby Gerharts' in this year’s draft were the quarterback foursome (Clausen, Tebow, McCoy, and Bradford) and Ndamukong Suh. Maybe Toby was not that big of a name to everyone else, but to Houston fans, he was the Reggie Bush of this draft for us.
The guy was one of the best college football running backs in the draft and he would have added everything the Texans needed to correct their running game woes.
In the second round, the Texans traded their pick to the Minnesota Vikings in order move back in the draft and grab an extra third rounder. Minnesota took highly-coveted Toby Gerhart with the Texans pick and the crowd was less than pleased.
The Texans ended up trading back up in the second round in order to grab Ben Tate from Auburn.
Now don't get me wrong, if Kyle Wilson and Toby Gerhart would have been off the board by the time we picked, then the Texans fans would have loved this draft. Well at least the first two rounds. We can save the talk of the bizarre day three until another time.
My point is that this draft is not going to be remembered by the players we drafted but by the players that we passed on.
Ben Tate will always be compared to Toby Gerhart and Kareem Jackson will always be compared to Kyle Wilson and Devin McCourty.
At the end of the day, I don't think the Houston Texans' front office cares what the fans think. They have never drafted players that could have pleased the crowd and sold a couple extra tickets. They have never gone after and overpaid for a big name free agent and I don’t think they plan on changing their philosophy any time soon.
Houston Texans fans may feel weird for the time being, but they will be hoping that the draft successes of the past will somehow translate to this year’s draft.
Obviously we won’t be able to grade this draft until a couple of years but the Texans are prepared to face scrutiny and stick by their guns.
If the Texans don't come out of this draft with the players they had envisioned, I think the 2010 NFL draft will be remembered not for the players they took but the players they didn't take.
They may not have pleased the crowd yesterday, but I sure hope they please the crowd in the long run.
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