Coming into the 2010 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans were hoping to fill holes in the secondary and in the backfield.
An additional need was adding a defensive tackle along with building overall depth throughout the roster.
It's hard to argue against the notion that the Texans are a team on the rise.
As such, there are not many holes on the roster. With the luxury of an improved team, the Texans were able to draft according to the "best player available" theory and not strictly by need.
The Texans were able to improve the talent and added intriguing players in the draft. Overall, the Texans' draft grades out as a solid B.
Let's take a closer look at each of the individual players added in the draft.
On the first day of the draft, the Texans added Kareem Jackson, a cornerback from Alabama.
Jackson will challenge for a starting job from day one. Coming from a Nick Saban coached defense, Jackson should be NFL ready as a shut down corner.
He has fluid hips, great balance and top level speed.
Perhaps the Texans could have traded down a few spots, gained an additional pick and still landed Jackson. Considering other top corners such as Boise State's Kyle Wilson, Florida State's Patrick Robinson and Virginia's Chris Cook were still on the board, there is some validity to this criticism.
Still, it feels like picking nits.
Jackson was one of, if not the best, cover corner on the board and the Texans needed to add a top notch player.
This pick should is an A-minus.
In the second round, the Texans passed on Stanford bruiser Toby Gerhart and traded pick No. 51 to the Minnesota Vikings, who promptly snatched up the former Cardinal. The Texans gained a third round pick and were still able to add a big time running back to pair with Steve Slaton in Auburn's Ben Tate.
Tate possesses a good combination of speed and power. He does not have the quickness Slaton does and won't make many moves in space, but is a dependable running back who can excel in a one-cut system.
Tate can also improve as a receiver out of the backfield, but is a downhill runner and a great addition to the Texans backfield. Tate's selection grades out as a B.
In the third round, the Texans were able to address another position of need, defensive tackle. Arizona's Earl Mitchell is a great fit for the Texans one-gap system. He is not the biggest player, but his quickness and strength will help improve the Texans rush defense.
In no surprise, Mitchell plays the same position as struggling Amobe Okoye.
Perhaps Okoye can still turn into the star the team envisioned when he was drafted out of Louisville, but the Texans can't wait on his development.
Mitchell, a Galena Park native, plays the way Okoye was supposed to, quick and disruptive.
He will aid the rush defense and help the Texans defense collapse the pocket for opposing passers.
This is another A-minus for general manager Rick Smith.
Coming into the third day of the draft, the Texans had six picks and a variety of positions to buoy.
The first selection in round four was middle linebacker Darryl Sharpton. Sharpton is a good tackler and is very tough.
Although he is behind Demeco Ryans on the depth chart, Sharpton can help immediately on special teams and provide excellent depth.
This move improves the Texans special teams as it allows former backup Kevin Bentley to focus solely on special teams, where he is more suited to play.
Consider this pick a B.
The second fourth round pick turned out to be Wisconsin tight end Garrett Graham.
The last time the Texans drafted a tight end from Wisconsin, Owen Daniels came to town and turned into a Pro Bowl player.
Graham can add depth behind Daniels and James Casey, last year's pick out of Rice. Graham is also a bit of insurance in case Daniels is unable to return to form following his third major knee surgery.
Graham has great hand and body control. His route running is also highly advanced.
The tight end is a major part of coach Gary Kubiak's offense and adding depth here was a good move, even if it could be considered a bit of a luxury move.
Having opposing defenses for the middle of the field makes things easier for "All World" wide receiver Andre Johnson.
I'd grade this as a C-plus pick.
In the fifth round, the Texans added Sherrick McManis, All Big Ten player out of Northwestern.
McManis is not in the same class of athlete as Jackson, but he is an intelligent player and will provide depth for the Texans.
Considering they play Peyton Manning twice a year, the Texans can never have enough players at corner.
Additionally, it's possible the Texans move McManis to free safety.
He has a nose for the ball as evidenced by his five interceptions during his senior year in Evanston. McManis will also add depth to the special teams.
Another B grade.
In the sixth round, the Texans added an athletic and powerful guard in Colorado State product Shelley Smith.
Not only does Smith add to the Fort Collins-Houston pipeline, he has the nastiness to add to the Texans' running game.
He had over fifty pancake blocks during his senior year, although he missed parts of three games with an ankle injury.
The Texans added Wade Smith in free agency, but in the aftermath of losing both starting guards last season, additional depth is a good thing.
B-minus seems about right.
The second selection in the sixth round was intriguing.
Trindon Holliday, out of LSU, might not be very big (in fact, he's 5'6" and under 170 pounds) but he is lightning on the football field.
Holliday is one of the fastest and quickest prospects in the draft and should be a good weapon for the Texans on special teams in 2010.
Holliday may contribute a bit on offense as a slot receiver or even in the backfield, but his biggest addition will be in the return game. He is a fair comparison to Dante Hall.
A great pick, consider this an A.
Dorin Dickerson played tight end his senior year at Pitt, but he also played linebacker and wide receiver.
He will be moved to wide receiver for the Texans.
The All American is 6'3" and over 225 pounds and has good but not great speed.
Dickerson will backup Andre Johnson and learn from the master.
He was considered a mid-round pick before the draft and should count as an absolute steal in the seventh round.
Dickerson is a true project. He is at least one full year away from contributing on offense.
Yet, if he develops, this pick could go down as one of the best in team history.
I'm awfully excited about a seventh round pick who lacks a true position, but Dickerson can turn into a real mismatch in the Texans' high-powered offense.
I consider this an A-minus pick.