Draft grades are inherently stupid. You cannot grade players based on on-field production or team fit since we won't see them strap on the pads until July. You should not grade them based on how mock drafters rated them since mock drafters are always working on incomplete information; they do not get to interview prospects nor do they get the medical evaluations. It's a very inexact science.
That said, Battle Red Blog knows a thing or two about the unbearable powerfulness of rankings, which means we are experts on inexact sciences. I figure we can apply a similar tactic here to more accurately grade the 2013 NFL Draft class of your Houston Texans.
1st Round - Clemson wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins
Grade - Hot BBQ and a cold Shiner Bock on a summer's day.
Like hot BBQ and a cold Shiner Bock on a summer's day, the Hopkins pick by Houston is perfect. The biggest position of need for the Texans was a wide receiver, especially with Kevin Walter being cut and DeVier Posey being placed on the PUP List. Meanwhile, Hopkins was a BRB dream since February and was rated favorably by many people, often drawing comparison's to Atlanta's Roddy White. It's a perfect pick.
2nd Round - South Carolina safety D.J. Swearinger
Grade - Your friend bringing over your favorite 12-pack on a Saturday afternoon.
You didn't expect your friend to bring over your favorite 12-pack, you certainly could have lived without it, but you're very excited once you see your buddy with that beer. That's how I felt when general manager Rick Smith finally spent a premium pick on a safety and brought another Gamecock defensive back to Houston. Swearinger's a spark plug, a playmaker, and is the future of Houston's back-end.
3rd Round - North Carolina offensive tackle Brennan Williams
Grade - Finding a parking meter with just enough time left on the meter.
We've all been there. You just need maybe 15 to 20 minutes on a meter, and you reluctantly find two quarters. You go to put them in, but some generous soul overpaid previously and left you just enough time on the meter to do what you need to do...if you don't mess around and run. It's an unexpected potential treat, as is Williams.
We didn't quite know if Smith would grab some insurance for the coming-off-knee-surgery Derek Newton. Williams might be a little more raw than some like, and he might be a little more finesse than you would want to put out at ight tackle, but he was mocked to zone-blocking teams by many and could finally make good on his athletic potential with the proper coaching. It could be real nice boon, but it's going to take some work.
3rd Round - LSU defensive end/outside linebacker Sam Montgomery
Grade - A wrapped Christmas present.
On Christmas, especially when you hit those early teenage years where you have learned about playing the Christmas game, you never know what's in the box. It could be a video game or socks. It could be tickets to a sporting event or collared shirts. You don't know. That's how I feel about Montgomery.
There's the rumors about his odd personality, work ethic, and laziness, but then you see the 13 tackles for a loss and eight sacks in 2012. Montgomery has the potential to be a disruptive force on defense, though now he's also switching positions. You don't know how the LSU Tiger is going to fit in the locker room or defense; he could be a new iPad or he could be a scarf. We just don't know.
4th Round - UConn outside linebacker Trevardo Williams
Grade - Getting a complimentary dessert from the restaurant you're dining at.
You went out to eat at a restaurant and are having a good time. Dinner's good, the bartender knows what he's doing, and suddenly the waitress brings over a piece of chocolate cake on the house. It's a good day, right? Williams was the free dessert to begin Day Three of the 2013 NFL Draft with. Houston had a talented, disruptive force fall into its lap. Williams is athletic enough to play outside or inside, but it seems the plan is for Montgomery and Williams to man outside linebacker with Brooks Reed heading inside. Either way, Houston began its third day with a deliciously destructive defender from Connecticut.
6th Round - San Jose State offensive tackle David Quessenberry
Grade - Finding $20 on the street.
Sometimes, people's mistakes can lead to your own happiness. With the spread of the zone-blocking scheme in the NFL, it's remarkable that such a perfect fit for the ZBS would slip to round six in a line-happy NFL Draft. Picking Quessenberry in the sixth round is like looking down and finding a $20 bill on the sidewalk. It's free money, it's a bit of good luck, and that $20 is going to be put to good use. Quessenberry could be a future starting left guard or a great reserve swing lineman. There's real value here.
6th Round - Jacksonville State wide receiver Alan Bonner
Grade - Scratching your head.
When confused, some people scratch their heads. Since this pick has been made, I've been scratching my head. To pick a guy who wasn't on anyone's draft radar is always a bit puzzling. To make this pick in the sixth round makes it even more puzzling. A lot of that confusion simply comes from not knowing enough about Bonner or having a lot of information and online video readily available.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak says Bonner is the pick to keep an eye on. He's described as a quick-rather-than-fast route-runner and a special teamer. He'll likely push Keshawn Martin for his spot and fight with Jeff Maehl for a back-end roster spot or practice squad spot. I'm still scratching my head.
6th Round - Bowling Green State defensive tackle Chris Jones
Grade - Trying a new food that you are skeptical about and slowly liking it.
In 2011, I made a trip to my first Minnesota State Fair. It's a great event, but they have some bizarre foods, as is the custom of state fairs. There was this alligator stand and, being a few beers in, I decided, "What the hell?" I purchased the gator and sat down to eat. I was still skeptical about it at first but, as I slowly chewed the first bite, I came around. That's how I feel about Mr. Jones.
Relentless, productive, 2012 MAC Defensive Player of the Year, and high-energy. The on-field production combined with a high-motor makes this a Wade Phillips pick and, by his Houston track record, Wade Phillips doesn't miss on his evaluations. He knows what he wants in the front seven and Jones is it. Like eating that gator, I've come around that maybe the 330-pound nose tackle was not the way to go and Jones is.
6th Round - UConn tight end Ryan Griffin
Grade - Yep. Yep. Mm-hmm. Yep.
The link pretty much describes it. It's a sixth round pick for a low-round rated tight end who may or may not make the team in a third tight end/H-back role. I mean, it's not a bad pick, because Griffin could latch on as a red zone threat with his size. It's, currently, not a home run either. It is what it is.
Overall, this was a great draft for your Houston Texans. I'd probably grade this feeling out as the satisfied feeling one feels after eating a nice ribeye steak with roasted garlic potatoes. They nabbed their second wide receiver. They added a safety to push Shiloh Keo off the defense and prepare for the future. They added line depth. They grabbed a nose tackle. They addressed their linebacker corps. Pretty much they filled their needs, and this isn't even counting their undrafted free agent signings. The Texans seem ready to enter camp.