~ T.J. Yates, 2011, 5th round
It's pretty sad that a fifth-round quarterback from the University of North Carolina is the best quarterback the Texans have ever drafted, but such is life when the franchise has only been around for twelve years. Yates was the first ever Tarheel quarterback to actually start a game in the NFL after season-ending injuries to Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart.
The 2011 season had a bit of magic to it thanks to Yates. He wasn't spectacular or even good, but he had this scrappiness and instinct that carried him through games. Go back and watch his first game as a starter against the Falcons. His pocket presence, mobility and improvisation was very Favre-like. If he can develop consistency as a passer, I'll be ecstatic to see him push Matt Schaub as the starter.
~ Domanick Williams, 2003, 4th round
~ Steve Slaton, 2008, 3rd round
I'll give the nod to Slaton over Ben Tate. Both running backs have had only one season worth mentioning, but I really enjoyed watching Slaton in 2008. After his breakout rookie year, Slaton's production fell off dramatically, presumably due to a neck injury-- similar to Peyton Manning's in 2011. He would undergo a cervical fusion to repair the injury, but it proved to be too little, too late as the emergence of Arian Foster and Tate rendered the West Virginia product obsolete, and he was soon released.
~ Andre Johnson, 2003, 1st round
~ Jabar Gaffney, 2002, 2nd round
~ Jacoby Jones, 2007, 3rd round
On the list of the Houston Texans' drafted wide receivers, there's a 700 foot drop after Andre Johnson. Here we take a look at Jabar Gaffney, who amassed a little more than 2,000 yards and seven touchdowns while catching passes from David Carr and company for four years. This is, sadly, the second best wide receiver the Texans have ever drafted.
~ Owen Daniels, 2006, 4th round
~ Duane Brown, 2008, 1st round
~ Chester Pitts, 2002, 2nd round
~ Ben Jones, 2012, 4th round
~ Antoine Caldwell, 2009, 3rd round
~ Eric Winston, 2006, 3rd round
Ben Jones is only one year in to his professional career, yet he has already shown nice upside. Also, there's very little competition for him amongst interior linemen drafted in Texans' history. We're counting on you, big guy.
I'll begrudgingly give a spot to Caldwell by default rather than leave it empty. He was drafted in the third round to be developed in the zone blocking system; he never secured himself any job security, even with little competition around him. Someone please give me someone to replace Caldwell.
~ Mario Williams, 2006, 1st round
~ J.J. Watt, 2011, 1st round
~ Seth Payne, 2002 (Expansion Draft - from Jacksonville)
~ Connor Barwin, 2009, 2nd round
Payne is the only defensive tackle the Texans have drafted who enjoyed any type of success over a long period of time. He was a stalwart defender in the middle of the defensive line (when healthy), notching over 200 tackles and nine sacks over five years.
~ Brian Cushing, 2009, 1st round
~ DeMeco Ryans, 2006, 2nd round
~ Zac Diles, 2007, 7th round
Diles was a sure tackler as an outside linebacker and not particularly effective in coverage. Nonetheless, he filled in admirably when asked to start and provided solid depth when he wasn't breaking his own leg during non-contact drills.
~ Dunta Robinson, 2004, 1st round
~ Kareem Jackson, 2010, 1st round
~ Glover Quin, 2009, 4th round
~ C.C. Brown, 2005, 6th round
What's that, you say? Who's C.C. Brown? Well, his poor numbers were slightly less poor than
Earl Glenn's Glenn Earl's numbers, and I needed one more DB to fill in, so there you have it.
What say you, readers? Is there anyone I omitted or snubbed? Would you take Carr over Yates, perhaps? Also, I decided to go with a 4-3 scheme for the defense as it seemed to allow better fits for the players listed. Agree or disagree?
Feel free to rip me in the comments. Happy Monday!