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Old 05-01-2011   #1
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Default Observations after the Draft

Pete Prisco grades:
Houston Texans

Best pick: Second-round pick Brooks Reed fits in their 3-4. I think he can be a lot like Clay Matthews of the Packers.

Questionable move: Picking J.J. Watt in the first round instead of Prince Amukumara, but that's being nitpicky, especially since they later landed two corners.

Third-day gem: QB T.J. Yates. Matt Schaub is their quarterback, but this is nice developmental pick.

Analysis: They were dreadful on defense last season, but their top four picks should help change that. The first three all could be starters as rookies. Wade Phillips had to be happy. The Texans had a good draft.

Grade: A

Rob Rang grades:
Houston Texas: B

In fielding one of the league's worst defenses -- and certainly the NFL's least-reliable tackling units -- the Texans went to work on draft day investing their first five picks on that side of the ball. Even before drafting Wisconsin defensive end with the No. 11 overall pick, the Texans used the equivalent of a first-round pick in adding Wade Phillips as their defensive coordinator. His impact will be every bit as important to Houston's improvement defensively as Watt -- though the former Badger is a prototypical five-technique defensive end. I'm not as high on Arizona's Brooks Reed as some, but he does give the Texans competition with Brian Cushing and Connor Barwin as threats off the edge. The Texans did get nice value in former ACC cornerbacks Brandon Harris (Miami) and Rashad Carmichael (Virginia Tech) later in the draft and took a quarterback in North Carolina's T.J. Yates who demonstrated the leadership and intelligence that could someday make him a surprise starter in the NFL.

Adam Caplan Fox Sports grade:

Houston Texans: A

Analysis: Texans general manager Rick Smith finally started to address the Texans' woeful defense and he did so with the first five selections. The first two draftees should see plenty of time as rookies and the next two could start down the line. Yates could be veteran quarterback Matt Schaub’s eventual replacement in a few years.

Personally I think this is by far the Texans best draft since 2006. Only time will tell but the initial prognosis by several draft experts seem to agree with me.

I always felt and probably why I still have some faith in Kubiak is our offense under him always seemed to have a game plan. Whether we agreed or not he/they seemed to have a handle on what needed to be added/replaced to make things work. They seemed to know that 1st round picks weren't needed to make the running game work ala Arian Foster and Wade Smith. Who knew these 2 guys would make a major impact on the running game last year.

On defense was a completely different story. It didn't matter who they added although Cushing, Ryans, Smith and Williams were good players it never seemed to add up to a better defense. There never seemed to be a plan on how best to use these guys talents to make the whole better. I already see a big difference on the attitude of this with Philips in charge. Listening to Phillips and his new linebacker coach and secondary coaches talk at the recent draft news conferences, it sounds like they knew exactly what they wanted, needed and intend to do and more importantly got it.

The one thing that struck me about the past DC's is although they knew Mario was a big athletic freak, they didn't have a clue as to how to utilize him best. Listening to Philips, Kubiak, Smith and the NEW defensive assistants and reading between the lines, Philips knows exactly what he wants to do and they're going to put him in a place he's going to be the most disruptive. They haven't said where that'll be but whatever they feel is his best attributes, they are going to use him in a military sense as a shock and awe player. I think we are going to be shocked at the improvement of this defense.

The old DC's always seemed to be in a patch and repair mode. Ooooops the running defense sucks, pick up Pollard, oooops the passing defense sucks, oh crap, we don't know what to do now. With this draft I think Philips knows what he needs and got it. Maybe I'm a drinker but I'm really optimistic that the ship has direction for a change.
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Old 05-01-2011   #2
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Default Re: Observations after the Draft

If ever there was a time to drink the Texans it's now. I'm getting all juiced up for the season despite my best attempts not to. I'm dying for the a-holes in suits to get this lockout crap over with so we can get even more juiced by our FA signings, OTA's, mini camps and TC.
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Old 05-01-2011   #3
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Default Re: Observations after the Draft

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Originally Posted by DocBar View Post
If ever there was a time to drink the Texans it's now. I'm getting all juiced up for the season despite my best attempts not to. I'm dying for the a-holes in suits to get this lockout crap over with so we can get even more juiced by our FA signings, OTA's, mini camps and TC.
I agree.
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Old 05-01-2011   #4
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Default Re: Observations after the Draft

I think your post is a good one. I agreed with a lot of it.

For what we had to work with (draft position) and what was there (available players) I felt we did a great job of utilizing the situation to get what was needed AND to get guys who really do fit the Wade Phillips scheme.

There was never a "WTH?" moment for me. Such as taking three TEs, or grabbing some small school "project pick" that comes off as being Rick Smith trying to find his diamond-in-the-rough defensive back selection to make him look like a genius for finding raw but unknown talent.

I think Rick Smith was generally helping previous Texans d-coords along the path of selecting the defensive talent in our drafts. Until now. This year, the draft picks for defense were regular, "known" players from schools who traditionally have competitive programs. It felt like Wade Phillips had his list and stuck to it. The overall "feel," to me, was that it was a focused effort with a real plan in place.

This draft, IMO, was a Wade Phillips draft. If my hunch is correct, then that means Wade is practically going to be his own boss and can do what he wants and how he wants to do it--Some of you may say, "Duh! It IS his job," but I don't think previous d-coords under Kubiak really pulled every lever and hit every button as it pertained to all aspects of the defense. They were more like glorified assistants or "caretakers" if I could describe it in those ways. The previous d-coords were clueless and had to have their hands held. Wade is a big boy and can get this thing handled, IMO.

This could be a real turnaround and not the sham that has been propped up for so long.

It's as if Smithiak have finally thrown their hands up (maybe even forced to, by Bob McNair?) and relinquished total control of the team. I have no proof, it's just based on being here since day 1 and having witnessed every move this team has made.
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Old 05-01-2011   #5
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Default Re: Observations after the Draft

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@Adam_Schefter My day-after sense of the teams that had the top 5 drafts. 1. Buccaneers; 2. Cardinals; 3. Broncos; 4. Lions; 5. Texans. #knowmoreintwoyears about 5 hours ago
Schefter agrees as well.
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Old 05-01-2011   #6
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Default Re: Observations after the Draft

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Originally Posted by GP View Post
I think your post is a good one. I agreed with a lot of it.

For what we had to work with (draft position) and what was there (available players) I felt we did a great job of utilizing the situation to get what was needed AND to get guys who really do fit the Wade Phillips scheme.

There was never a "WTH?" moment for me. Such as taking three TEs, or grabbing some small school "project pick" that comes off as being Rick Smith trying to find his diamond-in-the-rough defensive back selection to make him look like a genius for finding raw but unknown talent.

I think Rick Smith was generally helping previous Texans d-coords along the path of selecting the defensive talent in our drafts. Until now. This year, the draft picks for defense were regular, "known" players from schools who traditionally have competitive programs. It felt like Wade Phillips had his list and stuck to it. The overall "feel," to me, was that it was a focused effort with a real plan in place.

This draft, IMO, was a Wade Phillips draft. If my hunch is correct, then that means Wade is practically going to be his own boss and can do what he wants and how he wants to do it--Some of you may say, "Duh! It IS his job," but I don't think previous d-coords under Kubiak really pulled every lever and hit every button as it pertained to all aspects of the defense. They were more like glorified assistants or "caretakers" if I could describe it in those ways. The previous d-coords were clueless and had to have their hands held. Wade is a big boy and can get this thing handled, IMO.

This could be a real turnaround and not the sham that has been propped up for so long.

It's as if Smithiak have finally thrown their hands up (maybe even forced to, by Bob McNair?) and relinquished total control of the team. I have no proof, it's just based on being here since day 1 and having witnessed every move this team has made.
Agreed 100%! I wasn't as pissed off as the previous drafts by Smithiak! I'm happy to see no small school projects, TEs, TE converted to WR or HB, reaches, etc.... I was glad that they tied up Kubiak & Smith until the 5th rd of the Draft! LOL
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Old 05-01-2011   #7
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Default Re: Observations after the Draft

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Originally Posted by phantom17 View Post
Agreed 100%! I wasn't as pissed off as the previous drafts by Smithiak! I'm happy to see no small school projects, TEs, TE converted to WR or HB, reaches, etc.... I was glad that they tied up Kubiak & Smith until the 5th rd of the Draft! LOL
What about TE's converted to DE?
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Old 05-01-2011   #8
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Default Re: Observations after the Draft

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Originally Posted by b0ng View Post
What about TE's converted to DE?

At his size, i'm not concerned about that at all.
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Old 05-01-2011   #9
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Default Re: Observations after the Draft

I did not want to make a new thread (as we have had so many the last couple days), so I will just post it here. What numbers go you think our new Texans will wear? Watt is 99. Reed wore 42 in college, Harris wore 1, Carmichael wore 21, Keo wore 10, Yates wore 13, Newton wore 72, and Ozougwu wore 95.
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Old 05-01-2011   #10
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Default Re: Observations after the Draft

I think I have a few observations I'd like to stick in here:
  • Lot of "high motor" "100% from whistle to whistle" guys especially the top two draft picks. I too would like to see our defense give a good consistent effort week in and week out
  • I am not a fan of them not grabbing somebody who could contribute to the return game in a big way as well as possibly contribute at secondary or WR. I don't think ST's did any favors for the rest of the team last year besides not blowing FG's.
  • When they said they liked Mitchell at the nose, they must not have been kidding. I was hoping they were kidding.
  • As has been pointed out there aren't any "I'm smarter than you" picks in the 2nd - 4th rounds like in previous years. I'm all for diamonds in the rough and draft projects, but I'd much rather them be relegated to the last 3 rounds.
  • Coaches seem less comfortable with the QB2 slot than they are the WR4/5 spot. I'm fine with that as Dan O is a failed reclamation project at this point. Not sure if they keep Leinart, as I'm sure there are a few teams who are going to pay him a lot more than he is worth.
  • I think Reed has the best shot out of all the rookies to be in the mix for DROY for 2011.
  • I think one of the rookie DB's will snatch up the nickel spot.
  • I think TJ Yates will be the next JDB, who was the next Alex Brink who was the next Jared Zebransky.
  • JJ Watt has the opportunity to be the most beloved player on the D-Line if he lives up to the intensity/motor hype. The only downside is I don't think he's going to be in a position that gets a lot of stats that we can point at.
  • Out of the AFCS I think the Texans had the best draft and that the Jaguars had the worst draft. It's entirely because I don't think much of the QB class this year and I will grade them as such. I really like the Bengals for taking Dalton when they did and I imagine the Jags could've gotten some D-line help they need and still picked up a QB like Dalton/Kaepernick/Mallett. I have Gabbert as a better prospect than those three, but not such a good prospect that I'm giving up high draft picks to move up and get him when these guys could be had in the 2nd. I'm 50/50 on whether JDR will start Gabbert this year or not since he is supposedly on the hot seat and that might seriously hinder/help his development. I think the Titans took less of a risk with picking Locker at their pick since they weren't giving up anything to take him there. They came away with more players than J-ville did so they were able to address at least a few more things than the Jags were. I can't believe they didn't take any one of the myriad of great End talents there were in this draft.
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Old 05-01-2011   #11
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Default Re: Observations after the Draft

Quote:
Originally Posted by b0ng View Post
I think I have a few observations I'd like to stick in here:
  • Lot of "high motor" "100% from whistle to whistle" guys especially the top two draft picks. I too would like to see our defense give a good consistent effort week in and week out
  • I am not a fan of them not grabbing somebody who could contribute to the return game in a big way as well as possibly contribute at secondary or WR. I don't think ST's did any favors for the rest of the team last year besides not blowing FG's.
  • When they said they liked Mitchell at the nose, they must not have been kidding. I was hoping they were kidding.
  • As has been pointed out there aren't any "I'm smarter than you" picks in the 2nd - 4th rounds like in previous years. I'm all for diamonds in the rough and draft projects, but I'd much rather them be relegated to the last 3 rounds.
  • Coaches seem less comfortable with the QB2 slot than they are the WR4/5 spot. I'm fine with that as Dan O is a failed reclamation project at this point. Not sure if they keep Leinart, as I'm sure there are a few teams who are going to pay him a lot more than he is worth.
  • I think Reed has the best shot out of all the rookies to be in the mix for DROY for 2011.
  • I think one of the rookie DB's will snatch up the nickel spot.
  • I think TJ Yates will be the next JDB, who was the next Alex Brink who was the next Jared Zebransky.
  • JJ Watt has the opportunity to be the most beloved player on the D-Line if he lives up to the intensity/motor hype. The only downside is I don't think he's going to be in a position that gets a lot of stats that we can point at.
  • Out of the AFCS I think the Texans had the best draft and that the Jaguars had the worst draft. It's entirely because I don't think much of the QB class this year and I will grade them as such. I really like the Bengals for taking Dalton when they did and I imagine the Jags could've gotten some D-line help they need and still picked up a QB like Dalton/Kaepernick/Mallett. I have Gabbert as a better prospect than those three, but not such a good prospect that I'm giving up high draft picks to move up and get him when these guys could be had in the 2nd. I'm 50/50 on whether JDR will start Gabbert this year or not since he is supposedly on the hot seat and that might seriously hinder/help his development. I think the Titans took less of a risk with picking Locker at their pick since they weren't giving up anything to take him there. They came away with more players than J-ville did so they were able to address at least a few more things than the Jags were. I can't believe they didn't take any one of the myriad of great End talents there were in this draft.
I agree on all points. Well done!
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Old 05-01-2011   #12
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Default Re: Observations after the Draft

Quote:
Originally Posted by GP View Post
I think Rick Smith was generally helping previous Texans d-coords along the path of selecting the defensive talent in our drafts. Until now. This year, the draft picks for defense were regular, "known" players from schools who traditionally have competitive programs. It felt like Wade Phillips had his list and stuck to it. The overall "feel," to me, was that it was a focused effort with a real plan in place.

This draft, IMO, was a Wade Phillips draft. If my hunch is correct, then that means Wade is practically going to be his own boss and can do what he wants and how he wants to do it--Some of you may say, "Duh! It IS his job," but I don't think previous d-coords under Kubiak really pulled every lever and hit every button as it pertained to all aspects of the defense. They were more like glorified assistants or "caretakers" if I could describe it in those ways. The previous d-coords were clueless and had to have their hands held. Wade is a big boy and can get this thing handled, IMO.

It's as if Smithiak have finally thrown their hands up (maybe even forced to, by Bob McNair?) and relinquished total control of the team. I have no proof, it's just based on being here since day 1 and having witnessed every move this team has made.
I understand why after years of frustration folks are reluctant to give Kubiak and Smith any credit and why the popular position is to only offer compliments on the is draft along side and insult, but thI find it unnecessary.

Kubiak, Smith, and McNair have asserted form day one that the GM is guided by the coaches assessments and that Kubiak values the input of all of his coaches. I the defensive coaches assess talent on the team incorrectly and have no real idea how to construct a defense, then player acquisition is screwed form day one. From Phillips' first news conference, this team has stated that his mastery of his system, his knowledge of the talent needed to make his system work, and his ability to effectively use talent were a major change in this team's approach to defense. As Lance Z was stating time and again, the team had no one on staff who knew how to construct a defense. Now they do.

Here is Phillips commenting on the experience in the war room:
Quote:
I was impressed with the way we did the draft. All the scenarios we’ve been through before.* Every single one of them that got to our point, we had gone through so I was impressed the way Rick (Smith) did it and Gary (Kubiak) and how they set it up. We had a lot of discussions. I’ve been with teams where we had a lot of arguments. These were discussions. People made their points. We came down to our final decision and we think it’s a really good one for us.

http://www.houstontexans.com/news/ar...1-685b40b6a7cf
This doesn't mean Kubiak or Smith gave up power or sat in a corner thumb sucking. They did what they usually do and what Phillips himself said they did: they had group discussion about who to select and did so accordingly. I know folks are gonna dismiss Phillips own words on the matter in lieu of their favorite theories, but really.... This was a team effort, a good draft for the team and evidence that, with the correct staff in the room, the Texans organization process works smoothly, something Phillips was very complementary of and clearly stated.

Compare what Phillips said to what Frank Bush said when Cushing was drafted:
Quote:
As the defensive coordinator, of course, I would say that. Defensively, we have to have some guys that we are targeting, some guys that we like. Of course, defensive tackles are a part of that, but throughout the entire defense we like a lot of players on the board. We are going to keep doing our homework and see what happens as this draft works its way through, and, hopefully, we can come up with another good player....

Well, you’re right he was my guy ever since I watched him early in this season and throughout the combine.

http://www.houstontexans.com/news/ar...3-73343293698A
All the coaches get a say in the draft (it is easy to check this by looking the April press conferences for each year Kubiak has been with the team). Cushing was as much Bush's pick as Watt is Phillips. The difference, I think, is that Phillips really is a guru at what he does and knows how to evaluate and use talent. And Kubiak and Smith have the good sense to know their own limitations and defer to the expertise of the coaches who should know better.

Of course, we won't really now until there is on field production. But for now, I am glad for all of the team. And for me, the negative that comes to mind, is just how clueless the previous D-coordinators were.

I know people rarely let evidence, or lack there of, get in the way of their favorite prognostication, but I just wanted to get this out there.
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Old 05-01-2011   #13
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Default Re: Observations after the Draft

Quote:
Originally Posted by b0ng View Post
I think I have a few observations I'd like to stick in here:
  • Lot of "high motor" "100% from whistle to whistle" guys especially the top two draft picks. I too would like to see our defense give a good consistent effort week in and week out
This is one aspect I like a lot. I know the Texans are no stranger to drafting guys with high motors, but I like to hear this said about guys with lots of athletic ability. These aren't players who just get by on their motor. The motor is in addition to the other things they bring to the table.
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Old 05-01-2011   #14
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Default Re: Observations after the Draft

Quote:
Originally Posted by MojoX View Post
I understand why after years of frustration folks are reluctant to give Kubiak and Smith any credit and why the popular position is to only offer compliments on the is draft along side and insult, but thI find it unnecessary.

Kubiak, Smith, and McNair have asserted form day one that the GM is guided by the coaches assessments and that Kubiak values the input of all of his coaches. I the defensive coaches assess talent on the team incorrectly and have no real idea how to construct a defense, then player acquisition is screwed form day one. From Phillips' first news conference, this team has stated that his mastery of his system, his knowledge of the talent needed to make his system work, and his ability to effectively use talent were a major change in this team's approach to defense. As Lance Z was stating time and again, the team had no one on staff who knew how to construct a defense. Now they do.

Here is Phillips commenting on the experience in the war room:

This doesn't mean Kubiak or Smith gave up power or sat in a corner thumb sucking. They did what they usually do and what Phillips himself said they did: they had group discussion about who to select and did so accordingly. I know folks are gonna dismiss Phillips own words on the matter in lieu of their favorite theories, but really.... This was a team effort, a good draft for the team and evidence that, with the correct staff in the room, the Texans organization process works smoothly, something Phillips was very complementary of and clearly stated.

Compare what Phillips said to what Frank Bush said when Cushing was drafted:


All the coaches get a say in the draft (it is easy to check this by looking the April press conferences for each year Kubiak has been with the team). Cushing was as much Bush's pick as Watt is Phillips. The difference, I think, is that Phillips really is a guru at what he does and knows how to evaluate and use talent. And Kubiak and Smith have the good sense to know their own limitations and defer to the expertise of the coaches who should know better.

Of course, we won't really now until there is on field production. But for now, I am glad for all of the team. And for me, the negative that comes to mind, is just how clueless the previous D-coordinators were.

I know people rarely let evidence, or lack there of, get in the way of their favorite prognostication, but I just wanted to get this out there.
I understand your point, but if you don't think Wade Phillips is in charge of this team, and was in charge of this draft, you're kidding yourself. Sure, they "all got a say." But that doesn't really mean anything. You know how Gary loves drafting offensive players. He barely got one offensive player in this draft. If you don't think he was in the corner pissed off, you're kidding yourself.

Wade works for Bob McNair. No one else.
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Old 05-01-2011   #15
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Default Re: Observations after the Draft

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Originally Posted by b0ng View Post
What about TE's converted to DE?
This probably put a smile on Kube's face when Wade picked JJ Watts!
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Old 05-01-2011   #16
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Default Re: Observations after the Draft

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Originally Posted by houstonspartan View Post
I understand your point, but if you don't think Wade Phillips is in charge of this team, and was in charge of this draft, you're kidding yourself. Sure, they "all got a say." But that doesn't really mean anything. You know how Gary loves drafting offensive players. He barely got one offensive player in this draft. If you don't think he was in the corner pissed off, you're kidding yourself.

Wade works for Bob McNair. No one else.
Watch Rick Smith's demeanor in his post-draft press conference and read the transcript when he was asked about this being a defensive draft:

Quote:
(on how much better does he feel about the defense after the draft) “I think that’s obvious. We’ve talked about that again and again, and I’ll reference the other day. We talked about the fact that when you look back on the season, we all felt like obviously we fell short of our goals and we had to start to take steps to rectify that. The first step obviously started with the changes on the coaching staff. We talked about the different pools of players and opportunities that you have to improve a football team. One of those and the first of which, this year a little higher than most, is the opportunity that we just had; and I do feel like we were able to address the defense and I think we’re significantly better.”

http://www.houstontexans.com/news/ar...0-629b5b68f0b8
This is the same team that has drafted 6 defensive backs in the past 3 drafts. Check it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Houston..._draft_history

No need to delude myself about anything or project anything onto anyone else. I have no unmet psychological need to see Kubiak suffer. I just read the evidence.

Sorry about typos in earlier post. Working from mobile device. Darn autocorrect....
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Old 05-01-2011   #17
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Default Re: Observations after the Draft

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Originally Posted by houstonspartan View Post
I understand your point, but if you don't think Wade Phillips is in charge of this team, and was in charge of this draft, you're kidding yourself. Sure, they "all got a say." But that doesn't really mean anything. You know how Gary loves drafting offensive players. He barely got one offensive player in this draft. If you don't think he was in the corner pissed off, you're kidding yourself.
Wade works for Bob McNair. No one else.
2006 Kubiak firmly in charge of draft:
1st round-passed up QBs and Bush to take Mario
2nd round-Demeco Ryans

2007
1st round- Amobi Okoye (arguably, he does "play" defense)

2009
1st round- Brian Cushing
2nd round- Connor Barwin
4th round- Glover Quin

2010
1st round- Kareem Jackson


So, In his six years here, he has only spent a first round pick on an offensive player one time. Also, the Texans (counting this draft) have used 4 2nd round picks on defensive players and have only drafted an offensive player once with a 2nd round pick.

I'd say your characterization of Gary Kubiak's attitude regarding defensive draft picks is quite unfounded.
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Old 05-01-2011   #18
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Default Re: Observations after the Draft

I would have liked to see Jeremy Kerley from TCU end up in Houston, but won't complain about the draft we had until given reason to.
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Old 05-01-2011   #19
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Default Re: Observations after the Draft

Quote:
Originally Posted by dalemurphy View Post
2006 Kubiak firmly in charge of draft:
1st round-passed up QBs and Bush to take Mario
2nd round-Demeco Ryans

2007
1st round- Amobi Okoye (arguably, he does "play" defense)

2009
1st round- Brian Cushing
2nd round- Connor Barwin
4th round- Glover Quin

2010
1st round- Kareem Jackson


So, In his six years here, he has only spent a first round pick on an offensive player one time. Also, the Texans (counting this draft) have used 4 2nd round picks on defensive players and have only drafted an offensive player once with a 2nd round pick.

I'd say your characterization of Gary Kubiak's attitude regarding defensive draft picks is quite unfounded.
I'd say your overall characterization of Gary Kubiak being a great head coach is TOTALY unfounded.

My point was, Gary was not in charge of this draft. That was clear. Wade was the face of the team the entire time during the draft, and his opinion is obviously what counted.
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Old 05-01-2011   #20
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Default Re: Observations after the Draft

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Originally Posted by houstonspartan View Post
I'd say your overall characterization of Gary Kubiak being a great head coach is TOTALY unfounded.

My point was, Gary was not in charge of this draft. That was clear. Wade was the face of the team the entire time during the draft, and his opinion is obviously what counted.
I think your wrong on who was in charge of this draft. I think the #1 difference in this draft and previous one's under this regime was Philips had a clear vision as to what he wanted. It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that they needed big time help on defense.

Philips gave them a vision as to how to put together his kind of defense and away they went. Putting together the scouting reports of the players was a team effort and I'm glad they're working to get this done.
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