NFL Draft: The Houston Texans' 10 Biggest Draft Busts
In their near ten year history as a franchise, the Houston Texans have been largely a non-factor both in the playoff race and in the collective conscious of the American sports fan.
That didn't happen by accident. It can happen a number of ways, but the most common reason a team finds themselves in this position is draft ineptitude. The Texans are certainly guilty as charged. They have been drafting better as a team lately, but that has come after years and years of whiffs on draft day.
With the NFL Draft getting closer and closer by the day, let's take a painful look back at the biggest draft busts in Texans franchise history.
10. Dave Ragone- QB Louisville- 3rd Round 2003
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It's tough to be too hard on Ragone. He was drafted to challenge to be the backup quarterback, after all. There was certainly no expectation that Ragone was going to be part of the future of the quarterback position in Houston.
All that being said, it's not like he was competing with Tom Brady and Peyton Manning for playing time. He sat behind David Carr and career journeyman Tony Banks.
Due to injuries to both Carr and Banks, Ragone started two games during the 2003 season. In those two starts, he completed 20 of his 40 passes for 135 yards with an interception. He never took another snap in a regular season game for the Texans, or any other franchise for that matter.
Admittedly, some of the disappointment surrounding Ragone should be chalked up to the Texans franchise. On a team that had so many holes, you don't need to spend a third round pick on a quarterback that is more than likely just going to be your third stringer.
After his short stint with the Texans, Ragone had training camp stays with both the Bengals and Rams. Even in a league that gives quarterbacks second, third and fourth chances to blossom, Ragone never caught on with another NFL franchise.
9. Seth Wand- LT Northwest Missouri State- 3rd Round 2003
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The Texans gave up a league-leading 76 sacks during the 2002 season. It was blatantly obvious that no quarterback or running back was going to survive, much less flourish, playing behind such a porous offensive line.
In an effort to shore up the line, the Texans used a third round pick in 2003 on Seth Wand, a massive left tackle out of Northwest Missouri State. As it turned out, massive was about all that Wand was. He struggled with more mobile defensive ends and sometimes seemed almost too tall when he went up against ends and linebackers that had low centers of gravity.
The moral of the story is that Wand did little to improve the play of the offensive line. He started all sixteen games for the Texans in 2004, but never started another game in the NFL. After the Texans parted ways with Wand prior to the 2006 season, Wand spent single seasons with the Titans and Raiders.
8. Vernand Morency- RB Oklahoma State- 3rd Round 2005
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Morency was drafted in 2005 with the idea that he would split carries with incumbent running back Domanick Davis and take over the running back spot if Davis' nagging injuries persisted.
Davis' injuries did in fact continue, but Morency never stepped into the starting role. In two seasons, Morency rushed for 197 yards, averaging 3.9 yards per rush.
Morency actually had some decent success as a kick returner. He averaged 21.9 yards per kick return and returned 20 total kicks.
During the 2006 season, Morency was traded to the Packers. He spent parts of two seasons there before washing out of the league.
7. Antwan Peek- DE/OLB Cincinnati- 3rd Round 2003
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The Texans drafted Antwan Peek with the idea that they would use him in a variety of ways to maximize his talents. At the time, they were still predominantly using a 3-4 defense under coordinator Vic Fangio. In that system, they wanted to use Peek as a pass rush defensive end and outside linebacker.
In his four seasons in Houston, Peek did have his moments. On some Texans teams horribly devoid of any athletes that could get to the quarterback, Peek gave the Texans an explosive athlete. His peak, pardon the pun, was the 2005 season when he totaled six sacks. It was his other seasons that were the problems.
He had one sack as a rookie in 2003. He followed that up with two in 2004. In the season after his six-sack performance, he completely disappeared and finished the season was just a single sack.
Peek had better results then just about anyone on this list. The disappointment came from the fact that he could only channel his talent in small clips and he never seemed to give a consistent effort. He had a ton of potential, but never came close to realizing it.
6. Amobi Okoye- DT Louisville- 1st Round 2007
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To some, the jury might still be out on Okoye. As far as I'm concerned, though, we can go ahead and call this one. Okoye has failed to live up to the hype that surrounded him coming out of Louisville in 2007.
A wunderkind who was only 19 when he left Louisville after his junior year, Okoye was thought of as a high-ceiling player who was still growing into his body and was still maturing as a player.
Four full seasons later, the Texans and their fans are still waiting for Okoye to take a big step in the right direction. Okoye put his best foot forward as a rookie and totaled 5.5 sacks. If Okoye produced that well in his rookie season at the age of 20, where was his ceiling? A dozen sacks? Fifteen sacks? The sky, it seemed, was the limit.
Unfortunately for the Texans and Okoye, that has by far been the highlight for him. The Texans have moved Okoye around on the line, played him next to different guys and set up blitz packages to help him. His production, though, has plateaued. His sack total over the last three seasons has equaled his total from his rookie season.
Okoye finds himself possibly on his last legs as a Texan. He is still under contract with the Texans, but when his contract is up, you'd have to imagine that the Texans can find the type of production he is giving them for much cheaper than Okoye's first round draft pick money.
5. Bennie Joppru- TE Michigan- 2nd Round 2003
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Careers don't get much more disappointing than Bennie Joppru's. How disappointing was it? He didn't appear in an NFL game until 2006, a full three years after he was drafted.
Even then, he only appeared in 19 total games over two seasons. He didn't have a single reception.
Again, some of the disappointment comes from maybe expecting too much. Joppru was a second round pick, but while in college at Michigan, he only had one season of more than twelve catches. His breakout year was his final year at Michigan, but that "breakout" was 53 catches for 579 yards and five touchdowns. There's no doubt that that's a solid season, especially at a school that historically has a very conservative offense.
The question, though, is whether or not that was a season worthy of an early second round pick.
4. Charles Spencer- G Pittsburgh- 3rd Round 2006
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Spencer's bust label is not a product of a lack of talent, a lack of work ethic, or even the environment he was thrown in. It was simply bad luck.
The Texans took Spencer in the third round of the 2006 draft with the hopes that he would help to shore up the offensive line that was still a huge problem.
That plan never got off the ground as Spencer was sidelined with a leg injury two games into his rookie year. After being released by the Texans in 2008, Spencer had short stints with the Panthers and Jaguars, but never played in a regular season game.
3. Jason Babin- DE/OLB Western Michigan- 1st Round 2004
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Before Mario Williams, Jason Babin was drafted to be the game-changing pass rusher for the Texans. The good news is that Babin spent the 2010 season being that type of pass rusher. The bad news is that it was for the rival Tennessee Titans.
Babin played well in spurts, but never put together a complete season. He was shuffled into the starting lineup, out of the starting lineup, moved to one side of the line and then back to the other.
Houston wasn't the only stop where Babin struggled with consistency. After leaving the Texans, Babin spent two seasons bouncing around from Kansas City to Seattle to Philadelphia. He finally landed in Tennessee where he flourished last season, ending in a Pro Bowl appearance.
In a sense, this pick wasn't really a bust because Babin has turned into a solid player. However, the fact that things are working out for him in another city makes this pick a huge bust for the franchise.
2. Travis Johnson- DT Florida State- 1st Round
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Travis Johnson qualifies as a bust both on and off the field. Off the field, Johnson often appeared to be a malcontent. While on the field, he often looked uninterested.
His apparent lack of interest showed. Over his four seasons in a Texans uniform, Johnson totaled two sacks and 80 tackles. That's 20 tackles per season. I realize that defensive tackle isn't exactly a position where one can pile up gaudy statistics, but that's lousy production no matter how you cut it.
His struggles weren't for a lack of playing time or patience on the part of the Texans. Johnson started 38 of the 54 games he played in Houston.
Johnson has played the last two seasons in San Diego with the Chargers, where his output has been equally low.
1. David Carr- QB Fresno State- 1st Round 2002
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David Carr will likely go down in the all time draft bust hall of fame. His plaque will hang right alongside those of Tim Couch, Ryan Leaf, Akili Smith and Joey Harrington.
Because of his draft status and the large contract that came with it, Carr was given plenty of chances to be a franchise quarterback. It just never worked out.
Over his five seasons as the Texans starter, Carr compiled a record of 22-53. He averaged just over 176 passing yards per game. His quarterback rating was 75.5. He only had one season where he threw for more than 3,000 yards. He had 59 touchdowns and 65 interceptions.
He did lead the league in completion percentage in 2006, but that was largely because Gary Kubiak had reeled in the offense to where Carr rarely threw a pass longer than five yards.
Some say that Carr was shell shocked after he took 76 sacks in 2002. On three different occasions, Carr led the league in sacks taken. Real or imagined, it can't be denied that Carr never looked comfortable after his rookie year.
After parting ways with the Texans after the 2006 season, Carr spent a year with the Panthers, two years with the Giants and last season with the 49ers.