Originally Posted by Corrosion
I agree that RB is best left until the other things are in place due to shelf life.
I agree that there is a time to make that move.
Im not sure that I agree that now is that time because I think the majority of the troubles in the Texans ground attack are related to the interior OL.
Unless they can upgrade two of the three interior OL spots via draft or FA I'm not sold on the idea of an early round RB - especially in a draft devoid of "Special Players" at the position.
I can respect that take. We just disagree on where the line is.
After watching the Texans try to put together a line for most of a decade I've concluded that I'm looking for something to happen that's never going to happen. Who's "set" on their OL across the board in this league? Almost nobody I'd wager. Everyone's working a rookie in here or a free agent in there. Everybody loses a player in camp or during the season. Everybody's trying to get more out of the offensive line.
I watched the best running back I ever saw play behind a line that wasn't even as good as the one the Texans field these days. That was of course Earl Campbell but his line was just absolute garbage and no amount of fond memories can wipe that memory away. After Earl was almost entirely used up the Oilers got serious about drafting offensive linemen in a big, big way and before long put together what might very well be the best line I'll ever see play football in my lifetime. Then I watched a bunch of lesser backs do very little behind that line. R&S offense or not Mike Rozier, Alonzo Highsmith, Allen Pinkett, and Lorenzo White all looked pretty damned ordinary back there.
The way I see it the Texans line is good enough to get the job done in terms of personnel. You put a guy back there with some vision and some burst and you can make trouble for people. Slaton proved that in 2008 and Arian Foster drove home the concept over the last three weeks of 2009. Our running game is functional as it is with a back playing the system correctly. Now Foster was an UDFA but he looked pretty good back there. Not much speed but he made the cuts and he got the yards.. Slaton was a 3rd and appeared to be getting his running game back but just couldn't stop putting the ball on the ground. They're guys with obvious flaws but they're solid runners (when Slaton isn't fumbling).
I want to see what a legitimate franchise running back does behind this line. I predict that with a real back this group (assuming Pitts and Brisiel come back) are more than enough line to get it done. Nothing is absolute or without an exception to the rule but I think more often than not a great running back can go a long way towards hiding an offensive lines warts. At the same time I don't think there's a line in the world that can make a bad running back look good. It just doesn't happen.
That running back has to have something to begin with in order to take advantage of what he's given. He has to have some quality to leverage be it speed, "burst", vision, strength, what have you. We'll never get that guy though if we spend forever looking for the perfect replacement for every imperfect lineman we have.