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Are Our Expectations of Rick Smith's Saturday Picks Realistic?



I was grumbling about how I thought Rick Smith takes Saturdays off in the draft. Then I got to wondering. What am I really expecting in rounds 5, 6, 7?

So I went to the wikipedia and looked at just those rounds b/c looking at the entire draft for all those years would be overwhelming to me.

Here is a chart of Rick Smith's draft picks for just rounds 5, 6, and 7.

I opted not to count the 4th round b/c it's such a tweener round I wasn't really sure whether to add that into my sample. So I just figured I'd go look at just rounds 5, 6, and 7 and let the 4th round stand as the "in the middle" round.



year

round/pick #

Name

Position

School

2007

5/144

Brandon Harrison

Safety

Stanford

5/163 (from New Orleans)

Brandon Frye

Offensive tackle

Virginia Tech

6/183

Kasey Studdard

Offensive guard

Texas

7/218

Zac Diles

Linebacker

Kansas State

2008

5/151

Frank Okam

Defensive tackle

Texas

6/173 (from Baltimore)

Dominique Barber

Safety

Minnesota

7/223

Alex Brink

Quarterback

Washington State

2009

5/152

James Casey

Tight end

Rice

6/188

Brice McCain

Cornerback

Utah

7/223

Troy Nolan

Safety

Arizona State

2010

5/144 (from Kansas City)

Sherrick McManis

Cornerback

Northwestern

6/187

Shelley Smith

Offensive guard

Colorado State

6/197 (from San Diego)

Trindon Holliday

Wide receiver

LSU

7/227

Dorin Dickerson

Tight end

Pittsburgh

2011

5/144 (from Washington)

Shiloh Keo

Safety

Idaho

5/152 (from Washington)

T. J. Yates

Quarterback

North Carolina

7/214

Derek Newton

Offensive tackle

7/254

Cheta Ozougwu

Defensive end

Rice

2012

5/161

Randy Bullock

Kicker

Texas A&M

6/195

Nick Mondek

Offensive Tackle

Purdue

2013

6/176 (from Tennessee via Minnesota, Arizona, and Oakland)

David Quessenberry

Offensive Tackle

San Jose State

6/195

Alan Bonner

Wide Receiver

Jacksonville State

6/198 (from Atlanta via St. Louis)

Chris Jones

Defensive Tackle

Bowling Green

6/201 (compensatory selection)

Ryan Griffin

Tight End

Connecticut

2007 we got

Brandon Harrison
Brandon Frye
Kasey Studdard
Zac Diles

The only one I remember as super serviceable was Studdard? Wasn't he some kind of "tough ol' bird" and looked like a mountain man? But I thought he was pretty good on the OL? Or was he not as serviceable as Brisiel? I know Brisiel was better but Brisiel was apparently not found in the later half of the draft during Rick Smith's entire reign here. The others -- to me -- were not terribly big names but we had Zac Diles. He wasn't outstanding but he was serviceable. Isn't that to be expected for a 7th round draft pick?

2008 we got

Frank Okam
Dominique Barber
Alex Brink

I don't remember any of those guys but this was only Rick Smith's 2nd draft as a GM (sort of his 3rd year as GM though) -- so meh I'll give him the benefit of the doubt here.

2009 we got

James Casey
Brice McCain
Troy Nolan

Ahh now we're talking -- names I can remember -- sort of. We got THOR (The Hero of Rice -- James Casey) and we often thought he could do so much. Now he's up in Philly and after 2 years there? (or has it only been one year in Philly?) He's been doing about as much there as he was doing here (don't quote me on that just saying he hasn't become all pro all star or anything) . So meh for James Casey. Maybe we "reached" for him in the 5th round or maybe we got him exactly where it was a good place to get him. Brice McCain was supposedly very zippy at the start before he hurt his foot. So he wasn't always a liability on the field. He might have been a half way decent pick up in the 6th round. Again, what are we realistically expecting? Troy Nolan I remember the name sort of but I don't remember if we called out his name in glee or in anguish.

2010 we got

Sherrick McManis
Shelley Smith
Trindon Holliday
Dorin Dickerson

McManis I don't really remember him as a cornerback but that could be attributed to me not knowing enough about football in general. Shelley Smith has been "serviceable" maybe not a pro bowl guard but still ;-). He's been there for us. Trindon had so much potential but he was being coached by Marciano. Sooo meh good that he got it together after he left us =P. Pity he went bowling with the boys his first year out of college =P jeez! I so wanted him to work out for us. A nice little speedster that strikes fear in the heart of opposing special teams units? YES that's what I wanted. Dorin I always like him I don't know why he didn't work out but he was actually drafted as a TE?

/shrug

What were we expecting from a 7th round pick?

2011 we got

Shiloh Keo
T. J. Yates
Derek Newton
Cheta Ozougwu

Aha! We got Keo this year and Wee Jay and Hologram. How many seasons did we call Chris Meyers "ragdoll" before we got him working for us the way he does now? Maybe Newton can be reformed? I thought MBW had an interesting article once that said something like if Derek Newton could get some strength training in his arms and upper body he might become more serviceable. So hmmm he's only a 7th round pick and he's been a starter for how long? Well maybe Rick is padding his resume on this one ;-). Maybe part of his performance bonus is based on how many players that he drafts become starters. LOL who knows?

But the point is, Hologram was a 7th round pick. What are we realistically expecting out of a 7th round pick? MBW said that Hologram does some things well. Was it run blocking? I forget honestly. I don't think it was pass blocking. But the idea is his contract is cheap and "serviceable" maybe we can get him trained up.

And that year we got Mr. Irrelevant from Rice -- well that turned out to be a self fulfilling prophecy . . . bummer.

2012 we got

Randy Bullock
Nick Mondek

I don't remember what happened to Mondek. But we still have Bullock. He was halfway serviceable last year. And all the kicks from what? 40 yards or less he got them? I know I was down on him for not nailing more and I know that he cost us games in 2013 but . . . he was just a 5th round draft pick. What was I expecting? I know . . . . I know we drafted a kicker but it's not like we spent a first round pick or anything. . . .

2013 we got

David Quessenberry
Alan Bonner
Chris Jones
Ryan Griffin

Quessenberry was looking really good until he got hurt -- at least that's what I tell myself. I don't remember now if he was in ANY pre-season games but I thought he was. But he and Bonner got stashed in the IR reserve. That leaves us with Chris Jones who I think y'all said he got cut and went to the Patriots -- damn! But we kept UConn (aka Ryan Griffin) =D . I like him not only is he cute he's been pretty helpful this last season.

In summary

When I look over the names I see a number of serviceable players. And I see some that we cut but they went on to other teams and displayed the talent Rick Smith might have seen in them (players like Trindon Holliday).

But as I looked over the names, I thought

What am I really expecting in the 5 round and beyond? Given that players in all rounds are a crap shoot?

Realizing that I'm with Dillo about being suspicious about Rick Smith nowadays -- I thought maybe I should back off and realize that maybe -- just maybe -- Rick Smith didn't find any "steals" in the 5th, 6th, and 7th round but he did find talent that pretty much belonged in those rounds. Right?

Can I honestly rag on Rick Smith about his drafts just based on rounds 5, 6, and 7? I don't think I can. Then when you add the real talent that he's found like JJ Watt and Cushing and De Andre Hopkins. I think Rick Smith might be at least an average GM maybe an above average GM. I think he's fine tuning his process. He got us D Manning and J Jo the year that Scrabble was jerking our chain and dragging his decision out. (I still thought Scrabble was using us to get more out of the other teams). And I have to respect Rick Smith for at least taking a gamble when he got Ed Reed. If it had worked out, he would have looked like a genius. Gambles by their very nature -- sometimes they don't work out. I'd rather someone who's willing to take a chance on greatness instead of someone who never even tries to attain greatness. I hope Rick's aim is better next time ;-).

What I'd love to see in this new regime is less of a "what did you expect from a 5th, 6th, 7th round pick?" and more of a "you're here and you're being given a golden opportunity to make a name for yourself."

And especially I want to see more "We expect excellence from you -- whether you're a first round pick or an UDFA." I think that can get us a long way to building that culture of winning that Bob McNair wants to instill in this organization. I'm sure y'all have read those accounts of classrooms where the students are expected to do poorly and they live down to expectations. And yet the same students that have high expectations heaped upon them actually live up to those expectations. Let's have a team that lives UP to expectations this year.

I also hope that The Texans remains a prime destination for UDFA after the draft. I thought it was awesome that we sort of got the "best of the best" coming to work out with us after the draft. I hope we can keep that allure for future candidates that want to prove themselves.

Go Texans!

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