In anticipation of the draft, NFL.com is releasing each teams best and worst draft picks in each teams history. Unfortunately, The Texans won't come out until April 22nd. (Here's the link to the page, just in case you were curious about other teams draft history. My personal favorite was the Chargers.) http://www.nfl.com/draft/story/0ap1000000156901/article/nfl-draft-best-and-worst-picks-ever
Instead of waiting for NFL.com to release their version, I felt I would release my own version of the top 5 best and worst picks, and when NFL releases their version, I will compare it.
Now the best picks were somewhat easy to make, However, I did have to leave a couple of notable names off the list. Now when it came to picking the worst draft picks, I was stumped. There were so many bad players that we have selected. I think that's the case with every team, but my goodness, I could have put the entire 2005 draft as the worst list, and it would have been fine. I decided to make an exception with the worst picks. To qualify, the player had to be selected within the first 4 rounds. Most of the time, if you get a player after round 5, you may not have the highest of expectations. So even though there may be worse players than what I list, they get the waive. Because their bust, is not a big as a first through third round bust.
Here we go.
Top 5 Best draft picks in the history of the Houston Texans.
Chester Pitts, The Iron Man, and one of my favorite color commentators on 610. Pitts has an extremely special place in the hearts of Texan fans. From 2002 to 2009, Pitts started every game for the Texans, either at Left Guard or Left Tackle. Pitts career with the Texans was cut short, due to an injury, three games into the 2009 season. Pitts was a great pick, however, he also played on the O-Line during the years where it gave up the most sacks in the league. For that reason, I give him the honorable mention.
Demeco Ryans was selected with the first pick in the 2nd round of the 2006 draft. The 2006 draft, was an exceptional one for the Texans. Despite picking Mario Williams with the Number 1 overall, Demeco came out as the jewel of that draft. Not only did Demeco bring a Defensive Rookie of the Year award in 2006, he also brought leadership to the young team. Ryans was loved all over Houston, and during his time in Houston, he had 637 tackles total. Not too bad, considering he missed the majority of the 2010 season. Ryans was loved for his leadership, and although he didn't fit into Wade Phillips scheme, the fans still hated it that he had to leave. He was traded to Philly in 2012, and was the only bright spot on that disappointing Eagles team.
Brian Cushing was selected with the 15th pick in the 1st round of the 2009 draft, by the Texans. There had been allegations of Steroid use surrounding Cushing going into the draft, so any team who would take him, would be taking a gamble, but that gamble paid off for the Texans. Cushing won the Defensive Rookie of the Year award in 2009, and has been a stomping force on the Texans since. He has totaled, 353 Tackles, 9.5 Sacks, 7 INT's, and 6 Forced Fumbles. He had an off year in 2010, a year in which he had to miss the first four games, due to suspension. There were many questions regarding Cushing going into the 2011 season, but Cushing came out with a great year, and emerged as a leader on the Texans defense. It showed very much when Cushing went down in week 5, how much of a leader he was. The Texans missed his run stopping ability throughout the season, and the wheels fell off near the end of the season. Despite missing much of this past season, he is still one of the best picks in history for the Texans, and now all we have to do, is make sure we lock him up for years. PAY HIM RICK!!!
Oh man, looking back at the 2008 draft, it wasn't all that great.You had a couple of stop gaps in that draft, but no one who really worked out in the long run. You had Steve Slaton in the 3rd, and he had one good season, but could never get his groove back. Xaiver Adibi, and Dominique Barber had their moments, but never really worked out. However, despite the lack of production from this draft, Duane Brown continues to make that draft seem better than what it really was. With the 26th pick in the 1st round, after a trade with Baltimore, the Texans used their pick to draft Duane Brown, out of Virginia Tech. Now lets be serious here. Duane Brown had issues coming out of the gate. There is certainly a learning curve with every Offensive lineman in the NFL, but Brown got put through the grinder. His first game was against James Harrison on the Steelers. Harrison made Brown look like a fool in that game, a game which Brown held personal for years. As time went on, Brown got better. In 2010, he was suspended four games for using steroids. After that though, he became one of the best Left Tackles in the league. In 2011, Brown gave up no sacks, and never got called for holding. The Texans wanted to make sure that Brown didn't even get a hint of the free market, because they signed him to a 6 year, 53 million dollar deal. Keeping Brown on the left side of the line shows how much he has paid off as a draft pick.
Funny story about JJ Watt. After a disappointing season, with an almost historical bad pass defense, The Texans were aching for a Cornerback. Almost every mock had the Texans taking a CB in the first round. So, when it was time for the Texans to pick, and when JJ Watt was announced, Texans fans went into an uproar. On forums, the Fire Rick Smith threads began to pop up. Fans at the draft party booed, others said, who??? My dad, of all people, said that it was the worst pick in the History of the Texans. And after two seasons, I can at least say this. Don't ever listen to a prediction from a Texans fan!! (HAHA) Right off the bat, JJ Watt showed his worth as a first round pick. Out of Wisconsin, Watt was a high motor player, who continues to push, all the way to the end of the play. His rookie season, he had 56 tackles, and 5 sacks. He also made probably the greatest play in Texans History, by picking off Andy Dalton in the Wild Card round of the 2012 Playoffs.
Everyone was excited for JJ Watt in the 2012 season, and he didn't disappoint. He had 20.5 Sacks, 81 Tackles, and 16 passes defended. It was a record breaking year for Watt, earning him the Defensive Player of the Year award. JJ continues to push, and will be a force on the Texans for a long time. So much for the bust right?
I don't even know where to begin with Andre Johnson. Taken with the 3rd pick in the 2003 draft, Johnson was one of the best ever since he began his career in Houston. Although he has had injury issues for a couple of seasons, Andre has been clutch throughout his career. With 11,254 receiving yards, and 56 career touchdowns, Andre Johnson has been regarded as one of the best Wide Receivers in the NFL. Johnson has continued to impress over the years, despite everyone saying he is getting old. Although the clock is ticking, Johnson still has a ton of determination, proving his worth over the seasons. Not only does he have all of these accomplishments, he also has a knack for changing players names. Cortland Finnegan had to change his last name to Innegan, because Andre beat the F out of him.
Now. The real moment you're reading this blog. You probably had some smiles reading the last few players, thinking at how awesome they are, but now we have to get to the bad players. Here they are, the top 5 worst draft picks for the Texans.
Not So Honorable Mention.
I was very close to putting Molden on this list. I kept sitting back and thinking about it, I just couldn't justify replacing him with any of the people who are listed. Molden was a 2nd round pick, so big waste. However, I give him somewhat of a break, because he was a CB. I personally think that CB can be one of the toughest positions to break into in the league. Doesn't matter if your 1st round, or 7th, it can be tough. What makes it very frustrating, is that he did well in New England. He had 2 INTs, which is better than what he did here. He is certainly a bust, I just can't have him over the 5 guys I already listed. For that, I will give him the mention.
I cannot even begin to describe my personal frustrations with Hill. I love playing Madden. It's a fun little game to play, certainly passes the time, and the offseason, being able to play, and draft for your favorite team. As most of you know, the first year of franchise is the actual roster that is listed, upon completion of the game. When playing Madden 11, every time Hill would enter the game, I would have to audible out of a running play, because he was so slow on Madden. Couldn't get me a block, at all. now I know this is madden, so it shouldn't hold any merit to that, right? Sure. But when you look at his stats, he just could not get on the field. James Casey, who was picked 40 picks after Hill, turned out to be a much better player than Hill, which adds to his bust status. On top of that, he got Swine flu. I don't know what is worse. Getting swine flu, or only having 3 career receptions. Just a reminder. One of those three receptions, came with the Texans.
I was a bit torn with Okoye. I don't think I would have considered him a bust, had he been a 3rd or maybe even a 4th round pick. Considering that he was a first round pick, taken with the 10th overall pick, he was a colossal bust. The only bright spot from his rookie season, was having 5.5 sacks. Normally that would cause excitement, but he could never get back on track. I remember when Wade came in, and he talked about overhauling the defense. Switching to a 3-4 from a 4-3, meant there would be an odd man out. I remember thinking that Antonio Smith would be the odd man out, and my thought was driven even further when Watt was drafted. But no! That wasn't the play all along! Okoye was the odd man out, and despite the fact that he was a former first rounder, Wade apparently wanted nothing to do with him. Since then, he has been so so for the Bears.
I know what you might be thinking with Babin. He isn't a bust! He did awesome for Tennessee, which is what cause a big pay day from Philly. Sure, you could think that, but as far as the Texans go, He was a bust for the team. The Texans took him in the first round of the 2004 draft, with the 27th pick. There were high hopes for Babin coming in, but couldn't become dominate, like what they wanted. On top of that, he had attitude issues, which lead to him being traded to the Seahawks for a safety. Babin could never get over the hill, which is why he is number 3. As far as busts go, he was certainly a bust, for not only us, but was also a bust for The Eagles. Only difference was, he was a bust in Free Agency for the Eagles.
Oh man. Here we go. As I mentioned, what seems like hours ago, the 2005 draft was the worst in our history. Very fitting, because the 2005 season was also the worst in history. I have no idea how it got to that point, it just did. Travis Johnson was supposed to be the Defensive Tackle the Texans needed. He was never able to get on the field, due to injury. His stats are so irrelevant, I couldn't even find them on NFL.com. What I find very crazy, is the fact that he was able to stay with the team until 2009. The Texans were able to trade him to San Diego, for some value. A 6th rounder, to be exact, who they then used that pick to draft Trindon Holliday. Funny world, isn't it? Anyway, Johnson could not get on the field, and since he was the first round draft pick, it just shows, he was a super bust. But seriously, who could top him?
This guy was taken almost ten years ago, yet he is still referred to as one of the worst picks ever. You know you are bad, when people refer to you negatively in the sense of "you think this is bad? I still remember when we drafted Joppru". Joppru was taken with the Texans 2nd round pick, number 41 overall in the 2003 draft. I guess the Texans felt they had to compensate for drafting Johnson in the previous round. You compensate a good player for a really bad player. Remember how I said Johnson has 11k receiving yards? Guess how many Joppru has? Entire career, just guess! Z E R O. I know tight ends can be very hit and miss. You get a good one, but it is very likely to bust with another. But, with a second round pick, you should not be wasting that value on a guy who would tear his ACL if you looked at him wrong. What's really funny, is he was drafted in 2003, but didn't DEBUT until 2006. That's right. He did not step foot on a professional football field, to play an official game, until 2006. 3 years after he was drafted. I've heard of keeping players in the wings, but come on! Bennie Joppru was easily the biggest bust in our history, and it was extremely easy to select him as the number one. If I ever look back, 40 years from now, and do a revisit to this blog entry, and rank an updated worst draft picks, someone would have to really bust hard, to replace Joppru.
There you have it. I will be posting an update to this blog once NFL releases their version, and compare results. Until then, I will see you around.
Take it easy,