Houston Texans Expansion Draft: A Look Back Almost a Decade Later

Joseph HealyCorrespondent IJanuary 31, 2011

18 Feb 2002: Team owner Bob McNair presents the jersey to  Tony Boselli during the Texans Expension Draft at George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas. Boselli was aquired from the Jacksonville Jaguars. DIGITAL IMAGE. Mandatory Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Before a single player put on a deep steel-blue-and-battle-red helmet with a bull on it, before a single sweat droplet fell from the forehead of a Texans player and before a single meaningful snap was taken on the field, the Texans selected 19 veteran players in the 2002 expansion draft.

Many Texans fans will simply remember the expansion draft as the start of a decade of bad luck, bad choices and bad win-loss records.

After all, some believe the Texans were cursed by their first overall pick in the expansion draft.

With that pick, they selected Tony Boselli, a left tackle from the Jacksonville Jaguars who was known for both his Pro Bowl play at left tackle and his mounting injuries, most notably to his shoulder.

The pick made sense at least on paper. The Texans knew that success generally starts with dominating the line of scrimmage. A healthy Boselli would have gone a long way towards giving the Texans that dominating line they wanted. In his seven seasons with the Jaguars, Boselli was named to five Pro Bowls and was named an All-Pro three times.

Unfortunately, he never saw the field for the Texans. The shoulder injury he was nursing never healed. The first overall pick in the expansion draft was wasted. Ever since then, the Texans have been said to be under the Boselli Curse.

The draft didn't get much better from there. Thinking they had drafted their cornerstone left tackle, the Texans took a hulking right tackle named Ryan Young who had previously been with the New York Jets. Young missed six games in that 2002 season with the Texans and when healthy, he wasn't the offensive line anchor that the Texans had hoped he would be.

After his one season in Houston, Young moved onto Dallas, where he spent one season before washing out of the league.

People tend to forget that the Texans actually did really well for themselves after that point. With their third pick, the Texans continued to pilfer from the Jets and took veteran cornerback Aaron Glenn. Glenn had three solid years in Houston and was a Pro Bowler in 2002.

With their third pick, the Texans snagged defensive lineman Gary Walker from the Jaguars. Walker was a Pro Bowler in the season before coming to Houston and along with Glenn made the Pro Bowl with Houston in 2002.

The Texans continued to build their defense with their fifth and seventh picks. Jamie Sharper of the Ravens was the fifth pick. A member of the 2000 Super Bowl-winning Baltimore Ravens, Sharper gave the defense some edge and piled up a tons of tackles in his time in Houston.

The seventh pick was cornerback/safety Marcus Coleman, as the Texans continued to take from the Jets. Coleman proved to be incredibly versatile and incredibly productive as he played both corner and safety and had 11 interceptions in his four seasons in Houston.

Sure, the Texans ended up taking their share of players who never made an impact. Charlie Rogers and Jabari Issa, anyone?

The Texans did, however, grab several key players who went on to do some good things for the franchise in its infancy. This was particularly true on the defensive side of the ball.

The Texans took four players who ended up being starters, and if you include safety Matt Stevens, no fewer than five who would be contributors on what turned out to be a surprisingly good defense in those early years.

So yes, the Texans whiffed badly on their first two picks. Those two misses likely set the Texans back, especially on the offensive side of the ball. But let's not overlook the bigger picture, which is the fact that the Texans enjoyed a pretty high success rate in their expansion draft.

History will likely tell you that the Texans expansion draft was a huge failure and that it sets the tone for the franchise. I'm here to tell you that their draft was more than just two players and should be remembered for more than some supposed curse.

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