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Old 03-18-2007   #1
Hervoyel
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Default Drafts that didn't happen

Some guys like "What if?" Draft threads and some guys don't. If it's not your nature to wonder what might have been or if you think it's a stupid excercise in futility I respect that. There are plenty of David Carr threads to read so don't bother looking that this one if that's the case.

I personally tend to linger over the mistakes when they're mistakes that I can't account for, when they're mistakes that I myself can honestly say I'd have not made. I'd like to look over the Texans previous drafts (understanding that the Texans front office responsible for the lions share of it is gone) and see what might very well have happened.

I'm never going to cover everyone who was a Texan. I'm going to focus on a core of players and what might have been. I'm never going to to cover everyone the Texans might have selected. That's because I'm no draft guru. I'm just a fan who makes his fair share of mistakes and sometimes thinks I know better than the powers that be. Where the Texans are concerned I'm afraid to say that I might even be a little right about that.

2002

Expansion Draft

Starting with the expansion draft of 2002 I think everyone looked on the team with a lot of optimism. Unlike the Browns had done we racked up a pretty tight core of players in our expansion draft and it really looked like we were going to be doing this the right way. In the expansion draft we landed a number of starters on defense and two most important projected starters on offense. Outside of Boselli and Young however I don't think the Texans really thought they'd done anything to address the offense. The expansion draft was all about one side of the ball. I also think that the Texans knew at that point that they were going to pick David Carr first overall and that put them on the path to picking Young and Boselli. If you're going to build around a rookie QB that seems to be the right track (based on those players being healthy and the Texans options at the time). Here are the players of note that we took in the expansion draft.

Offense
Tony Boselli
Ryan Young

Defense
Aaron Glen
Marcus Coleman
Gary Walker
Seth Payne
Matt Stevens
Jamie Sharper

Taking the "bookend tackles" was widely thought of as a brilliant move at the time and the fact that both of them are out of football now just demonstrates how badly that idea turned out. Call the expansion draft a complete wash on the offensive side of the ball. The only offensive player we ever got anything out of was Danny Wuerffel who we were able to trade to Washington for Jerry DeLoach. He was solid if unspectacular for our defense in it's early years. As a matter of fact I'm going to add him to the expansion draft list since his arrival was technically a result of that draft.

Free agency and trades netted us Steve McKinney, Jay Foreman, Kailee Wong, Jeff Posey, Moran Norris, Kenny Wright, Corey Bradford, and Billy Miller.

2002 Draft

Hindsight is 20/20 but stop for a second and imagine that the Texans had grabbed Peppers with the first overall pick in 2002 like they clearly should have.

Then take Portis instead of Gaffney in the 2nd round because lets be honest here, nobody in their right mind was jumping up and down hoping that the Texans would say "Jabbar Gaffney" when they came up to the podium.

Finally we go ahead and take Chester Pitts with our next choice at #50 and the rest of the draft plays out like it did (except obviously Jonathan Wells probably doesn't become a Texan if Clinton Portis was taken in the 2nd round).

This means we just started our franchise with the following players as our initial core


Offense

QB:Tony Banks (FA)
RB:Clinton Portis (02)
FB:Moran Norris (FA)
WR:Corey Bradford (FA)
WR:Jermaine Lewis (EX)
TE:Billy Miller (FA)
LT:Chester Pitts (02)
LG:Ryan Schau (FA)
C:Steve McKinney (FA)
RG:Fred Weary (02)
RT:journeyman rotation (FA)

Defense (3-4)

DE:Julius Peppers (02)
DT:Seth Payne (EX)
DE:Gary Walker (EX)
LB:Jamie Sharper (EX)
LB:Kailee Wong (FA)
LB:Jay Foreman (FA)
LB:Jeff Posey (FA)
FS:Matt Stevens (EX)
SS:Eric Brown (FA)
CB:Aaron Glenn (EX)
CB:Marcus Coleman (EX)

That's about how I see the team in 2002 if this scenario played out. It's pretty much the same defense that we had that year and they played well. It's clearly still the strength of the team in my version. In that respect not much has changed here. and it's easy to see that the Texans options were very limited at this point.

The offense however is going to be very different (but will arrive at the same results). Probably James Allen still splits time with the rookie (only this time the rookie is Portis) and I think it's likely that the two of them don't account for much more than the yards Allen and Wells produced. The poor running game in 2002 was much more the result of the pitiful offensive line than any other factor. Again we have Corey Bradford and Billy Miller catching the ball and again we have relatively poor pass protection. What is different is that without David Carr the Texans have to start Tony Banks. The net result is (IMO) possibly one more win and at least twenty fewer sacks. The difference between a veteran and a rookie would never find a better stage to be compared upon. No we don't suddenly develop a feared passing game. Banks manages games for the Texans and not much more. What he does for us is to provide veteran leadership (albeit veteran journeyman leadership) and so the Texans offense isn't quite as inept in my "do-over" as it was in the real 2002.

Ultimately your QB is still going to be beaten up. The point is that you're getting Tony Banks beaten up and not your expensive first round draft pick who you plan to build your "dynasty" around beaten up.

Still, assume another 4-12 record and the exact same draft position as in reality





2003 Draft

Clearly we're taking Andre Johnson again with the third overall pick. That's obviously something we did right in reality. In the second round we again take Bennie Joppru (Nobody could have predicted the series of injuries he suffered and we needed a true multi-skill TE). In the third round we landed Antwan Peek (67) with our first pick of the round Following this the Texans departed from reality. With pick #75 they chose Seth Wand and the Texans faithful collectively went "Who?". Still in the third round they inexplicably took Dave Ragone at #88

This is the one pick I take exception to in the 2003 draft. It made no sense. Today, looking back it still makes no sense. With holes up and down our roster Charlie Casserly made a selection that defied explanation. Now, in my revised scenario we didn't take David Carr first overall so we aren't taking "another QB" and we're not taking one that we don't need. If we do take a QB here we probably don't intend to start him in 2003.

In keeping with my desire to not simply cherry pick past drafts I'm going to say that QB is as valid a choice as any here but I'm also going to state that I can't in my wildest dreams imagine taking Dave Ragone over Chris Simms. Simms was the next QB taken. I also can't imagine the Texans not paying attention to the play of their safeties the previous season. It was clear to most everyone I spoke with at the time that the Texans were hurting at the safety position. Don't we all remember the Matt Stevens tirades of 2002 and 2003? Instead of Dave Ragone (out of football I believe) I'm going to take Todd Johnson who was picked 12 spots after we took a QB we didn't need. He starts for Chicago right now. Maybe he's not the best Safety in the world but we could certainly have used him.

The first day ended weird IMO. Still I'm going to go ahead and say that with the exception of the Ragone pick it all stands. On the second day of the draft things got better with the selection of Domanick Davis (101) in the fourth and Drew Henson (192) in the 6th. The Henson pick would eventually land us a higher pick in a later draft and Domanick Davis (Williams) was a real steal at the spot he was taken. In the "Clinton Portis sporting Texans" Domanick Davis becomes the third down back and special teams player he was originally envisioned to be.

Going into the 2003 season our "core" of players improves as follows:


Offense

QB:Tony Banks (FA)
RB:Clinton Portis (02)
FB:Moran Norris (FA)
WR:Andre Johnson (03)
WR:Corey Bradford(FA)
TE:Billy Miller (FA)
LT:Chester Pitts (02)
LG: Milford Brown (02S)
C:Steve McKinney (FA)
RG:Fred Weary (02)
RT:Zack Weigert (FA)

Defense (3-4)

DE:Julius Peppers (02)
DT:Seth Payne (EX)
DE:Gary Walker (EX)
LB:Jamie Sharper (EX)
LB:Kailee Wong (FA)
LB:Antwan Peek (03)
LB:Jay Foreman (FA)
FS:Todd Johnson (03)
SS:Eric Brown (FA)
CB:Aaron Glenn (EX)
CB:Marcus Coleman (EX)

The "core" is getting a little better. We play the 2003 season (again with Tony Banks as our starter) and IMO we again win one more game than we did in our first season. The rash of defensive injuries we had in 2003 was impossible to predict and if it happened again the results would be the same. What I do think would have happened in 2003 is that the offense would have been better equipped to pulls it's share of the load with an improved running game and the added threat of Andre Johnson. Still, 5-11 is probably about right.
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Old 03-18-2007   #2
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Default Re: Drafs that didn't happen

2004 Draft

Dunta Robinson has the distinction of being the last "no-brainer" draft pick that Charlie Casserly got right. I have no problem whatsoever with our first, first round pick. Things get screwy IMO when Casserly decides to give the rest of our first day away for Jason Babin. This was a stupid move that has never paid off and never will. To add insult to injury we helped a division rival while hurting ourselves. The second, third, and fourth round picks we gave up to get him were the first real evidence that this "brain trust" didn't have a clue what it was doing. Instead of making that trade I'm going to simply make my picks and again to try and avoid the temptation of cherry picking I'm going to start out with what Tennessee took with those picks. In the second round they added TE Ben Troupe (40), in the third DT Randy Starks (71), and in the fourth DT Bo Schobel(103).

Of those three picks I can see us taking Troupe at 40 if Joppru had just missed his rookie season with an injury (as he did). I find it a little unlikely though. There's a ton of ways to go here but if we'd simply taken the TE that the Titans chose we would have hit the ball out of the park compared to what we found ourselves sitting on with Babin. Since Joppru again hurt himself this would have been an excellent move for us.

Following that I can see is taking Randy Starks in the third. Figure we go ahead and take the same guy the Titans took in the fourth and he works out no better for us than he did for them.

The rest of the way out we landed Glenn Earl in the fourth but otherwise nobody of note.

By not making that trade we're now looking like this:

Offense

QB: Chris Simms (03)
RB: Clinton Portis (02)
FB: Moran Norris (FA)
WR: Andre Johnson (02)
WR: Corey Bradford (FA)
TE: Ben Troupe (04)
LT: Seth Wand (03)
LG: Chester Pitts (02)
C: Steve McKinney (FA)
RG: Fred Weary (02)
RT: Todd Wade (FA)

Defense (3-4)

DE: Julius Peppers (02)
DT: Seth Payne (EX)
DE: Gary Walker (EX)
LB: Jamie Sharper (EX)
LB: Kailee Wong (FA)
LB: Antwan Peek (FA)
LB: Shante Orr (FA)
FS: Todd Johnson (03)
SS: Marcus Coleman (EX)
CB: Aaron Glenn(EX)
CB: Dunta Robinson (04)

Ok, so in my world Chriss Sims and Seth Wand are both ready to play by the 2004 season (Wand did start that year and played very much in the same neighborhood as Chester Pitts in 2002). Ben Troupe starts at TE over Billy Miller but I expect they both share time. Wand starting at LT allows Pitts to finally move inside to LG.

I haven't a doubt in my mind that this team could equal the 7-9 record put up by the real 2004 Texans.


2005 Draft

Well here we are at the Travis Johnson fiasco and the last truly horrible Casserly draft. This one (IMO) set me on an unalterable course of hating Charlie and dreading the draft (as long as he was involved). In the first round there's simply no excuse for trading down and not taking Derrick Johnson when he fell to us. Taking into account the "He doesn't fit in our defense" argument lets look at players like Alex Barron, Marcus Spears, or even Matt Jones. Any one of those guys could probably have started for us and had more of an impact than Travis Johnson. Our first round pick was literally thrown away in 2005.

In round two we didn't have a pick (Thanks Phillip Buchanon) but I don't make that trade to begin with. I'm not claiming that I have some kind of special ability to see the future. I'm claiming that I bother to look at film on him. Nobody who had any idea who Phillip Buchanon was makes that trade. Assuming we still have our 2 I take a RT there and it's likely either Adam Terry, Khalif Barnes, or Marcus Johnson. Lets say it's Adam Terry. At the worst he's better depth than we've had at that spot for most of our existence.

in round three we got Vernand Morency. This pick was another "Huh?" because for all intents and purposes we appeared to have drafted a player we already had (in Domanick Davis). Since "my Texans" are fine at RB with Portis carrying the load and Davis playing as a third down back (as he was originally intended to do) I pass on Morency and bolster my line depth with Evan Mathis who eventually went to Carolina 6 picks back from Morency. In the fourth we took Jerome Mathis which gave us the return man we all wanted Moses to be. The rest of the draft went Drew Hodgdon (5th), C.C. Brown (6th), Kenneth Pettway (7th).

Following the 2005 draft things look like this

Offense

QB: Chris Simms (03)
RB: Clinton Portis (02)
FB: Moran Norris (FA)
WR: Andre Johnson (03)
WR: Corey Bradford/Jerome Mathis (FA/05)
TE: Ben Troupe (04)
LT: Seth Wand (03)
LG: Chester Pitts (03)
C: Steve McKinney (FA)
RG: Fred Weary (02)
RT: Todd Wade (FA)

Defense (3-4)

DE: Julius Peppers (02)
DT: Seth Payne (EX)
DE: Robaire Smith) (FA)
LB: Jamie Sharper (EX), Morlon Greenwood (FA)
LB: Kailee Wong (FA)
LB: Antwan Peek (03)
LB: Derrick Johnson (05)
FS: Todd Johnson (03
SS: Marcus Coleman (EX)
CB: Aaron Glenn (EX)
CB: Dunta Robinson (04)

Now keep in mind that other players come and go. On this hypothetical Texans team guys get old, get passed on the depth chart, and lose a step. I'm mostly trying to track the "drafted core" (including the expansion draft) and trying to come up with a idea of where the Texans would be if they'd not made a handful of really stupid moves. With Gary Walkers injury issues we probably go ahead and make the (relatively bad) move to sign Robaire Smith or we make do with the depth we have. I'm sure we continue to look for alternatives to Corey Bradford on offense in here and the RT position is really covered by the better of either Zack Weigert or Todd Wade.

The collapse happens (in reality, I dont' think this team has that same collapse personally) so we throw out the coaching staff and GM (Wait a second, in this case that's ME!) and in comes Kubiak (with Smith showing up post draft)


2006 Draft

Here it is, the Reggie Bush/Vince Young draft of drafts where the Texans couldn't possibly miss but seemed to anyway. Lets first look at the draft as it was and see what that does to my core

Mario Williams, DeMeco Ryans, Charles Spencer, Eric Winston, Owen Daniels, Wali Lundy, and David Anderson


Offense

QB: Chris Simms (03)
RB: Clinton Portis (02), Domanick Davis (03), Wali Lundy (06)
FB: Moran Norris (FA)
WR: Andre Johnson (03, David Anderson (06)
WR: Eric Moulds (FA), Jerome Mathis (05)
TE: Ben Troupe (04), Owen Daniels (06)
LT: Charles Spencer (06), Seth Wand (03)
LG: Chester Pitts (02),
C: Steve McKinney (FA), Drew Hodgdon (05)
RG: Fred Weary (02)
RT: Eric Winston (06), Zack Weigert (FA)

Defense (4-3)

DE: Julius Peppers (02)
DT: Seth Payne (EX)
DT: Anthony Weaver (FA)
DE: Mario Williams (06)
LB: Morlon Greenwood (FA), Kailee Wong (FA)
LB: DeMeco Ryans (06)
LB: Derrick Johnson (05)
FS: Todd Johnson (03)
SS: Glenn Earl (04)
CB: Aaron Glenn (FA), DeMarcus Faggins (02)
CB: Dunta Robinson (03)


Ok, now look at that core and depth. It's not everybody on the team (it's only 32 players) and I'm sure it's missing some significant people. The rest is depth and special teams players and I'm aware of their importance.

This is supposed to just be a look at the core of the Houston Texans though. Is it just me or does that not look to pitiful? On offense I imagine the miles are starting pile up on Portis but he's still a viable RB. We go ahead and sign Eric Moulds to play opposite of Andre Johnson and I have no doubt that his looks and catches are an improvement over what they were last season on the real Texans. We still have Moran Norris at FB if I'm calling the shots. The offensive line is IMO a strength and not a weakness here (particularly if we add a center who isn't old and injury prone like Flanagan).

On defense we see that Seth Payne's age has him "transitioning" into a temporary solution. The same thing holds true with Aaron Glenn in my opinion. Our defensive line and linebackers are definitely a force however and I think we see the Texans defense getting to the QB a lot more than they did last year in the real world. The improved pressure would translate into better secondary play.

In short I think they approach 8 wins like this (taking into account that this is their first year in their new offensive and defensive systems).

That's all assuming that Gary Kubiak and Mike Sherman don't throw a bunch of them away in favor of Denver and Green Bay retreads of course.
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Old 03-18-2007   #3
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Default Re: Drafs that didn't happen

You still would have wasted away a QB by not upgrading that line. More than likely those QB's would have been hurt behind that line and injured so we would need quality backups. I'm not saying your analysis was bad, but it's one of the fatal mistakes the Texans have made. Although the Babin and Buchanon trades were daggers.

I'll research a little and give you mine, you can fire me up as well
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Old 03-18-2007   #4
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Default Re: Drafs that didn't happen

But how does DC do at Carolina!!!!!j/k

thanks though i always wanted to do 1 of these personally
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Old 03-18-2007   #5
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Default Re: Drafts that didn't happen

Nice work Herv! Great post. My only concern would be if Peppers would fit as a 3-4 DE. It seems like his pass rushing ability wouldn't be emphasized in a 3-4. Other than that though the Texans look great with you as their GM.

I know you didn't second guess the draft choices of last years draft, but if things had played out like you suggested it would seem to me like VY would've been a legitimate possibility at #1 if Simms career in Houston played out like it has in Tampa Bay.
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Old 03-18-2007   #6
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Default Re: Drafts that didn't happen

In the '06 draft you would not be able to still get Winston and Spencer because you did not make the trade down in the '05 draft that got us TJ and the extra 3rd round pick! We could assume we still make the trade BUT since Simms is a lefty we need to protect his blindside so we get Barron instead of TJ in '05. Then in the 3rd round in '06 we get Spencer and with the 2nd 3rd rounder we get some secondary help, like: Ashton Youboty or Ko Simpson (who many were hoping that we would pick up)
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Old 03-18-2007   #7
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Default Re: Drafts that didn't happen

What if in 2005 instead of swapping picks with the Saints after which we picked Travis Johnson and they picked OT Jamal Brown with our 13th, we had picked Brown ourselves. Would he be an all-pro left takle like he is in New Orleans? I doubt it.
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Old 03-18-2007   #8
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Default Re: Drafts that didn't happen

speaking of that.. Winston wouldn't have been drafted if we got DJ (we gained that 3rd trading back)


but good analysis herv!
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Old 03-18-2007   #9
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Default Re: Drafts that didn't happen

Great post. I've been looking at a couple of draft guides that show in our first three years we had 33 picks, 16 of those are out of football. Unbelievable how horrible that is considreing how high we were drafting. And it isn't Monday morning QBing when fans year after year mock draft and do better than the prevous regime.
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Old 03-18-2007   #10
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Default Re: Drafts that didn't happen

In 2002 if the Texans had drafted Julius Peppers instead of David Carr it is impossible to predict accurately the remainder of the draft, because the conditions that lead Carolina to pick Julius Peppers with their first pick have now changed. Who does Carolina pick now that Peppers is gone? The Alternate Draft would quickly diverge from the Actual Draft to the point that it is possible that Portis isn't available when the Texans pick again as you assumed that he would be. In addition, you can't predict what effect this Alternate Draft would have had on the future draft position of the Texans as you have assumed that they would still be able to pick Mario Williams in 2006.

Also Chris Simms would lose more than his spleen behind that crappy O-Line.
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Old 03-18-2007   #11
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Default Re: Drafts that didn't happen

The fact remains, our front office has done a horrible job, especially the first three years.
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Old 03-18-2007   #12
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Default Re: Drafts that didn't happen

Quote:
Originally Posted by NederlandTexan View Post
The fact remains, our front office has done a horrible job, especially the first three years.
The fact that Casserly had something against drafting in the 2nd and 3rd rd. killed us IMO...
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Old 03-18-2007   #13
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Default Re: Drafts that didn't happen

great post too bad its not located in the proper forum, J/K

actually its quite a painful recount of terrible foresight, questionable projections & inflated contracts.
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Old 03-18-2007   #14
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Default Re: Drafts that didn't happen

Great analysis.

The only thing I want to "nit-pick" is with the expansion draft. The Texans wanted Payne and Walker from the Jags, but not Boselli. Jacksonville said if we took Boselli, they would not pull the other two off the board. Worth the risk at the time.
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Old 03-18-2007   #15
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Default Re: Drafts that didn't happen

Quote:
Originally Posted by BattleRedToro View Post
In 2002 if the Texans had drafted Julius Peppers instead of David Carr it is impossible to predict accurately the remainder of the draft, because the conditions that lead Carolina to pick Julius Peppers with their first pick have now changed. Who does Carolina pick now that Peppers is gone? The Alternate Draft would quickly diverge from the Actual Draft to the point that it is possible that Portis isn't available when the Texans pick again as you assumed that he would be. In addition, you can't predict what effect this Alternate Draft would have had on the future draft position of the Texans as you have assumed that they would still be able to pick Mario Williams in 2006.

Also Chris Simms would lose more than his spleen behind that crappy O-Line.

The "Butterfly Effect" is essentially what causes any of these redrafts to fall apart, because we don't know what piece led to what action by another team. that said, this is one of better efforts of this type of exercise that I have seen.
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Old 03-18-2007   #16
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Default Re: Drafts that didn't happen

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Originally Posted by texasguy346 View Post
Nice work Herv! Great post. My only concern would be if Peppers would fit as a 3-4 DE. It seems like his pass rushing ability wouldn't be emphasized in a 3-4. Other than that though the Texans look great with you as their GM.

I know you didn't second guess the draft choices of last years draft, but if things had played out like you suggested it would seem to me like VY would've been a legitimate possibility at #1 if Simms career in Houston played out like it has in Tampa Bay.
I honestly think a better option would have been to ask Peppers to stay around 270 ish and play OLB. He is not the massive person that Mario williams is. peppers has more lateral and movement skills and even today Carolina asks him to drop in coverage from the DE spot. they have lined him up on offense at TE on occassion. It would have taken some creativity by the Texans staff to use Peppers in defense they wanted to run, but "pass rusher" is a spot where you do that if needed. Just like OLT we have not actuallly had one of those be above average in five years either. Note that Capers has figured out how to use a Hybrid 3/4-4/3 in Miami.
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Old 03-18-2007   #17
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Default Re: Drafts that didn't happen

Another consideration is that Chris Simms would have been a terrible pick for the Texans. If Casserly was going to take a QB with that pick, Ragone was a better fit for the Texans than Simms. After being unfairly treated by a lot of Longhorn fans who acted like idiots over the Applewhite-Simms competition, Chris Simms needed to leave the state of Texas for his pro career. The crap he would have endured in Houston or Dallas would have been unbearable.

I think Simms has a lot of potential and could be a really good NFL QB, but not playing for a team in Texas.
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Old 03-18-2007   #18
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Default Re: Drafts that didn't happen

Yeah there are quite a few mistakes in there. I didn't go to the trouble of really researching in detail where every pick came from and to be truly accurate I should have done that. I mainly wanted to just make a handful of changes on picks that I would have done differently and then seen where that took me in following drafts. Granted not every player I picked would have been a great fit for the 3-4 (Julius Peppers, Derrick Johnson) but then I guess one of the big things I question about the way we were built (along with taking a QB first overall) is deciding to go with the 3-4 defense from the very start.

I also don't debate that the QB would get banged up. 76 sacks in 2002 was, for the most part the fault of the offensive line. There's no getting around that. Some of those sacks were the result of David Carr being a rookie QB however and denying that is nothing but a biased lie. In my opinion some of those sacks were simply the result of David Carr. In 2003 David Carr was sacked 36 times and that was a dramatic improvement. How many times would Tony Banks or some other veteran FA quarterback be sacked during that season?

Mostly I wanted to stay wary of cherry picking the drafts. Anyone can go back and "re-draft" any year and come up with Pro Bowlers. I tried to stick with guys we legitimately had a shot at. I kept Joppru because honestly he wasn't a bad pick. The resulting years of IR were impossible to foresee.
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Old 03-18-2007   #19
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Default Re: Drafts that didn't happen

great post herv
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Old 03-18-2007   #20
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Default Re: Drafts that didn't happen

I don't think we would have been drafting so high after 2003, if Peppers was already on the team.

2003 we could have easily gone 9-7 or 10-6 and snagged the wild card from Miami in head-to-head.
( a playoff berth would have granted Tony Banks a pass on 2004 )

By 2005, we might have ended up with someone like Aaron Rodgers.
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