Texans 2006 NFL Draft
By Brad Lorkovic ( aka LORK 88 )
Draft Day. Out of all the days in off season, none is more important for Houston than April 23rd. Just like in the past years, it will be the day in which the Texans search for the next Dunta Robinson or Andre Johnson. With the number 1 pick in the draft, there is even more pressure for them to pick an amazing player. Luckily, this is the year were there are as many as 8 franchise players in this draft. With all the emphasis on the draft that Houston places, I thought I'd discuss some tendencies, needs, misconceptions, and some players to watch.
First off, Houston hardly ever drafts Best Player Available. They 99% of the time will draft the player they need more, even if it’s a few picks to high. The results tend to be very mixed when this strategy is in place. In 2004, we got Dunta Robinson who was said to of been picked between pick 15 – 20. However, it landed us Travis Johnson last year who didn’t show us much last season. However, the way to look at this is that Houston knows what they need and go out and get it. Second, they like to draft small school prospects. Last year, out of 6 picks that Houston had, they used 3 picks on what could be considered small school prospects (Mathis, Brown, Pettway). They also like taking players like Jammal Lord, a college QB, and convert them to other positions that they feel they can be effective at. The last thing the Texans like to do on draft day is trade. In 2004, they traded up for another 1st so they could get Jason Babin. In 2005, they traded down for Travis Johnson and also traded for Phillip Buchanon. To put it simply, Houston has made 3 major draft trades the past 2 years, and with the #1 pick overall in every round, you can imagine that those trade offers will be flying in. Also, after a disastrous season last year, Houston has multiple positional needs so you can imagine they’ll be looking to trade down if anything.
Team Needs -
The way I see it, Houston has 1 huge need, and a bunch of positions that can easily be (and need to be) upgraded. The biggest need that I think Houston has is OT. In 4 seasons, Houston has allowed 208 sacks, most of which have been on David Carr. After OL, the next needs Houston has is at WR and CB. WR is probably the 2nd biggest need because we released Corey Bradford and Jabar Gaffney, our #2 and #3 WRs. To offset this, Houston has only brought in a former 7th round pick in Kevin Walter. Houston showed interest in big name FAs like David Givens and Nate Burleson too, which shows that we have big interest at the position. A #2 CB is also in order. It could be Faggins or Buchanon, but don’t be surprised if more competition at the position is brought in. TE, LB, and DE aren’t major needs, but do fall into the next tier. There has been FA activity at these positions, but additional depth would be very welcomed at all 3 positions because of the switch back to the 4-3, and the new emphasis on the TE as a receiver.
Probably the biggest misinterpretation is the thought that Houston can take the BPA this year. However, what people don’t understand, is that Houston can’t afford to waste picks on wants, and needs to focus on building a solid core before they can start thinking about drafting BPA. Another mistaken belief about Houston is their QB. For some reason, people think that Houston will take a QB because of how “horrible” Carr is. What people need to understand however, is that he got extended and is on his back before he can get a throw of 2 times out of 3. He tends to get rattled, but if you give him time to throw, he can put the ball where it needs to be and can lead this team. The last fault most people make would have to be about Domanick Davis, saying he's injury prone, weak, and more of a 3rd down back. I'm sorry, but in just 3 years of being in the league, he's rushed for 3195 yards, has 1276 yards receiving, and 28 total touchdowns.
Players To Watch –
D’Brickashaw Ferguson, LT, Virginia is one option could look at pick #1. Ferguson is being compared to Orlando Pace, a 7 time pro bowler, and is said to be the best OT prospect in years. Reggie Bush, RB, USC is another prospect as well. He is quick, shifty, fast, and the Heisman winner. While Houston doesn’t have a need at RB, people still think he’s too good to pass up. Mario Williams, DE, NC State and AJ Hawk are the dark horses to be picked by Houston. Williams is insanely big and fast, and is being called the next Julius Peppers. Hawk is the best LB in the draft with great intangibles and instincts. He’s a leader on the field and always plays with intensity. Its unlikely, but if Houston wants a QB, they have their choice between Matt Leinart, QB, USC; Vince Young, QB, UT; and Jay Cutler, QB, Vanderbilt. Leinart is the winner who has everything you look for in a pro-type QB and is being compared to Tom Brady. Young is very athletic and fast, and is the best dual threat QB to come out since Vick. Cutler is the underdog who didn’t get much interest during the season because of his team. However, he has a very strong arm and is a smart leader.
Miscellaneous Comments -
Houston is a team that depends on the draft rather than free agency so don't be surprised when they make some big moves in the draft. Also, Houston is a team that has a plan and sticks to it when it comes to the draft. They smokescreen leading up to it like all franchises do, but they usually go by what they need. If they say they will do something, then they will. Unfortunately, this is what has gotten us in trouble because it seems like sometimes we don’t have a backup plan. Luckily, Casserly (our GM), won’t be making the calls on the picks. However, Houston is a smart, honest organization and I wish them the best of luck on this upcoming season. Go Texans!