Historically, the Texans don’t draft well outside of the first two rounds of the NFL Draft. From the abysmal 2013 draft class to the 2007 class, whose only Pro Bowl player was Jacoby Jones...the Texans struggle to find value throughout the rest of the draft. This is a major problem since the Texans’ first pick comes at No. 68 in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Over the past ten years, the 68th pick has produced...
2017: Jacksonville Jaguars selected DE Dawuane Smoot (Illinois).
Starting your career off in newly created Sacksonville definitely has its advantages and disadvantages. A high school hurdler, Smoot has natural athletic ability that helped him progress each year since his freshman year in college. His best game came in Week 12 last year, when he recorded four tackles while several of his teammates were out due to injury. Smoot played in all 16 games, but because he was playing behind All-Pro Calias Campbell, he did not start a game.
2016: San Francisco 49ers selected CB Will Redmond (Mississippi State).
For those of you who are fans of the 2011 documentary Undefeated, Will Redmond was the featured quarterback on the team before transferring high schools. His NFL career has not been as laudable. He injured his knee in training camp and was placed on injured reserve before his season started. Then before the 2017 season began, he injured his ankle and ended up on IR again. Currently, he’s on the Kansas City Chiefs’ practice squad.
2015: Oakland Radiers selected TE Clive Walford (Miami [FL]).
I best know Walford for spending one week on my fantasy team (that none of y’all care about) in 2016. A high quality rookie season featured three touchdowns and over 300 receiving yards. His 2016 season had similar production, with three TDs and 359 yards. Even after being injured during an ATV accident, he still was Derek Carr’s favorite tight end option. His 2017 season ended in a concussion, but he had not been as productive as his previous two due to an overall drop-off in the Raiders’ offense.
2014: Atlanta Falcons selected S Dezmen Southward (Wisconsin).
Mostly a special teams player throughout his career, Southward was released by the Falcons after his first season under Dan Quinn. Southward played in all 16 games his rookie season and had one interception. He spent two years with the Colts and is currently on a futures contract with the Carolina Panthers.
2013: Cleveland Browns selected CB Leon McFadden (San Diego State).
“Leon McFadden” sounds like a name someone made when creating a player in “Madden.” It’s the perfect football name. McFadden started two games his rookie year for the Browns and recorded 13 tackles. He was released by the Browns the following year; since then, he has played for San Francisco, New York (G), and Dallas, a floater throughout his career. He currently resides on the Atlanta Falcons’ roster.
2012: YOUR Houston Texans selected WR DeVier Posey (Ohio State).
If your Monday blues had not kicked in yet, I hope this blast from the past does the trick. Wow, I was hyped up from the beginning about Posey. There was something about him that I just wanted to give him a chance, but he was always a stumble or fingertip away from making a play. Cut from the same cloth as Jaelen Strong, he’s good enough to make you say “what if...”. Another failed project from the Rick Smith years, Posey only recorded six receptions his rookie year, which was followed up by 15 receptions his sophomore year. He tore his Achilles in the AFC Divisional Round game against the Patriots. In 2016, Posey landed on the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts and was the MVP of the CFL championship game in 2017. He is back in the NFL and is currently is on the Baltimore Ravens’ roster.
Bringing up DeVier Posey makes me want to swallow mouthwash. I had such high expectations of him coming out of Ohio State.
2011: Buffalo Bills selected LB Kelvin Sheppard (LSU).
Hey, someone I have heard of! Probably the most productive player in this group, Sheppard has had a quality career playing for the Bills, Colts, Dolphins and Giants. His best game came in his rookie year against the Chargers, when he recorded a whopping 14 tackles. He started nine games his rookie year followed by fifteen as a middle linebacker the following season. He was traded to the Colts in 2013 for Jerry Hughes. He is currently buried on the New York Giants’ depth chart.
2010: Kansas City Chiefs selected G Jon Asamoah (Illinois).
His rookie year, he rotated in at right guard and was developing well. He was a perfect size for a right guard at 6’4” and 305 lbs. He started 48 games for the Chiefs between 2011 and 2013. The Falcons then signed Asamoah to a five-year, $22.5 million contract in 2014 after several productive seasons. In 2015, the Falcons came to an injury settlement with Asamoah when a hip injury seemed to be the end of his career.
2009: Chicago Bears selected DT Jarron Gilbert (San Jose State).
Probably the biggest bust out of these ten players. He played just four games his rookie season before being released by the Bears. He was signed by the Jets and only appeared in one game before being released. He was on the Bills’ roster for a bit and has been out of the league for quite a while.
2008: Atlanta Falcons selected CB Chevis Jackson (LSU).
Chevis had two contributing years for the Falcons and started three games. He did not make the 53 man roster his third year and was cut by the Falcons. He signed with the Jaguars in 2010, and landed on two other rosters that year before his career ended in 2011. Currently, Jackson is a recruiter for Ball State and was voted the 2017 MAC Recruiter of the Year.
Overall, not an impressive group. Although a betting man would wrongly say that it’s time that someone hit on Pick No. 68, this seems like the point in the draft where the perennial “studs” drop off and you begin to look at contributory players instead of immediate starters. Regardless, talent can still be found in the middle parts of the draft. The Texans drafted D’Onta Foreman last year with the 89th overall pick, so there’s definitely talent to be had at this point in the draft.
If this stands and ends up being the Texans’ first pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, they’ll probably be more prepared and have more research done for the players they expect to be available at this point in the draft. That may be an advantage for the Texans. While other teams look to “not screw up” their first round pick, the Texans will be spending their time finding diamonds in the rough in the early middle rounds.
Hopefully this is finally the year where a team can find something more than a spot starter with the 68th overall selection of the NFL Draft.