The 2006 NFL Draft is one of the few accomplishments that Texans fans have to brag about, and we do so somewhat regularly. While it was Charlie Casserly's last draft as G.M., it was Gary Kubiak's first as Head Coach. The success of the '06 Draft is regularly attributed to Kubiak's presence, but in truth we'll likely never know who is more responsible for the decisions made three years ago. Casserly was never given a chance to see if his selections would pan out, as he was fired two weeks after the draft because of poor decisions in free agency and drafts past.
Although it isn't rare in recent years for Texans fans to extol that particular draft class, it isn't very often that you hear it from outside our fanbase. Recently though, that has changed. As chrisjay84 noted a few days ago, Monte Burke of Forbes Magazine recently highlighted the Texans' '06 Draft Class as the best of that year. While Forbes isn't the most sports-centric publication out there, I'll appreciate good press on the Texans from anyone that's willing to give it.
Now Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe has jumped on the bandwagon. As he astutely points out in the introduction to his recent article re-examining the 2006 Draft, it takes at least three years for draftees to adjust to the NFL and therefore to determine if those players should be considered good picks or not. Out of all 32 teams, Reiss gives the Texans the only "excellent" grade. This is how he describes their efforts:
Houston*: Remember the debate over whether the Texans should select running back Reggie Bush first overall? They get extra credit for going against the grain and drafting impressive defensive end Mario Williams. Linebacker DeMeco Ryans (second round) and tight end Owen Daniels (fourth round) were also finds, offensive lineman Eric Winston (third round) is a solid starter, and receiver David Anderson (seventh round) could still develop. In Charley Casserly's final draft, they decisively took advantage of picking atop each round.
It's hard to nitpick on such kind words, but not hard enough to keep me from doing it. DeMeco recently showed that he was a steal not only becuase of his play on the field, but his leadership and commitment to the team that he recently showed by firing his agent and returning to camp. Also, Winston would probably have made a Pro Bowl already if NFL fans paid as much attention to offensive linemen as they do playmakers. Finally, I would categorize OD as more than just a "find", but I probably shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth.