Now that NFL Draft season has come and gone, I thought it would be amusing to look back with brutal honesty at how some of the BRB staff felt about past Houston Texans first round picks. From notable flubs such as David Carr, Dave Carr, Davey Car, David Carr, Jason Babin, Travis Johnson, Amobi Okoye to home runs like J.J. Watt and DeAndre Hopkins, the opinions have - shall we say - “varied” over the years.
No strict rules here; the staff is just weighing in where they wanted to. We’d love for you to do the same!
2002 - David Carr - I was a Julius Peppers guy.
2003 - Andre Johnson - Was happy with the pick. I did not prefer Johnson over Charles Rogers or vice versa.
2004 - Dunta Robinson - Sean Taylor was the guy, but knew he wouldn’t be around. I didn’t have much of a reaction to this pick.
2004 - Jason Babin - Nope. Not a fan.
2005 - Travis Johnson - I wanted Aaron Rodgers. (No, not really). I was underwhelmed by this pick. Definitely wanted Derrick Johnson, who went right before.
2006 - Mario Williams - I wanted D’Brickashaw Ferguson, but I was happy they took Mario over either Reggie Bush or Vince Young.
2007 - Amobi Okoye - I badly wanted either of LaRon Landry or Adrian Peterson. I knew Peterson wouldn’t be there, but can’t recall where Landry was projected. Of course, both went before Okoye, and I was okay with the pick when it happened. Oops.
2008 - Duane Brown - I don’t recall who I was burning for in 2008 but it surely wasn’t Duane Brown, and oh boy, was he terrible as a rookie. Of course, as it turns out, he’s on the Texans’ Mt. Rushmore and one of my favorite all-time Houston Texans.
2009 - Brian Cushing - I spent the morning of this draft in the emergency room. If I recall, this was the last year of the previous “standard” draft that began on Saturday morning. I was not upset with the Cushing pick, but I wanted Clay Matthews. Actually, I wanted B.J. Raji but knew he would be gone, so my next preference was Matthews.
2010 - Kareem Jackson - Looking back at the picks from this draft, there were SO MANY guys I heavily coveted (Earl Thomas, Eric Berry, Ndamukong Suh, etc.), but as expected, they went off the board well in advance of the Kareem pick at 20. I wasn’t excited about the Kareem pick, nor was I upset. I do recall hearing he was “the most NFL-ready cornerback in the draft,” which resulted in a horrific rookie season.
2011 - J.J. Watt - I was hoping for Nick Fairley (as you can see with my preferences over the years, I was always burning for safeties and defensive tackles.) I was also big into Patrick Peterson, but he was expected to be off the board. As it turns out, the Texans apparently had a plan to trade up for Peterson, and Wade Phillips was ready to pull the trigger on Aldon Smith. They both turned out to be gone by the Watt pick at 11, and we landed a guy who is legitimately in the conversation as the greatest defensive player in the history of the NFL. Don’t @ me. Anyway, yes, I wanted Fairley but I wasn’t angry about this one. It was more like, “Meh, okay I’ll go with it”. By the way, #NeverForget Blaine Gabbert was selected one spot ahead of J.J. Watt. Amazing.
2012 - Whitney Mercilus - I was good with this one. Didn’t have overly strong feelings about other options.
2013 - DeAndre Hopkins - I was happy to get Hopkins, but I really wanted Cordarelle Patterson.
2014 - Jadeveon Clowney - This was the only option.
2015 - Kevin Johnson - Another scenario where I didn’t really have strong feelings. Looking at it now, obviously Marcus Peters was the guy, but that’s not what this post is about. At the time, I just went with it.
2016 - Will Fuller V - I was more of a Josh Doctson guy. To me this pick felt like overdrafting for need. By that I mean, sure, the Texans desperately needed a No. 2 receiver, but I felt there were more complete options out there. However, Bill O’Brien and Rick Smith went with the fastest WR they figured could stretch the defense. The final chapter on this pick is yet to be written, but if Fuller and Deshaun Watson can both stay on the field, it looks like their chemistry will be a lethal combination for years to come.
2017 - Deshaun Watson - My friends, I just wanted a quarterback. Gun to my head, of this class, I will admit I was a bit more swept up in the hype for Patrick Mahomes than anyone else, but I was THRILLED... ELATED, even, that the Texans traded up (!!!) to get a quarterback (!!!) and it was one of the consensus top quarterbacks in the draft.
2002 - I wanted Julius Peppers. I never wavered on that, and I never liked David Carr.
2003 - I wanted Charles Rogers (oops). When he went second, I was fine with Andre Johnson, because “Take the Miami guy, all else being equal” is a motto that serves one well more often than not.
2004 - I wanted Sean Taylor (went before Dunta was picked) or Vince Wilfork. I never liked Dunta, though I admit that he ultimately became a better player (for a time) than I expected. I wanted Benjamin Watson with the Jason Babin pick, though both were pretty meh in the end.
2005 - I wanted Derrick Johnson. He was there. He was riiiiight therrrrre. But then they traded back. Ask Tim about his reaction to the Travis Johnson pick. (Related: Travis Johnson can go to hell.)
2006 - Mario Williams. I wanted Mario. I was happy with the pick. I’ll defend that pick as correct until the day I die.
2007 - Amobi Okoye. I wanted Amobi Okoye. I was happy with the pick. Nobody bats 1.000, man. Shut up. Also, JUST GIVE HIM TIME TO GROW UP A BIT.
2008 - Duane Brown. I wanted DRC, but he went just before we picked. When it came to our pick, I wanted Calais Campbell or Kentwan Balmer. I was NOT happy with the Brown pick. He proved me wrong and became awesome, so...yeah.
2009 - Oh, god, how I hated the Cushing pick. Sooooo much. I wanted Robert Ayers or Clay Matthews. I never really got to where I liked Cushing, though I would defend him in those stupid “He shouldn’t have been ROY” arguments.
2010 - Eh, it was fine. I didn’t hate the pick, Kareem Jackson filled a position of need, and he seemed to have the tools to translate to the NFL, so whatevs.
2011 - Admittedly, I hated this pick...for about five minutes. Until I realized that it meant that Mario was moving to OLB in the 3-4. Then I loved it, because (a) I’d seen enough of J.J. Watt against Michigan to think he’d be fine and (b) I knew Mario would dominate in Wade’s 3-4 at OLB.
2012 - I wanted Nick Perry, but I wasn’t too broken up about it because Whitney Mercilus seemed like a good fit for Wade, and I grew to love Merc.
2013 - Loved the pick. LOVED. IT. Still do.
2014 - SPLOOSH. (Still sploosh.)
2015 - I wanted Marcus Peters or Shaq Thompson. Johnson played better than I expected, but I’d still rather have Peters.
2016 - I wanted to go back in time and punch my grandma in the face when she was a newborn. I’d still prefer that, I think. Or at least would have preferred Myles Jack or Hunter Henry to Will Fuller
2017 - I was leery, but hopeful. Deshaun Watson blew away everything I expected and then some.
David Carr in 2002 is such an easy answer. He wasn’t a good QB prospect, period, and only Charley Casserly would be stupid enough to draft a QB and not protect him. It wasn’t all the line’s fault, of course, but you don’t put on the roof when the foundation is not even finished.
Oh no, the biggest one for me is Travis Johnson. I’m a Longhorn alum and non-abashed fan boy, so to miss out on Derrick Johnson for a tweener who played half a season of decent football was ridiculous.
Derrick Johnson was a much heralded player in college, winning both the Bronko Nagurski Trophy AND the Dick Butkus Award in 2004. Travis Johnson was a 1999 USA Today High School All-American. Look, I know, awards don’t tell the whole story, but one player had a long track record of a high level of success, and one didn’t.
It was a stupid draft pick in 2005, and it’s an even worse pick today.
Well, this is going to be fun.
Since I only started following the Texans’ draft during the 2011 season, I can only offer my thoughts on the picks after that fact:
2011: Man, I was pissed when the Texans took Watt. I wanted Patrick Peterson so damn bad. This was the season after the Q-Tip, so the secondary was still a ridiculous concern. Drafting a guy who in his rookie season looked like a Deion Sanders redux would have been totally neato, but y’know, Watt turned out pretty cool.
2012: The Battle of Fleener Hill. I honestly cannot remember If I was around to take a side in that fun piece of BRB history. That being said, I was smitten with Quinton Coples, which, y’know......didn’t end up working out. Whitney Mercilus probably wouldn’t have been my pick, but I’m glad he was the Texans’.
2013: Robert Woods. I actually wrote a FanPost where I watched DeAndre Hopkins and Woods, compared them, and came away liking Woods more. I just thought he was so much more elusive as a ball carrier and cerebral as a route runner. Hop is a master of route running, but he wins in different ways; those ways have lead him to be a much better player. Woods is still good, though.
2014: Yeah, I can’t hide it. I was dying of thirst and only Teddy Bridgewater could quench it.
2015: Yeah, I wanted Randy Gregory. Past me was a woeful general manager.
2016: Christian Hack- No, I’m just f’ing around. I think if it was me, I would have gone with Josh Doctson. Doctson had better success with a more diverse route tree than Fuller coming out of college, plus he would win beyond just being fast. Fuller’s still neat. I just need to see an entire year of production.
2017: I wanted DeShone Kizer. I got a Pro Bowl QB. Fake GM me is the worst.
Ones I notably remember disliking in favor of someone else:
2002: Bryant McKinnie over Carr.
2004: Not trading up instead of doing that and drafting Jason Babin.
2005: Not trading down with the Saints (Derrick Johnson) over Travis Johnson.
2008: I really wanted Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
2009: Michael Oher over Brian Cushing.
2010: Dan Williams over Kareem Jackson (I wanted Kyle Wilson a lot too).
2011: Robert Quinn over J.J. Watt.
2012: Janoris Jenkins over Whitney Mercilus.
2013: Cordarrelle Patterson over Hopkins.
2015: Marcus Peters over Kevin Johnson
2016: Myles Jack over Will Fuller
Titan Matt Weston, Slanderer of “Blade Runner” and a Huge Fan of Both the Texas Rangers and San Antonio Spurs, Including Hoe-Ass Kawhi Leonard:
I’m not a big draft person since I don’t watch the college game. There are some years here and there I remember.
2004: Jason Babin. I wanted Babin in Houston because ESPN the Magazine had him eating a giant sandwich in it. As a fat 13 year old, I thought that and the tribal arm tattoos were pretty cool.
2010: Earl Thomas over Kareem Jackson. This is mainly because it was part of dialogue for some freshman English composition short story. I don’t really even remember knowing if I had big feelings for Thomas.
2014: Trade back up for Teddy Bridgewater. I was heartbroken that Houston didn’t pop back up into the first round and take a quarterback, specifically Bridgewater, or take one in the second round. Even more so, I was heartbroken because it meant that yes, Ryan Fitzpatrick would start for the Texans in 2014. Bridgewater is my guy. Still is. Who knows what will happen to the rest of his career after his leg exploded in practice two years ago, but there will always be that second season where he was good despite playing behind an awful offensive line with shoddy skill players, and a scheme designed around Adrian Peterson. I still hope TB H2O gets another shot somewhere this year once he’s traded by the Jets after summer quarterback injuries happen.
The worst part about 2014 wasn’t that Houston didn’t trade up for Bridgewater, but that Houston didn’t take a quarterback in the second round. Houston wasted Watt’s prime and a talented team for two seasons because they kicked the can down the road with Fitzpatrick and Brian Hoyer before signing the [NAME REDACTED] signing and the eventual trade up for Deshaun Watson. No, selecting Tom Savage in the fourth round and signing Ryan Mallett don’t count as meaningful quarterback decisions. Four years later, the quarterback position has worked itself out, but three years of a talented team were wasted because Houston didn’t improve the quarterback position sooner.
2017: Deshaun Watson. I was happy with the Watson pick. They needed a quarterback and got one. I just didn’t understand why Watson was worth what turned out to be the fourth overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft instead of staying put and taking DeShone Kizer. It’s worked out so far, but 2018 me is still concerned about last year’s touchdown rate.
2002: I preferred Joey Harrington to David Carr. I liked Julius Peppers, but no way would I have taken him with the first overall pick. I’m not smart.
2003: I was fine with whoever the Lions didn’t pick. The fact that Detroit’s decision allowed us to marvel at Andre Johnson for over a decade instead of having to become exceptionally well versed in the NFL’s drug policy still stands as a true miracle of Texans fandom.
2004: I preferred DeAngelo Hall to Dunta Robinson, but Hall was gone by the time Houston went on the clock, so I was fine with Dunta. I actually threw a shoe at my television when the Texans traded essentially their entire remaining draft to move up to select Jason Babin. In retrospect, I should have thrown more than one shoe.
2005: Thirteen years later, and I’m still not really read to talk about this. I remember working that Saturday and following the draft on my computer. I also remember blacking out when the Texans traded back with Derrick Johnson still on the board, coming to when the Chiefs went on the clock one pick before the Texans did, screaming when Kansas City selected Johnson, being completely befuddled by the Texans selecting Travis Johnson, frantically searching for information on Travis Johnson and finding very little that indicated anyone thought he’d go in the first round, and walking around aimlessly for the rest of the day. Good times.
2006: I desperately wanted Vince Young. I would have been fine with Reggie Bush. I was intrigued by the idea of trading back and selecting D’Brickashaw Ferguson. No one at NRG Park contacted me for my opinion.
I remember being at a dinner party the night before the draft when news broke that the Texans had agreed on the parameters of a contract with Mario Williams to select him first, subsequently drinking myself into a stupor, waking up a mess the next day, convincing myself that the night before had been a bad dream, and literally hitting my knees, arms extended toward the heavens, crying out about how I had been forsook, when Super Mario was officially made a Texan that fateful Saturday.
I do remember unabashedly loving the rest of the Texans’ draft class that year, though.
2007: I was hoping for LaRon Landry, but he was gone by the time the Texans picked. I recall that the vast majority of mock drafts had Amobi Okoye going long before the Texans would make a selection at No. 10, so I quickly convinced myself the Texans got themselves a steal. I was wrong. Horribly, horribly wrong.
2008: I believe I was a Jeff Otah guy, but the Texans traded back in the first round with the Ravens so Baltimore could grab Joe Flacco. I certainly didn’t love the Duane Brown pick, but I know I read a fair bit of stuff post-draft about he’d be a good fit for the zone blocking system and Alex Gibbs would make him a player. I’d say that one turned out alright.
2009: I refer you to my post immediately after Brian Cushing was selected by your Houston Texans.
2010: I wanted Kyle Wilson. Kareem Jackson didn’t infuriate me, but I definitely wasn’t fawning over the selection.
2011: I believe I preferred Nick Fairley, Robert Quinn, Cam Jordan, and maybe even Prince Amukamara to J.J. Watt. HIGH-LARIOUS.
2012: I dug Whitney Mercilus and thought there was a decent chance he’d be available when the Texans went on the clock, so I had zero problem with this pick at the time.
2013: I didn’t think there was any way DeAndre Hopkins would be available when the Texans’ turn came up. To this day, I don’t believe he would have been if not for the Rams trading up to select Tavon Austin; the sentiment at the time was that another team would take Austin early and many mocks had the Rams selecting Nuk had they stood pat. Thank you, Jeff Fisher.
2014: It was always Teddy Bridgewater for me. I didn’t have any real problem with Jadeveon Clowney and understood why he was widely considered the top prospect in the draft, but without a quarterback in the NFL, you’re generally not winning. I was convinced the Texans would and had to select a quarterback at No. 1.
2015: If memory servies, I believe I was all about getting a corner or an offensive lineman n the first round. I recall being bullish on Trae Waynes and Cam Erving. I liked Bud Dupree too, even though he wasn’t a corner or offensive lineman. The Kevin Johnson pick confused me—hadn’t read much about him before the draft—but I applauded the idea of spending a premium pick on a cornerback.
2016: Out of all the projected first round wideouts, Will Fuller was my least favorite. I dug Corey Coleman, Josh Doctson, and especially Laquon Treadwell much, much, MUCH more.
2017: I just remember being terrified the Texans would draft Patrick Mahomes. I liked DeShone Kizer a lot as well, so don’t think for a second I have any clue what I’m talking about.
2018: I was firmly on board with using that fourth overall pick on Deshaun Watson. I have a good feeling about that kid.
We all have thoughts and feelings about the draft. So, so many feelings. Fill the comments with yours and let us know your honest assessment of Texans Picks Gone By. Did you scream J.J. WHAT?!?! Were u mad bro when they didn’t make a run at Bridgewater? Did you believe in David Carr? Why did you do that?