Your Houston Texans have been roundly criticized by the national media for the abysmal (and well-documented) play of the offensive line. Despite acquiring talent at the skill positions at various points throughout their existence, the Texans (read: Charley Casserly) always seemed strangely reluctant to bring in a left tackle. Sure, there was Tony Boselli. Speaking of, here's a fun BRB trivia question for the readers:
Q: What do Tim and Tony Boselli have in common?
A: Neither of them ever played a snap for the Texans.
Ha! Don't think I'm criticizing the Texans for bringing Boselli in via the expansion draft; I'm not. If there was even a chance that he could suit up again, it was a no-brainer. Add in that Jacksonville reportedly agreed to leave Gary Walker and Seth Payne unprotected if the Texans took Boselli off their hands, and the obviousness is even clearer. But this post isn't about Boselli. It's about the position the Texans' brass prayed he'd man for several seasons. It's about the most important position on the offensive line (assuming you have a right-handed QB, which the Texans have). This is about left tackle.
The Chronicle had an interesting story in today's edition where Gary Kubiak waxed poetic about the Texans possibly drafting a LT (read: Levi Brown or Joe Staley) with their first-round pick. The key to that happening is quite clear, and that key's name is Charles Spencer. Prior to his season-ending injury in the second game of last season, the Texans had high hopes that Spencer could be the guy protecting Carr's blindside for years to come. Now Carr is gone, and Houston management has their fingers crossed that Spencer will be ready for the season opener. Note that this is considerably more optimistic than they were a few months ago, when they wondered if Spencer would ever play again.
As Kubes said, the Texans must proceed as if Spencer won't be ready to play. Their options? Well, they have Ephraim Salaam. Salaam performed very well in spot starting duty last year, but the Texans are hoping he'll be their primary reserve swing tackle. And there's Jordan Black, the recent free agent signee, who started at LT for the Chiefs last year. Then again, our good friends over at Arrowhead Pride have informed me that Black's nickname is "Turnstile." Not coincidentially, I'm hoping Black becomes a guard. After Spencer, Salaam, and Black, the cupboard is pretty bare.
So it makes sense to turn to the draft. By all accounts, Joe Thomas is the class of the draft at LT; he'll surely be gone by the time the tenth pick rolls around. Levi Brown should be there at No. 10, and Joe Staley becomes a viable option if the Texans trade back to the middle or late first round. Would Brown or Staley be as sexy a pick as LaRon Landry or Dwayne Jarrett? Of course not. But I think I speak for all Texans fans when I say that if there is any position that management could draft without subjecting themselves to criticism, it'd be left tackle. Whether they actually do it, who knows? As Lance Zierlein noted, Kubes' remarks could simply be another case of smoke and mirrors as we creep toward April 28th. If nothing else, it's just a real treat to know that your team's management realizes that first-round picks can actually be spent on offensive linemen.
And I don't mean "offensive" as "repugnant"...if I did, the first-round Casserlian selections of Travis Johnson and Jason Babin would certainly qualify.