We had our corresponding poll of awfulness, but now, with Tim showing us the optimism that we will surely come into the season with before
the Texans ruin our dreams again the glorious 16-0 season we are about to embark on, it's time to check out the opposite side of things. The best transactions in Texans history have mostly been simple affairs. Only one trade makes the list, although there were opportunities for a few others to go up there. Notably, we might need to revisit the Joe Flacco - Duane Brown/Steve Slaton/Dominique Barber and Ben Tate deal(s) sometime down the line.
For now, lets focus on this glorious poll. It's like choosing which child is your favorite, except you have to do it.
Drafting Andre Johnson with the #3 Overall Pick in the 2003 NFL Draft.
Blind squirrel, meet acorn. Charlie Casserly didn't provide much to the City of Houston over his years of putting together 3-4 defenses with no nose tackle and offenses with no quarterback, but he did stumble upon one of the best receivers of the 2000s with the #3 overall pick. Of course, he probably would've picked Charles Rogers over Andre Johnson given the chance, but let's not drive ourselves to more drinking with that thought. Instead, let's have a laugh!
Drafting Mario Williams with the #1 Overall Pick in the 2006 NFL Draft.
Legend has it that if you say Casserly was responsible for this pick, MDC will douse your house with a gasoline fire hose and then light it on fire.
The degree of difficulty was monumental. The Texans were faced with a choice between Heisman trophy winner Reggie Bush--national media darling, and University of Texas quarterback Vince Young--Texas media darling. Instead, they went off the board with some no-name defensive end from North Carolina State, becoming a national joke and drawing the ire of most of the fanbase, every Texas sports writer, and most ESPN pundits as well.
After a stalled first year, the Texans have clearly come out of it with the better player. Bush may have a Super Bowl ring, but he's just a part-time player. Young has swagger, and Just. Wins. Games, (TM) But he also has given the state of Tennessee
what it rightfully deserves a lot of drama, a lot of questions, and thus far, not much in terms of actual passing yards. All Williams has done is notched 39.5 sacks in four years, despite a poor first year and playing most of last year with one arm, changing every national writer's opinion on the pick aside from perhaps Richard Justice. I'd say that worked out pretty well.
Drafting DeMeco Ryans with the #33 Overall Pick in the 2006 NFL Draft.
As great as those first two picks were, they were Top 3 picks. If you can't evaluate the top of the draft, you're destined to screw up. But to get a two-time Pro Bowler who is an incredible force in the community, a valued team leader, and one of the best middle linebackers in football at #33 overall? Now that's a pick. All DeMeco has done in his time with the Texans is rack up 404 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 6 forced fumbles, and 2 interceptions while being the absolute heart of the defense. He gets additional bonus points for being benevolent with MDC when he discovered his name being blatantly ripped off in the title of a certain football blog that used to exist.
Trading the #8 Overall Pick in the 2007 NFL Draft (Jamaal Anderson), the #39 Overall Pick in the 2007 NFL Draft (Justin Blalock) and the #48 Overall Pick in the 2008 NFL Draft (Fred Davis) for the #10 Overall Pick in the 2007 NFL Draft (Amobi Okoye) and Matt Schaub.
Look, you can juggle the picks anyway you want to and make this trade look bad from a talent perspective. The Texans could have picked Darrelle Revis in the 2007 first, Ryan Kalil in the 2007 second, and Ray Rice in the 2008 second. But this team needed a quarterback badly, and even though they overpaid a bit in pick value, I don't think any real Texans fan would go back in time and alter this deal. Schaub has vanquished our memories of David Carr en route to throwing for 4,700 yards last year, and in all probability, will be the quarterback when the Texans make their first playoff appearance in team history sometime in the near future.
Oh, and Okoye might be the second-best player in that trade too. That's just gravy.
Drafting Brian Cushing with the #15 Overall Pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.
Steroids, steroids, steroids. Suspension. HCG. HEB. Whatever ugly words you use to follow up Brian Cushing's first year as a Texan, you can't ignore the dramatic impact he had on the field from the moment he set foot on it. I was one of the many that wanted Clay Matthews over him, but he showed his worth and proved Rick Smith and Gary Kubiak right with his outrageous double Rookie Of The Year campaign. He showed that not only could he tackle, but he could rush the quarterback and defend all non-Dallas Clark receivers fairly well. That versatility helped catapult the Texans defense, one of the worst in football for the past five years, all the way up to the border of average and mediocre. Another first round homer for Smith and Kubiak, exempting the steroid hoopla we've had to deal with the last couple of months.
Just missed: Flacco-Brown/Slaton trade, getting an extra third rounder by stashing Drew Henson, Charlie Rogers for Jay Foreman, signing Kevin Walter in the 2006 offseason, Dunta Robinson in 2005 (he turned out bad, but was great pre-injury), Eric Winston in 2006, Owen Daniels in 2006, various versions of "Getting rid of (Player X)."