I had ridiculously high hopes when it came to this draft. Ridiculously high. I foresaw all the things that we could do, what we might do, and how it would help solidify your Houston Texans as a perennial contender. Here is what I think after the fact.
Brian Cushing OLB, USC- Okay, I will be honest. At first, I had a full page and a half written up, basically trashing Cushing.
However, Frank Bush changed my mind. What Bush sees I didn't really see as a player - in fact, Bush sees the opposite. One of my biggest bashes on Cushing was he was a liability in coverage. Bush talks about him as a guy who can play in the nickel. I thought Cushing was a subpar pass rusher. Bush feels he is versatile and will be successful.
Seriously, the interview with Bush talked me out of the vast majority of my preconceived notions about Brian Cushing. I hope he comes as advertised - an intense, hard working kid who can be a 3 down player. Please don't let me down.
My Feeling: Hopeful?
Connor Barwin DE/TE, Cincinatti
I really like this pick. It helped make up for the Cushing pick. Connor Barwin will be a fantastic situational rusher for the Texans. After an astounding senior season where he amassed 10 sacks, Connor Barwin showed a lot.
First, his motor doesn't stop. Many of his sacks were "effort" sacks, engaging the tackle and then fighting his way through. He pursues across the field and just gets after people.
He has great instincts. He gets his hands up (THANK YOU!) when he can't get to the QB, understands how to play the cutbacks, counters, and reverses that come when being on the back side of a play. He can even stand up and play (a little bit), giving us options from a zone-blitz perspective.
Connor Barwin can also play tight end, which would give us more options in the red zone, but after today we don't need any more tight ends.
My Feeling: Good Call, Rick.
Antoine Caldwell C/G, Alabama
I like the Antoine Caldwell pick as well. Caldwell was a great player for 'Bama, and can play center or guard. We happen to need a guy who can play center or guard.
Caldwell has good foot speed and quickness, while still having the size (6-3, 305) to take on the big guys. An incredibly intelligent guy, he is continuing his masters degree in financial planning while going into the NFL. He is big and strong, but sometimes has issues combating the speed rush. He was a team leader at 'Bama and will probably move into a starter in the relatively near future.
My Feeling: Good Call, Back to Back.
Glover Quinn CB, New Mexico
Who? I have never heard of this kid, ever. And I read about a lot of college prospects.
From what I can find, Glvoer Quinn was a shutdown corner for the Lobos, having 5 INT and 11 PBU his senior year, earning him All Mountain-West honors. If he is being drafted to play CB, I am confused. I heard Rick Smith when he said, "You can never have too many corners" in his pre-draft press conference. But Rick, you can have too many corners. We have 4 corners we KNOW we are going to keep, plus probably 4 or 5 camp bodies as well.
However, Quinn projects maybe better at FS than at CB. 4.5 40, 22 bench reps, and a 38.5 inch vertical. Hopefully, he will be tried there, but they told him he was playing corner.
I really hope he steps up and takes the FS role. Please?
We passed on: All of the RBs we have talked about here on BRB.
My Feeling: Initially Confused, Rapidly Soothed.
Anthony Hill TE, NC State
I was mad at this pick when I saw it. I was like, "Okay, we are definitely going Lawrence Sidbury, or Andre Brown, or Rashad Jennings, or Gartrell Johnson, or maybe even Ringer or.. or..or.. Anthony Hill. Damn it. " I still think one of the RBs would have been the superior pick, but apparently the Texans feel that Chris Brown is their power back for the future, and they NEED a run blocking tight end. Anthony Hill is not the sexy pick, but he is a solid pick, and I feel he will help our red zone offense.
My Feeling: Rage, followed by the soothing touch of rationalization.
James Casey TE, Rice
Dost thou hate me Durga? Must you and the other football god repeatedly stomp on my soul? I KNEW, absolutely KNEW, this pick was going to be a RB. Jennings, Ringer, and Ogbonnaya are all on the board; we are gonna pull the trigger on one. Right? Wrong. We take back-to-back tight ends and my head explodes. Then, I start to think again, and realize Daniels is our starter, Hill will be our blocker to replace Bruener, and Casey will replace Dressen and possibly the long snapper Clark. Casey is a dangerous receiver and probably a steal in the fifth round, but it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
My Feeling: The Rage of One Thousand Suns, Followed by Rationalization, Followed by Frustration.
Brice McCain CB, Utah
Okay, one of the two guys we drafted at corner is not going to make the roster in all likelihood. With Jennings and Ogbonnaya, James Davis, Myron Pryor, Zach Follet, and Trevor Canfield, a guard from CIncinatti who was once evaluated as a 2nd round pick, I thought it was gonna be from those guys. So we end up taking a flier at a guy whos real only shot at making game day rosters is upsetting Jacoby at punt returner. He is fast, yes, but he had 3 picks in 4 years. I wanted a damn power running back.
My Feeling: I Guess a Power Running Back is NOT on the Needs List.
Troy Nolan FS, Arizona State
Again, I was enraged with this pick. Doesn't it always seem we just take late-round fliers on safeties and hope they pan out? However, I think Nolan actually has a chance to be decent. He has had 10 INT in the last 2 years, with 6 PBU in 2008. I still wanted Rashad Jennings with this pick, but hopefully Nolan makes the roster and supplants Eugene Wilson. Okay, hopefully he makes the roster.
My Feeling: Sigh, I was hoping that I could reverse psychology the draft and get a late-round RB. Another late-round safety. Yay.
In the scheme of things, we drafted better than the Raiders, and we had a solid draft in terms of filling needs. Next is what I took away from the draft and the interviews of what the front office thinks of the future of the Houston Texans.
1. Chris Brown will be our Power Back. Let me rephrase: Chris Brown will be our power back until he gets hurt again. This is obvious as we passed on quality RBs repeatedly through out the draft.
2. Bill Kollar likes our DTs. We had an opportunity to take a few massive NTs in the later rounds and passed on them for 6th string corners. Hopefully that means he feels he can coach up Okam into a player and make TJ suck less.
3. The Texans want to be versatile. Every interview they had with every prospect mentioned how versatile they were. They liked Cushing because he could play every LB position, and play in the nickle. They like Barwin because of his knowledge of both side of the ball and ability to play both LDE and RDE. They liked James Casey because he can give lots of mismatches and is versatile. They like Caldwell because he can back up all 3 interior line positions. It appears that "versatility" is the word of the draft.
4. Maybe the Dunta talks aren't going so well. Why draft 2 CBs when you have a full stable available?
5. Joel Dressen is gone. I don't think you keep 4 TEs on the roster.
6. The FO feels that Rashad Butler can be an effective backup LT. They never pursued a tackle, so I guess they feel that the tackle position is secure.
Now that I've sat down and thought about the draft, I think we did a good job. I just hope we pick up a UDFA powerback to replace Chris Brown when he breaks his arm in a pillow fight. We will find out how good we did next December. Go Texans!