Grading The Houston Texans' 2010 Draft Class: Sort Of, But Not Really

You've probably read a lot of different pieces grading the Texans' and/or other teams' draft(s). Consider this to be my contribution to the "grading process," which by its very nature is absurdly premature for players who haven't even played a snap of professional football. With that in mind, here are my quasi-rational thoughts on what transpired this weekend. Prepare to be underwhelmed after the jump.

Mike Kerns and Rivers McCown: These gentlemen were your respective guides to BRB's coverage of Days Two and Three of the 2010 NFL Draft, and they knocked the proverbial ball out of the frigging park. As much fun as the NFL Draft is, writing about it for hours on end is taxing beyond belief. Yet these guys were flawless. I can't thank them enough for what they did. If you run across 'em at a Texans game, buy 'em a beer or nine. I know I will. GRADE: A++.

The BRB Community: This was the highest traffic weekend in the history of this little corner of the internet, and it's thanks to all of you. From Thursday on, we had several thousand comments. I've said it many times before, and I'll continue to say it: BRB is as good as it is because of everyone who takes the time to comment and/or read. This is simply the latest example of that maxim. Thank you all very much. GRADE: A+.

Kareem Jackson: As DreKeem wrote in his tremendous morning-after piece, this pick is going to grow on us. While my initial reaction to the selection was one of confusion, I find myself positively giddy about K-Jack's future as a Texan. He's going to start from Day One, and I think we'll all be crowing about his game sooner rather than later. GRADE: Incomplete. Because, you know, he hasn't played yet. That's boring, huh? How about this: PURELY SPECULATIVE GRADE WHERE I TRY TO IMAGINE HOW I'LL FEEL ABOUT THIS PICK IN THREE (3) YEARS (hereinafter "PSGWITTIHIFATPITY"): A.

Ben Tate: I was one of those don't-draft-a-RB-in-the-second-round guys. I thought, and continue to think, that running back is the most fungible position in the league, and that value can be found throughout the draft, and that you burn a pick on a RB early only for the most special of talents. Nevertheless, the thought of Ben Tate in the backfield, even at the expense of a second-round pick, has become increasingly palatable to me. Steve Slaton's coming off major surgery; Arian Foster has enough question marks to make me uneasy about him being the primary guy if Slaton can't go; and Ryan Moats, for reasons I have yet to understand, is just not in Kubes' equation at the position. Tate was the guy your Houston Texans targeted, and they got him. He has a chance to be a difference-maker, and that's enough for me. PSGWITTIHIFATPITY: B+. If Kerns' dry cleaner got to grade the Ben Tate selection, I'm sure he'd give it an A+++++++. Methinks Tate's addition to the roster could well result in said dry cleaner's children being put through college on Kerns' dime.

Earl Mitchell: Like BFD, I didn't get it on Friday night, and I don't get it now. I don't believe it's feasible to line him up next to Amobi Okoye, which means (1) despite more pressing needs along the offensive line and in the secondary, we burned a third-round pick on a rotational defensive tackle or (2) Smithiak genuinely wonders whether the tenth overall pick of 2007 can get the job done. Neither of those things make me happy. I'm also not sold on Mitchell, though like everyone else, I'd love to be completely wrong. This isn't to say Mitchell might not be a fine football player; I just don't understand why the Texans thought he'd be a good fit with what they already have on the roster. PSGWITTIHIFATPITY: C- (would be much harsher if there weren't legitimate concerns about Amobi as your starting undertackle).

Amobi Okoye: Yeah, I think the decision to draft Mitchell was a shot across the bow at Amobi. He was on notice anyway in Year Four, and then the Texans went out and drafted a potential replacement (no way Mitchell can realistically be considered a complement to Amobi, right?) in the third round. To me, that's Smithiak subtly admitting that Amobi's been a big disappointment thus far. Remember when the Texans drafted Travis Johnson with their first-round pick in 2005, only to draft Amobi with their first-round pick two years later? I do, and the scent of familiarity here frightens me.

Anyone Who Dreamed About Drafting A Planetoid Nose Tackle: Our collective grade is F-. I'm now convinced there's a better chance that David Carr quarterbacks a team to a Super Bowl victory than there is that we ever draft a legitimate big nose tackle.

Darryl Sharpton: Zuh? Going LB in the fourth round? I know MDC will be posting at length about how he's a fan of this pick based primarily upon the notion that Sharpton COULD be an upgrade over Zac Diles at WLB, and that may well be true. But will the upgrade from Diles to Sharpton (assuming it exists) be greater than the upgrade you could get from Chris Myers to a new center? Or from the incumbents to a new guard? Or a new free safety? I say no. PSGWITTIHIFATPITY: C.

Garrett Graham: Owen Daniels. Joel Dreessen. James Casey. Anthony Hill. Michael Gaines. Five (5) TEs. Yes, I know OD, Dreessen, and Hill are coming off surgeries. And I know Gaines was a street free agent pickup who likely doesn't make the team. I also know that offensive line and the secondary are exponentially thinner and in greater need of fortification. So what does Smithiak do with their second fourth-round pick? They draft a tight end. That's six (6!) TEs. There must be some sort of price break when a team accumulates a certain amount of tight ends. Maybe something like buy nine and the tenth one is free? As with Earl Mitchell, Garrett Graham could be a fine professional football player; I just don't know why the Texans, with their roster currently comprised as it is, took him. PSGWITTIHIFATPITY: F- (if the Texans sign Owen Daniels to a long-term extension); C- (if the Texans do not sign OD to a long-term extension).

Owen Daniels: Reading the tea leaves, the Graham selection, to me, says that the Texans are preparing to play exceptionally hard ball with OD on that new contract.

James Casey: If the Texans felt as good as they could about Casey, Garrett Graham is not a Houston Texan.

Anthony Hill: Semi-bold prediction for you, folks...Anthony Hill does not make the 53-man roster.

Sherrick McManis: The name alone is an A+. The fact that he could be a potential fit at free safety makes me happy, though the scouting reports indicate that durability and speed could be concerns. Can't be too bummed by this pick, though...it addresses an actual area of need, regardless of whether McManis is depth at corner or FS. PSGWITTIHIFATPITY: B.

Shelley Smith: Finally, an offensive lineman. Would've liked to have seen the Texans address this area much earlier. Smith seems to be the kind of athletic guard who could succeed in the zone system. Another semi-bold prediction for you...Shelley Smith is starting at guard for your Houston Texans come Week One of the 2011 season. PSGWITTIHIFATPITY: A.

Chris Myers: Nary a center drafted or signed so far. The coaching staff must love him. Will he justify this support in 2010 when he lines up against Albert Haynesworth, Jay Ratliff, Kris Jenkins, and Haloti Ngata, just to name a few?

Hold me. I'm scared.

Trindon Holliday: Love. This. Pick. Furthermore, the only person I can fathom who doesn't dig the addition is Andre Davis, because it likely effectively ends his career with the Texans. Holliday is your new return man, and Apostrophe doesn't contribute enough in the receiving game to warrant the $2,550,000.00 he's scheduled to earn in 2010, salary cap or not. Not only is Holliday going to be fun to watch on special teams; I think there's a chance Kubes devises a package or two where Holliday could make an impact on the offense as well. A sixth-rounder who could have an immediate effect on the 2010 season? I'm legitimately excited about this. PSGWITTIHIFATPITY: A.

Jacoby Jones: The arrival of Holliday could well mean that Jakespeare shifts into full-time wide receiver mode. I'm a fan of that, if only because my blood pressure won't spike with every punt return and simultaneous fear of Jacoby coughing the ball up. Jacoby showed real signs of developing into a legitimate threat at WR last year; now he should have the chance to continue his progress without the distraction of special teams.

Dorin Dickerson: Thankfully, Kubes has already gone on record that Dickerson won't be playing TE; he'll be lining up wide. Everyone seems to agree that this is a great value pick for the seventh round, and I'm on board. Dickerson lined up all over the field in college, and he could develop into a solid possession receiver down the line. Hard to imagine him being any sort of factor in 2010, but there's potential he contributes in the future, and that's all you can ask for out of your seventh-rounder. PSGWITTIHIFATPITY: A.

Smithiak: Upon final, premature, amateur review, I really liked what they did in Rounds One, Two, Five, Six, and Seven. Rounds Three and Four completely flummox me and will continue to do so until further notice. As we've said ad nauseam, Smithiak's track record is such that they deserve the benefit of the doubt, and time will tell how they did. 2013 will be when we know whether 2010 was another 2006 or not. Until then, all we can have is hope and/or dread. On balance, I'm cautiously hopeful about the 2010 Houston draft class; the only things giving me real pause are the questions surrounding the Sharpton, Graham, and Mitchell picks. You?

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