I've been putting this off for a few weeks, mostly because I don't like to cry. And evaluating the Texans' secondary carries with it a 97.4% likelihood that I will burst into tears at some (or multiple) point(s). "Abhorrent" isn't nearly a strong enough term to describe the visual abomination that typically awaits Houston fans every time the opposition attempts a passing play. Nevertheless, I'm a man of my word, so let's rip the band-aid off...
LCB--Dunta Robinson, Dexter McCleon, Dexter Wynn.
RCB--Petey Faggins, Von Hutchins.
SS--Glenn Earl, Michael Stone, John Walker.
FS--C.C. Brown, Jason Simmons.
Annnnddddd...the tears have started, coupled with a knot in my stomach that seems to get tighter every time I think of the opposition running anything more than a five-yard out route. This much is indisputably clear: The only Texan listed above who should be starting on an average NFL defense is Dunta Robinson, and even he has appeared to noticeably regress in the two seasons since his outstanding rookie campaign (when he was robbed of Defensive ROY by the biased East Coast Media). Petey Faggins would make a fine nickelback, but he shouldn't be starting at the other CB spot. The rest of the guys listed above should not be seeing much more of the field than Matt Stevens. Which is to say, I'm sure they are all great people; they just leave much to be desired in the "Don't Get Burned" Department.
So where does that leave the Texans? Although many of us were praying for the addition of an Asante Samuel, Nate Clements, and/or Michael Lewis (seriously...I lit votive candles and everything), it's not looking like anyone of starting caliber will be added via free agency. Thus, we've got the draft. You have to believe that a secondary that ranked 22nd in passing defense is going to a HUGE area of focus for Smith and Kubes on the last weekend of April. Possible candidates for Texandom come April:
- LaRon Landry (S, LSU)--the class of the draft when it comes to secondary help. He could immediately come in and start at FS. Earl and Brown are average at best, and neither has shown anything resembling consistently sufficient coverage skills. Landry could do the job, and do it well. Unfortunately, word is that Atlanta covets him. You might have heard something about a little trade those guys swung last week that bumped them up to No. 8 in the first round. I think the primary motivation for that part of the deal was ensuring themselves a better shot at Landry, and I think he'll be their pick. But if he is there at No. 10, the Texans would have to think long and hard about taking him.
- Leon Hall (CB, Michigan)--the best cornerback in a weak market. He'll go higher than he probably should, but I can't see the Texans taking him at No. 10, and he won't last until the second round. You know, if we had a second round pick to use. Now, if the Texans were to move back a few spots, Hall would become a much more palatable option.
- Reggie Nelson (S, Florida)--if the Texans can move back a few spots (say, to the range of 13-18), Nelson would make a WHOLE lot of sense. He's probably a bit of a reach at No. 10, but the guy is a gamer and would immediately shore up the FS spot. Most scouts seem to have him rated slightly behind Landry, so he'll almost definitely be the second safety off the board, likely before the twentieth pick of the first round.
- Chris Houston (CB, Arkansas)--ran a ridiculous forty at the combine, so he's become everyone's darling. No way he'd be a Texan at No. 10, but a real option if there's some dealing down to the latter part of the first round.
- Darrelle Revis (CB, Pittsburgh)--like Chris Houston, another burner who'd be an intriguing option in the late first round. Personally, I think he's underrated (Hall and Houston are getting far more pub), but I still couldn't justify taking him at No. 10.
- Michael Griffin (S, Texas)/Aaron Ross (CB, Texas)--as a Texas Ex, it pains me to say this, but...the Texans shouldn't even consider either of these guys in Round One, no matter how far they trade back. Griffin can hit, but he was unable to consistently cover anyone at Texas. Despite his Thorpe Award, Ross got burned a lot. A whole lot. I really, really hope I'm wrong about one or both of these guys. Still, I can't say that I'm optimistic about either of them becoming stud NFL starters.