It's the end of January in Houston: 30-degree lows are becoming a distant memory and Texans fans are talking about the draft. While Mr. Brett Kollmann does yeoman's work on the tape-grinding circuit, I am going into the past -- to the Shadow Draft Texans, specifically -- to see how they did.
As Tim always says, block quotes and whiskey make the world go round. I don't think I can place any pictures of whiskey bottles in this post without SBN's legal team coming down on the site with the full weight of frumpiness that their position maintains, so you'll have to settle for the former.
If you're unfamiliar with the concept of a shadow draft, it was popularized by John Sickels of Minor League Ball. Essentially, you pick at exactly the spots your team picks in the draft, and you aren't able to move down or up on your own. It is taken for granted in my version that, due to your general familiarity with the draft process, you are aware of what players are going to be off the board by your next pick. Thus, you don't get stuck picking someone rounds too early. All players signed or traded for by the team are at your disposal, and you can't keep players that leave.
Now, on to comparing my picks to the actual Houston selections...
1-11 -- Texans picked J.J. Watt, I picked Robert Quinn.
Wow, I've made a huge mistake.
Actually, I just followed faulty logic. I thought Houston was moving forward with the whole "Mario Williams is a defensive end" idea at the time of the pick, and that meant that putting a first-round pick into that position was the definition of insane. That'll learn me.
Quinn, at least, has validated my high opinion of him. 10.5 sacks for the Rams this year after spending his rookie season being in and out of the lineup. That doesn't make up for the fact that I passed on the best defensive player in the NFL, but at least I didn't really blow the pick. I probably would have taken Watt had I known that the Texans were going to need a starting end. Well, or Prince Amukamara. See, Quinn doesn't sound so bad now, does he?
2-42 -- Texans picked Brooks Reed, I picked Rahim Moore.
Moore is yet another safety that I overvalued, though it turns out I didn't do too poorly here. You may remember Moore from such plays as "The Time Joe Flacco Hit Jacoby Jones for a Stunning Deep Touchdown." He played the role of burn victim.
But he actually didn't have a terrible season overall. The Broncos had a much-improved pass defense and he was a big factor in that. I'm not saying he's better than Danieal Manning as of now, but I think it's fairly close. It's really kind of amazing how this middle stretch of the second round played out in retrospect. Here are the picks between Brooks Reed and Brandon Harris:
There's not a single player in this pack that I consider a star, and a lot of them have already been injury or talent busts. How many random sections of the second round can you say that about? Ijalana hasn't played a snap. Vereen is stuck behind Stevan Ridley. Jarrett has already been released. Bowers fell on talent and has continued to be hurt. I had a Stephen Paea mancrush and he's played well, but he's not an impact player right now or anything. I guess the best of the bunch is Smith, and I still see him as someone who could use some consistency.