Top 10 Texans Draft Successes - #8: Duane Brown

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Because I love to enthrall y'all with every banal detail of what I was doing on draft day, I am very literally sitting in the exact same spot I was in during the 2008 Draft: on a bench at my favorite restaurant/bar in Austin.  What can I say?  A well-engraved butt-print on a bench is special to me.  After Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (it's so cute when they keep their maiden name) was taken with the 16th pick, I admit to feeling completely beaten down and not really caring who we took at 18.  Then, we traded down to the 26th pick with Baltimore.  I never mind trading back in the first and, HEY!, Kenny Phillips is still on the board.  And I dig DeSean Jackson's freak factor.

Alas, we then took Duane Brown.  I can't remember my exact reaction, which was pretty much me throwing something at the TV, but I was most displeased with the pick.  Here's a scouting report before the all-knowing jump, and here's the reaction on BRB.

One fact that is 100% undeniable is that Brown has improved year after year since being drafted.  And I don't mean a little.  He has gone from the worst LT in the game to one of the best, something backed up by ProFootballFocus.com.  When Brown was out of the lineup for hanging out with Brian Cushing in 2010, the drop in the quality of play from Brown to Rashad Butler was astounding.  Sure, Brown still struggles against elite speed rushers such as Dwight Freeney, but Brown is tough as nails in the running game.

If Brown can even consolidate his improvements over the past couple of years, this pick is a gigantic win.  If he continues to improve?  It's an outstanding pick.  Left tackle is tough business in the NFL, and Brown has proven the ability to improve greatly year over year so far.  To be quite frank, it's been exciting to watch Brown's evolution as a football player.


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