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HOUSTON TEXANS


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2009 draft     2008 draft     2007 draft     2006 draft

2005 draft     2004 draft     2003 draft     2002 draft

 

2009 DRAFT PICKS
links go to NFL.com website

Rd Sel# Player Pos. School Jay's ranking Jay's draft value
1 15 Brian Cushing OLB Southern Cal #3 OLB Round 1

Senior Bowl practice comment

Limited data except for one-on-one drills where he looked good rushing the passer including against OL Green.  He did flash on a play in the 11 on 11's.  

ONE ON ONE BLOCKING DRILLS SCORED BY JAY GOLDBERG

5 - 2 Hill 1-2   Nelson 2-0   McCall 1-0  Green 1-0

Senior Bowl Game

Despite a missed tackle Cushing played a solid game.  He flashed both against the pass and the run.
2 46 Connor Barwin DE/TE Cincinnati #4 DE Round 1

Senior Bowl practice comment

As a tight end Barwin showed athleticism and speed.  He made some good catches but also had a drop.  As a defensive end he showed speed off the edge.

ONE ON ONE BLOCKING DRILLS SCORED BY JAY GOLDBERG

3 - 1 Beatty 1-1   Loadholt 2-0

Player who will have a better NFL career than many drafted higher than him.

Barwin is shooting up draft boards but he is landing a lot higher on mine than on most others, all the way up to the bottom of round one.  Barwin is a great athlete who will, most likely, be an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense who can put his hand on the ground and rush from a defensive end position in the nickel.  Just as exciting is that he is a top five tight end in the draft as well, the position he played prior to his senior year.  Barwin is the next evolution of Mike Vrabel.
3 77 Antoine Caldwell OC/OG Alabama #7 OC Round 4

Senior Bowl practice comment

Caldwell held his own in one-on-one drills and looked good.

ONE ON ONE BLOCKING DRILLS SCORED BY JAY GOLDBERG

6 - 6 Irvin 2-0   Moore 0-2   Walker 4-2   Ayers 0-2
4 112 Glover Quin CB New Mexico NR 7th/FA
4 122 Anthony Hill TE North Carolina State #9 TE Round 4

Senior Bowl practice comment

Hill blocked very well and showed reliable hands.

ONE ON ONE BLOCKING DRILLS SCORED BY JAY GOLDBERG

5 - 1 Palmer 1-0   Cushing 2-1   Fokou 1-0   Beckwith 1-0
5 152 James Casey TE Rice #3 TE Round 2

Player who will have a better NFL career than many drafted higher than him.

When I watch James Casey another player comes to mind, Frank Wycheck.  Casey is a tough kid who has very reliable hands.  There is a quiet confidence surrounding Casey.  Whether it's making a key block or catching a clutch pass, when Casey is involved you just expect positive results.
6 188 Brice McCain CB Utah #20 CB Round 4

Player who will have a better NFL career than many drafted higher than him.

McCain is an interesting prospect.  He is a small corner with great speed and quickness who is a very good in man coverage.  He also has good strength and is a good prospect as a return man as well.  McCain is one of the better slot corners available in the draft.  He is a real sleeper.
7 223 Troy Nolan SS Arizona State NR Late Round Value
FA ---- Arian Foster RB Tennessee NR 7th/FA

Senior Bowl practice comment

Foster, a big back showed some good things before injuring his hamstring.  He was scrappy in pass protection, but not overly effective.

ONE ON ONE BLOCKING DRILLS SCORED BY JAY GOLDBERG

1 - 3 Maualuga 1-1   Fokou 0-2 
FA ---- Marquez Branson TE Central Arkansas NR Late Round Value
FA ---- Brett Helms OC LSU NR 7th/FA
FA ---- Tim Jamison DE Michigan NR Late Round Value

Senior Bowl practice comment

Jamison flashed some pass rush ability but was not consistent. 

ONE ON ONE BLOCKING DRILLS SCORED BY JAY GOLDBERG

6 - 8 Loadholt 2-2   Levitre 3-1   Fulton 1-3   Mack 0-2

Senior Bowl Game

Jamison had a sneaky solid game.  He showed some pass rush ability, made a nice play on a goal line run and mad a nice tackle on another play.
FA ---- Mike Jones WR Arizona State NR Late Round Value
FA ---- Jeremiah Johnson RB Oregon #16 RB Round 5

Senior Bowl practice comment

Came on strong as the week progressed.  Looked very quick with a tremendous burst, and caught the ball well.  

Senior Bowl Game

Johnson looked extremely quick with the ability to cut on a dime.  He has the look of a very good third down, change-of-pace back. 
FA ---- Jason Watkins OT Florida #18 OT Round 5

Senior Bowl practice comment

Watkins didn't win much when I watched, but he went against two of the better speed rushers.

ONE ON ONE BLOCKING DRILLS SCORED BY JAY GOLDBERG

1- 5 Sidbury 0-4   Veikune 1-1

 

B+

2009 COLLEGE DRAFT REPORT CARD

by Jay Goldberg

I like what the Texans did at the top of their draft, but had some questions after that resulting on them falling short of the elusive "A".  They also added a couple of college street free agents worth watching in camp.

DRAFT PICKS

Cushing is stronger and quicker than he appears at first glance.  He will be a top SAM who will have a long, productive NFL career.  I was surprised the Saints passed on him, but the Texans were obviously thrilled.

I expected Barwin to go to a team that plays the 3-4 defense.  In fact I thought he was the perfect replacement for Vrabel in New England since he is also a fine tight end.  Barwin can rush the passer and will make an immediate impact on the Texans this year in the nickel.  He is a special athlete; he runs like safety and has the athleticism of a wide receiver and the quickness and cutting ability of a running back.  On other teams he could have been used in multiple roles.  However, with their depth at tight end, and Cushing at SAM, Barwin will be able to concentrate on defensive end and has the ability to be a "Robert-Mathis-type" of player.

I said in my team needs section prior to the draft that the Texans would grab one of the many solid centers who can also play guard in this draft.  That's exactly what they did by selecting Caldwell.  Worst case he will be a valuable, versatile backup; best case he challenges to start.  He is a skilled player.

The Texans had Quin more highly rated than I did.  His short shuttle and three-cone times raised red flags for me.  For a taller corner I liked Mickens, who was available in round seven much more than Quin.  As a corner, at this spot, I liked Macho Harris and D.J. Moore better.  However, I would not have gone corner here.  Staying within the Texans apparent draft needs strategy, I would have drafted strong safety Chip Vaughn at this spot (and then Mickens later).  Going outside their strategy I would have drafted wide receiver Johnny Knox giving them a burner with good hands playing opposite Johnson long term.  That would have caused major headaches for opposing defenses where they had to watch both receivers deep, opening up the box even more for Slaton runs.

Hill is a solid blocking tight end with good hands.  He won't get deep but is an ideal blocking tight end who casn slip out and make catches on third downs and on the goal line if defenses ignore him.

I love Casey as a player.  He was my third rated tight end in the draft.  He was great value and will be a contributor.  However, with Daniels and now Hill his impact may be less than what it could have been on another team.  Also, I believe running back Andre Brown or Javon Ringer would have been more valuable to the Texans here than Casey.  Either would have upgraded the Texans' backup running back position and provided Slaton-insurance.

I had a much higher grade on McCain than I did on Quin.  McCain is fast, quick and athletic and will grow into one of the better slot corners in the league.  He will also be very good on special teams.

Nolan was not bad value here, but in my scenario using a safety at pick #112 (Vaughn), my selection here would have been cornerback Mickens.  However, even at strong safety, I had Sanford, Greene and even Fitzhugh with higher grades than Nolan.

COLLEGE STREET FREE AGENTS

Foster had the look of a back who could be a solid backup, one who could get the tough yards.  However, after injuring his hamstring at Senior Bowl practices, his workout was very poor.  I am not sure if his hamstring was fully healed or not during that workout.  If it was, he is probably too slow to make an impact in the NFL.  If his workout was impacted by his injured hamstring, the Texans may have a nice surprise in Foster.

Helms has some skills but is an undersized lineman.  He could stick on the practice squad for further development, but he could also be cut.

You look mat Jamison and think, built like the hybrid ends, but times and workouts like the bigger defensive ends.  Let's move on.  Then he gets on the field and makes plays.  It will interesting to follow Jamison in camp.

Jones has a nice combination of size, quickness and athleticism and has acceptable speed.  Look for him to make the Texans' development squad.

Johnson is an interesting case.  He plays much quicker and much more explosively on the field than his timed numbers indicate.  As a running back this puts up a red flag since speed, quickness and athleticism are needed at running back as players move up to the the NFL.  However, I think the kid has good instinct, good visions, and makes quick decisions.  He could be a nice surprise in camp.

Watkins is a big kid who got bye in college on natural talent.  As his workout showed (and his dropping put of the draft) he will need to work hard to have a career in the NFL.  Look for him to stick on the Texans' development squad, at least early in the season.  If he works hard while on the development squad, the Texans may have a solid NFL backup tackle.

For chart below: red indicates workout number in top range at position in draft
ARM-HAND relative to position, for ranges see ranking pages for 2009 draft

LAST NAME
at Combine
FIRST NAME SCHOOL HGT WGT ARM-
HAND
BENCH 40 10 20 SHORT LONG 3 CONE VERT BROAD
Cushing Brian USC 6'2.7" 243 L-L 30 4.64 1.58 2.62 4.22 - 6.84 35" 10'0"
Barwin Connor Cincinnati 6'3.5" 256 M-L 23 4.47 1.53 2.58 4.18 - 6.87 40.5" 10'8"
Caldwell Antoine Alabama 6'3.2" 309 L-XL 23 5.23 1.78 3.03 5.04  - 7.96 28" 9'3"
Quin Glover New Mexico 5'10.6" 204 S-M 22 4.47 1.50 2.59 4.43 - 7.39 38" 9'11"
Hill Anthony North Car State 6'5.1" 264 XL-L 21 4.81 1.58 2.72 4.58  - 7.31 30.5" 8'11"
Casey James Rice 6'3" 246 S-L 28 4.69 1.56 2.71 - 11.80 7.00 36" 9'3"
McCain Brice Utah 5'8.7" 185 - 12 4.33 1.47 2.51 3.99 - 6.74 36.5" 10'1"
Nolan Troy Arizona State 6'0.4" 207 L-XL 15 4.58 1.57 2.64 4.30 - 7.06 31.5" 9'9"
Foster Arian Tennessee 6'0.6" 215 - 23 4.69 1.62 2.71 4.53 - 7.09 32" 9'7"
Helms Brett LSU 6'2" 286 S-S 25 5.39 1.81 3.04 4.78 - 7.93 - 7'4"
Jamison Tim Michigan 6'2.4" 256 M-M 21 4.95 1.68 2.85 4.60 - 7.40 30" 8'11"
Jones Mike Arizona State 6'3.5" 211 - - 4.54 1.59 2.62 - - 6.81 36.5" 10'7"
Johnson Jeremiah Oregon 5'8.7" 209 S-M 20 4.57 1.56 2.69 4.26 - 6.94 35" 9'7"
Watkins Jason Florida 6'5.5" 318 L-XL 19 5.47 1.81 3.12 5.03 - 7.89 24.5" 7'6"

2009 NEEDS PRIOR TO DRAFT AND FREE AGENCY
Major need
     Need     Upgrade possible     Depth/possible need     Not a need

QB Schaub played better than I thought he would this year, but remains injury-prone.  Rosenfels is a fine backup but he has to take fewer chances.  Still he has proven he can move the offense.  Since Schaub is injury-prone and Rosenfels is a free agent after next year, look for the Texans to add a young, developmental quarterback in the draft, hopefully on who could be ready if needed in a pinch in 2010.
RB Wow, Slaton had a great rookie year and it's a good thing because Green's days as a NFL-starter are behind him.  Look for Green and Brown not to be invited back, leaving only Taylor and Moats behind Slaton.  That's not good enough.  The Texans will add a backup, most likely a big back, to their running back mix.  At 5'9", 200 pounds, Slaton could wear down quickly (career-wise) if not teamed with a big, physical back to do the Steely Dan-like dirty work.
WR Johnson is top-drawer.  Walter had a very nice year, but on a Super Bowl contender is a #3, not a #2.  He does take advantage of defense's concentration on Johnson, but doesn't help alleviate that attention.  On the bench, I like Anderson as a future #3 and Davis has his moments.  If the Texans want to take the next step, they should find a more dangerous option than Walter to line-up opposite Johnson. 
TE I like the Texans' trio at tight end.  Daniels is a good blocker and fine receiver.  Dreessen was a player I liked coming out of college and it's nice to see him finding a role in the NFL.  So far he's been used primarily as a blocker, but the kid can catch as well.  Harris is okay as a third option who also long snaps.
OL The Texan' offensive line had a good year.  There are no stars, but they play well as a unit and the Texans will be in good hands if the starting unit comes back in tact next year.  They could use some depth at guard and the one starter who could be challenged is center Chip Meyers.  This draft is deep at center, especially centers who showed at Senior Bowl practices that they can move over to guard and play well there as well.  Look for the Texans to grab one of those players.
DL This unit is better on paper than on the field.  With three #1 draft picks one would expect a dominate unit.  However, outside of Williams, this unit was pedestrian.  AT tackle, I still have high hopes for Okoye, but Johnson is another story.  It may be time to find a starter to replace him and move him to the bench.  At end opposite Williams, how can the starter (Weaver) have zero sacks in two years given all the attention paid to Williams?  I do like Bulman and Nading as role players/backups on their bench.
LB Ryans continue to be a top player in the middle.  Diles proved to be one of the more active SAMs in the league before he got hurt.  Adibi showed promise at WILL after replacing the injured Greenwood, who was a steady but replaceable starter prior to his injury anyway; but Adibi is no sure thing.  Competition for backup spots is also advised.
DB The Texans have some interesting pieces in their secondary and could build a solid one from the players on hand, but I look for them to bring in additional players to compete for spots at both corner ands safety.  I like Robinson at one corner, but he is an UFA.  Opposite him Cowboy's castoff Reeves played well but is better served as a backup who can step in for an injured starter.  Bennett took a step back last year but has potential.  Molden will be starting his second year and has good skills, although while he will be solid at corner, he might be special at strong safety.  He is a tough kid who can hit and cover.  At  safety the Texans liked what they saw in Wilson and were satisfied with Ferguson but upgrades for one or both could be secured.
ST Outside of kicker and long-snapper this unit could find upgrades.  Punter Turk had a down year, Jones was brilliant at times but also showed poor hands at times returning punts, and Davis didn't look as explosive as he has in the past returning kicks.

 

2008 DRAFT PICKS
links go to NFL.com website

Rd Sel# Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School Jay's ranking Jay's draft value
1 26 Duane Brown OT 6'4.1" 315 Virg Tech #10 OT Round 3
3 79 Antwaun Molden CB/FS 6'0.6" 198 E Kentucky #14 CB Round 3
3 89 Steve Slaton RB/Ret 5'9.1"" 197 W Virginia #10 RB Round 3
4 118 Xavier Adibi OLB 6'1.6" 232 Virg Terch #2 OLB Round 2
5 151 Frank Okam DT 6'4.4" 347 Texas #9 DT Round 3
6 173 Dominique Barber FS/SS 6'0.2" 210 Minnesota   Late Round Value
7 223 Alex Brink QB 6'2" 212 Wash State   Late Round Value
FA   Cole Bennett TE 6'4.4" 255 Ball State   Late Round Value
FA   Ryan Grice-Mullin WR 5'10" 187 Hawaii   Late Round Value
FA   Darnell Jenkins WR 5'9.2" 187 Miami   Late Round Value/Free Agent
FA   Ben Moffitt ILB/OLB 6'1" 234 S Florida #9 ILB Round 4/Round 5
FA   Marcus Richardson OLB 6'0.1" 235 Troy   Late Round Value
FA   Jesse Nading DE 6'4.7" 260 Colorado State   Late Round Value

 

B

2008 COLLEGE DRAFT REPORT CARD

by Jay Goldberg

I'm sure I'm just parroting other sites, but Brown was a reach in round one.  It's not that he won't be a good starter, it's just that it is not a certainty, and there is too big a risk it won't work out for Brown to be a first round pick.  My rankings are based on a mix of talent and probability of success.  Outside of that one move, I liked the Texans' draft.  They got excellent value with Adibi and Okam on day two.  They also signed some interesting college street free agents. 

DRAFT PICKS

Brown has the talent to be a good starter, but was inconsistent in a bad way in college.  He played well against lesser competition, and didn't do as well against the better teams.  Brown is a physical specimen and looks the part, but there are a lot of athletic tackles that don't cut it as top NFL starters.  I had a third round grade on Brown, but I wouldn't have chastised a team for selecting him in the middle to end of round two.  But round one?  No.  Again, even if he makes it, this was a pick with too much probability of failure for me to say in retrospect it was a good selection.

Molden is a strong kid.  In fact, that appears to be a pattern with Houston in this draft.  They drafted players with top-end strength.  Molden also has good speed, quickness and athleticism.  He needs work on in his technique, but has a good upside.  Down the line, he could settle in as a starting free safety since he tends to get bye purely on his athletic ability.

The Texans needed a running back because Green is past his prime.  I like the free agent signing of Brown, but he is injury prone.  Slaton is a playmaker.  While short, he is strong for his size.  He makes quick, sharp cuts without losing speed.  He also catches the ball well.  He will be an effective change-of-pace, third-down back who could do better than expected if called upon to carry the ball 15 to 20 times a game.

This year's linebacker class was muddled after the top few players.  Adibi was part of that muddling.  However, I had him towards the top of that group.  He is very quick and changes directions well.  While ideally suited for the WILL, I wouldn't be surprised if he is moved to SAM (or Greenwood is moved to SAM) so that the Texans can get their best three linebackers on the field.  To play SAM, Adibi will have to hit the weight room a bit.  He has the skills to cover most tight ends.

Okam was a steal in round five.  He is a one-dimensional strong, tough, run-stuffing defensive tackle.  With Okoye and Johnson the more athletic type of defensive tackles, Okam provides an option to plug in against teams that are having success running up the gut against the Texans.

Barber is Marion's kid brother.  While he played more free safety in college he projects better as a strong safety in the NFL.  However, he will most likely settle in as a backup and special teams player.  Like his brother, he is a strong, tough kid.

Brink is a small quarterback with quick feet in the pocket who projects as a number three.  His upside is limited and he'll probably be a practice squad player.  He could be a player who can hold the fort for a couple of games if needed.

COLLEGE STREET FREE AGENTS

Bennett is a blocking tight end who plays hard but will not be a major factor in the passing game, although he has reliable hands.  He is a career third tight end type.

Grice-Millan is a quick receiver with good college production who could stick on the Texans' practice squad and develop into a #4 receiver in time.

Jenkins has similar skills to Grice-Mullin, but I like Grice-Mullins' potential a bit more.  However, they are close enough for Jenkins to have a chance to push him for a potential practice squad spot.

Moffitt is a real sleeper in the Texans' camp.  He was a true MIKE in college, who was a tackle-hound but was thought to be a bit stiff.  I was very surprised he went undrafted, especially after his workout.  What his workout tells me is that maybe he was thinking too much in the middle and that was why he looked stiff.  Certainly he has the potential to be very effective on the field based on his quickness and change-of-direction workout numbers.  Looking at his measureables (plus on-field production), I wouldn't be surprised if he is kicked outside to SAM and makes a run at Diles.  Worst case if he adjusts to SAM is that he becomes a flexible backup and a good special teams player.

Richardson is another linebacker with good production and good measureables.  He will also be in the mix for a roster spot, but could end up on the practice squad for further development.

Nading caught my eye in the East West Shrine Game.  He was disruptive against the run, but is light for a defensive end.  It will be interesting to see how he holds up against bigger, tougher compeition.

red indicates workout number in top range at position in draft
(blue college name indicates workout #'s include Pro Day numbers)

COMBINE
YES
FIRST NAME SCHOOL HEIGHT WEIGHT BENCH 40 10 20 SHORT LONG 3 CONE VERT BROAD
Brown Duane VIRG TECH 6'4.1" 315 24 5.03 1.71 2.90 4.52 NA 7.54 32.5" 9'0"
Molden Antwuan E KENTUCKY 6'0.6" 198 23 4.39 1.50 2.55 4.14 NA 6.85 37.5" 10'9"
Slaton Steve W VIRGINIA 5'9.1" 197 19 4.45 1.58 2.59 4.27 NA 6.74 35" 9'10"
Adibi Xavier VIRG TECH 6'1.6" 232 18 4.62 1.53 2.61 4.18 NA 6.91 33" 9'2'
Okam Frank TEXAS 6'4.4" 347 32 5.27 1.84 3.09 4.66 NA 8.06 27.5" 8'8"
Barber Dominique MINNESOTA 6'0.2" 210 23 4.66 1.59 2.72 4.34 NA 7.08 34" 9'9"
Brink Alex WASH STATE 6'2" 212 NA 5.03 1.66 2.77 4.19 NA 7.22 28" 9'4"
Bennett Cole BALL STATE 6'4.4" 255 23 4.77 1.58 2.69 4.54 NA 7.46 29.5" 10'2"
Grice-Mullin Ryan HAWAII 5'10" 187 17 4.46 1.55 2.58 4.16 NA 6.91 27.5" 9'10"
Jenkins Darnell MIAMI 5'9.2" 187 13 4.52 1.53 2.60 4.26 NA 6.86 33" 9'7"
Moffitt Ben S FLORIDA 6'1" 234 23 4.55 1.63 2.65 4.21 NA 6.73 37.5" 10'4"
Richardson Marcus TROY 6'0.1" 235 22 4.53 1.56 2.62 4.40 NA 6.70 34.5" 9'9"
Nading Jesse COLO STATE 6'4.7" 260 NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA

2008 NEEDS PRIOR TO DRAFT AND FREE AGENCY

HOU       Major Need          Need          Upgrade         Depth Need         Not a Need

QB  I'm not a big fan of Schaub.  Personally, I would draft a young QB in round three as an insurance policy.  Rosenfels is a very good backup.
RB  This draft has some very talented running backs.  The Texans should grab one.  Green is past his prime. Dayne is okay, but is one of those replaceable backs as a starter (but fine to use when your main back gets hurt).  Walker, may, and I repeat, may become a good third down back.  Draft a starter.  Draft a backup.
WR  Johnson is a star.  Davis and Walter had great years, but I don't know if you can count on them again.  I would bring in a receiver to compete with them to be sure.  I actually like Anderson more than the higher drafted Jones.
TE Daniels is an underrated talent at tight end.  He is very good now, and is still improving.  Bruener can block.  Dressen and Putzier have potential as pass catching tight ends.  A good unit.
OL  This unit has talent and depth.  If Spencer can come back it will be even better next year.  This unit has quickly gone from a "Carr-wreck" to one of the better lines in the league.  With the injuries, another body or two to compete wouldn't hurt
DL Williams, Okoye and Johnson are a very good young starting nucleolus.  Weaver isn't a bad fourth starter, but an upgrade, making him a quality reserve would move this line up another notch.  Bulman and Kalu are quality reserves.
LB Clark, and especially Greenwood had good years, but if a better option is available, the Texans should take it.  Ryans is already a Pro Bowl regular in only his second year.  Depth is okay (especially if a starter is brought in for Clark or Greenwood).
DB Injuries hurt this unit.  If Robinson comes back healthy he can be paired with rookie Bennett to give the Texans a quality pair of corners.  Hutchins proved to be a valuable player and will be a super sub at corner and safety.  Brown, Demps, Earl and Simmons are okay, but a stud safety would improve this unit.
ST Brown is fine, but an upgrade at punter is possible.  Davis filled in well for the injured Mathis as a kick returner.  Both Matis and Jones have had good moments as return men, but have to stay healthy.  Competition for them could be brought in.

 

2007 DRAFT PICKS
links go to NFL.com website

Rd Sel# Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School Jay's ranking Jay's Draft Value
1 10 Okoye, Amobi DT 6-2 287 Louisville # 2 DT Round 1
3 73 Jones, Jacoby WR 6-3 210 Lane Late Round Value
4 123 Bennett, Fred CB 6-1 195 South Carolina # 11 CB Round 3
5 144 Harrison, Brandon SS 6-2 227 Stanford Late Round Value
5 163 Frye, Brandon OT 6-4 302 Virginia Tech # 10 OT Round 4
6 183 Studdard, Kasey G 6-2 307 Texas # 10 OG Round 4
7 218 Diles, Zach ILB 6-0 240 Kansas State Off My Board
FA Abbate, Jon ILB 5-10 231 Wake Forest Late Round Value
FA Anderson, Cory FB 6-2 247 Tennessee # 1 FB Round 4
FA DeGrate, Victor DE/OLB 6-3 249 Oklahoma St Late Round Value
FA Jones, Onrea WR 5-11 201 Hampton Late Round Value
FA Lucas, Enoka C 6-3 305 Oregon Late Round Value
FA Roberson, Derrick CB 5-9 182 Rutgers Late Round Value
FA Walker, Darius RB 5-10 206 Notre Dame Late Round Value
FA Zabransky, Jared QB 6-2 215 Boise State # 7 QB Round 4

 

B-

2007 COLLEGE DRAFT REPORT CARD

by Jay Goldberg

The Browns reached in round three for Jones, but did a good job getting value on day two.  The Texans also did well with college street free agents.  I particularly liked the signing of fullback Cory Anderson, and quarterback Jared Zabransky.

Okoye was a good pick in round round.  He is young and will get even better.  He has excellent strength and quickness and can both engage blockers to free up linebackers and play off blocks to make tackles against the run.  He is also a rare defensive tackle who could approach double-digit sacks.  All in all a good get.  Based on the pre-draft hype (and the success of Colston last year) I knew some team would overdraft Jones.  Jones got rave reviews based on how he looked in the Inta Juice and Hula Bowl All Star Game practices.  He also was given good press for his play during the games.  I must have been watching different games.  He looked okay in those games (some good, some bad), but he did not look like the best receiver on the field in either of those games.  Also, Jones does not have the size of Colston, and possess only average speed, below average quickness, and inconsistent hands.  Mark my words, the Texans will rue the day they passed on Jason Hill to draft Jones.  That move may have been the most glaring error I saw in the entire draft.  I also liked Allison and Clowney much better at this spot than Jones.  Bennett was excellent value in round four.  He has good size and cover skills.  He is a strong kid, but doesn't stick his nose in to make tackles versus the run.  He could push Faggins sooner rather than later.  Harrison is a good athlete.  He also is a strong kid.  However, he never put it all together in college.  Worst case he will be a solid special teams player, best case he could grow into a starting in-the-box strong safety.  Frye was another good get.  He is an athletic, strong, very quick tackle who needs work on his technique but could grow into an effective starter in the Texans' zone blocking scheme.  Studdard is a hard working kid who showed better strength and quickness than originally thought during his workouts.  As an undersized guard, his workout was important since he now fits a zone blocking scheme while prior to that workout he was a man without a true position.  The Texans liked Diles more than I.  He is a middle linebacker with limited speed and athleticism, but good quickness.  I thought his best chance was as a backup inside for a team that plays a 3-4 defense.

The Texans' signed a number of quality college street free agents.  Abbate is a football player.  He is smart, tough and a player coaches love.  However, while he was a tackle-hound at middle linebacker in college he lacks the size and speed to be as effective in the NFL.  Still, the coaching staff may find a way to keep him on the team.  Anderson is an underrated fullback.  At the Inta Juice All Star Game he looked like a future star fullback.  He did it all - blocking, catching and was a tough inside runner.  DeGrate played defensive end in college and had 9.5 sacks his senior year.  His workout was not overly impressive so moving to OLB is a 3-4, as many originally thought, appeared to be a stretch.   That resulted in him going undrafted.  He is worth a look in camp as a backup defensive end.   Long term Onrea Jones could be the better NFL player than Jacoby Jones.  Onrea has better hands and speed than Jacoby, and is also a good athlete.  Lucas is a strong kid with limited athleticism and quickness.  He uses good technique.  He could be a solid NFL backup center.  Roberson is a terrific athlete with excellent strength, size and speed.  He has the skills to develop into a solid nickel corner who can cover slot receivers.  He will also be a plus special teams player.  Worst case he could land on the Texans' development squad.  Walker lacks the size-speed combination to be a lead back, but could be an exceptional third down back.  He is strong, athletic, and catches the ball extremely well.  In a crowded backfield, Walker has a shot to make the team.  Zabransky was one of the best college street free agent signings.  Of all the potential day two QBs, I liked Zabransky the best.  Although short, he is very athletic, snart, and is an excellent leader.  He reminds me of Jeff Garcia.  In the right system he could thrive and be an above average starting NFL quarterback.  Worst case, he will grow into a reliable, solid backup.

red indicates workout number in top range at position in draft

COMBINE
YES

 

COLLEGE

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OKOYE AMOBI LOUISVILLE DT 6'2" 302 29 4.88 1.62 2.82 4.44   7.46 30" 9'3"
Okoye is young in age and football experience and has the potential to be a Pro Bowl player.  He is very quick for a defensive tackle and plays the run well and is a unique defensive tackle who can be a top pass rusher as well.  Okoye also has the athletic ability to kick outside and play end in a 3-4.

COMBINE
YES

 

COLLEGE

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JONES JACOBY LANE

WR

6'2.5" 210   4.47  1.52 2.58  4.31   7.03 34" 10'9"
Jones was a productive receiver at Lane.  He has good size and athleticism.  Jones stood out in All Star Game practices, but the hype he was given in the actual games was a bit forced.  He had both good and bad moments.  

COMBINE
YES

 

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BENNETT FRED SOUTH CAROLINA DC 6'0.7" 195 17 4.46 1.59 2.68 4.30 11.22 6.67 38.5" 10'5"
Bennett has good size, and excellent strength and athleticism.  He also has nice speed for his size and can cut on a dime.  Bennett is an underrated corner in the draft.  He has good cover skills, but needs to use his strength better to come up and make plays against the run.  

COMBINE
YES

 

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HARRISON BRANDON STANFORD SS 6'1.5" 215 23                
Harrison looks the part but hasn't played as dominantly or consistently as many thought he would.  He is the type of player who could be a better pro than college player.  Worst case he will be a solid special teams player.

COMBINE
YES

 

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FRYE BRANDON VIRGINIA TECH  OT 6'4.1" 301 34 5.08 1.76 2.93 4.40   7.50 32.5" 8'7"
Frye is an athletic tackle who could be ideal for a zone blocking team.  He has good strength and speed, and excellent quickness.  He does need work on his technique.

COMBINE
YES

 

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STUDDARD KASEY TEXAS-AUSTIN OG 6'2.4" 303 32 5.18 1.81 2.96          
Studdard is an undersized guard with good strength who showed better speed and quickness in workouts than originally thought.  His combination of lack of size and quickness means he will be best served in a zone blocking scheme. 

COMBINE
NO

 

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DILES ZACH KANSAS STATE ILB 6'0" 240 22 4.78 1.65 2.75 4.22   7.16 33.5" 9'5"
Diles is a middle linebacker with limited athleticism and speed, but good quickness.  He may be nest served as a special teams player and backup inside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.

COMBINE
YES

 

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ABBATE JON WAKE FOREST ILB 5'9.6" 231 26 4.98 1.65 2.81 4.33   7.12 38.5" 9'10"
Abbate was a tackle-hound in college but lacks the size and speed to be as effective in the NFL.  However he is a smart, tough kid who is the type of player who coaches love and find a place for on their team.

COMBINE
YES

 

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ANDERSON CORY TENNESSEE

FB

6'2.2" 247 21 4.66 1.63 2.69 4.35   7.20 37" 10'0"
Anderson looked great at the Inta Juice All Star Game.  He showed the complete package.  He caught the ball extremely well, blocked well, and showed good ability as a short-yardage and goal-line runner.

COMBINE
YES

 

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DEGRATE VICTOR OKL ST DE/LB 6'2.5" 249 19 4.77 1.59 2.75     7.72 32" 9'1"
Many thought DeGrate's best NFL position would be as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.  However, his workout numbers were pedestrian so he may be best served as a backup defensive end. 

COMBINE
YES

 

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JONES ONREA HAMPTON

WR

5'11.1" 201   4.42  1.52 2.57 4.28 11.82 6.96 39" 10'1"
Jones was thought to be a strong receiver with good hands who lacked explosion.  He then ran an excellent forty and showed good athleticism.  He will need time to develop but could be a steal for a team late in the draft.

COMBINE
YES

 

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LUCAS ENOKA OREGON OC 6'2.5" 305 34 5.37 1.78 3.05 4.84   8.10 27.5" 8'8"
Lucas is a strong kid who could develop into a quality backup.  He has good mechanics but limited athleticism and quickness.

COMBINE
NO

 

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ROBERSON DERRICK RUTGERS CB 5'9.2" 182 18 4.32 1.52 2.50 4.14   6.87 42.5" 11'3"
Roberson has the potential to develop into a good nickel corner who can cover slot receivers.  He is a great athlete with speed, quickness and strength.

COMBINE
YES

 

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WALKER DARIUS NOTRE DAME RB 5'10" 206 19 4.55 1.53 2.62 4.39   7.18 40.5" 10'3"
Walker lacks the size and speed combination to be a starting NFL back.  He is a good athlete, very strong, and catches the ball very well.  He could be an ideal third down back.

COMBINE
YES

 

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ZABRANSKY JARED BOISE ST QB 6'1.7" 215   4.53 1.53 2.65 4.08   6.78 35.5" 9'3"
Of the quarterbacks who will go on day two, I like Zabransky.  He is an excellent athlete, smart and a winner.  In some ways he reminds me of Jeff Garcia.  In the right system (west coast offense) he could be very good.  In the wrong system, he will be nothing more than a solid backup.  

 

2007 TEAM NEEDS PRIOR TO THE DRAFT and FREE AGENCY
major need     need     depth/possible need     not a significant need

QB Is it Carr or the line?  It may be time to look at other options at QB.
RB Dayne is an UFA.  I thought Lundy and Gado had promise.  Again is it the line?  This time probably not.
WR Johnson is a star.  Moulds has slipper, but is okay.  Walter should be a 4, not a 3.
TE Daniels had a nice rookie year.  Putzier is a good backup.  Bruener can block.
OL A mess.
DL A pass rushing DE is needed.  Then Weaver can move inside. 
LB Ryans was a find.  Greenwood is okay, but replaceable.  Orr didn't get after the QB as hoped.
DB The Texans' best unit on defense.  Depth and competition couldn't hurt.
ST Brown can be inconsistent, but isn't a bad kicker.  Staley is just okay.  The jury is still out on Wynn.

2006 DRAFT PICKS
Links go to write-ups at NFL.com

Houston
Rd Sel# Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School Jay's ranking Jay's draft value
1 1 Williams, Mario DE 6-7 294 North Carolina State # 1 DE Round 1
2 33 Ryans, DeMeco OLB 6-1 235 Alabama # 6 OLB Round 2
3 65 Spencer, Charles OT 6-5 351 Pittsburgh # 3 OG Round 2
3 66 Winston, Eric OT 6-6 311 Miami (Fla.) # 4 OT Round 1
4 98 Daniels, Owen TE 6-3 243 Wisconsin # 11 TE Round 4
6 170 Lundy, Wali RB 5-11 213 Virginia # 8 RB Round 3
7 251 Anderson, David WR 5-10 193 Colorado State Late Round Value > Round 4
  FA Porter, Quinton QB 6-5 233 Boston College Late Round Value > Round 4
  FA Chick, John DE 6-3 265 Utah State # 16 DE Round 4
  FA Walker, John CB 6-0 205 USC Late Round Value > Round 4

 

B

2006 COLLEGE DRAFT REPORT CARD

by Jay Goldberg

Outside of not taking Bush with the first pick in the draft, the Texans did an excellent job of drafting for value, especially with Spencer, Winston and Lundy.

Not drafting Bush was a mistake.  In fact, if the Texans drafted Bush it was not out of the question that Mario Williams would have fell all the way to #4 (Jets) or #5 (Packers) in the draft.  The question then becomes how much does that mistake cost the Texans in my grading?  I decided that it would cost them a whole grade.  That means that the balance of the Texans' draft gets an "A."  Williams is a physical specimen.  He is an excellent athlete, has good speed for his size, has good pass rush skills, and is a strong kid.  He will be at least a good player, and while it is not sure thing, it is likely he will be a great player.  However, he was not the best player in the draft.  In fact, I believe that Haloti Ngata will have the biggest impact on his teams' defense (said before the draft, and I believe it even more now that he landed with the Ravens), not that Ngata was worth the top spot either.  Ryans was a solid choice in round two.  Having the Miami Dolphins' in my local market, I saw a lot of Morlon Greenwood and could never quite figure out why he got a big contract from Houston.  Greenwood is a decent, but replaceable starter.  The drafting of Ryans will result in Greenwood being replaced in the starting lineup sooner than later.  Ryans is a leader and a smart kid.  He is a throw-back football player who makes up for average speed and quickness with hustle and very good read and react skills.  After being moved to guard from defensive tackle in his junior season, Spencer played out of position at left tackle his senior season.  He has excellent strength and his best trait is run blocking, making him a better prospect at guard than tackle.  While he has upside and has shown good technique, the offensive line is still fairly new to him so he will need some time before securing a starting position.  Winston was a steal in round three.  I had a late round one, early round two grade on him.  Sometimes the draft process gets bogged down on a players' potential negatives, more than recognizing a players' positives, and that is what happened to Winston.  Winston, a former tight end and one of the most athletic tackles in the draft, was initially downgraded from late round one/early round two by NFL teams because he was coming off an injury.  Then he showed he was healthy and had a great workout at the Combine.  That rehabilitated him for a while.  Then he was downgraded again because he has short arms.  Stop it!  Winston is a good athlete, a productive college player, and will be a very good right tackle in the NFL for a long time.  Daniels is a pass catching tight end who has good speed and terrific quickness.  He moves and catches like a big wide receiver.  However, he is not a good stationary blocker, and therefore, will be best utilized as a move tight end.  Lundy is a player I like a lot.  I had a third round grade on him, so grabbing him in round six was a steal for the Texans.  Lundy was originally looked at as a one-dimensional power back, and then he showed speed during workouts (but not quickness), and good receiving skills during drills at the Combine.  Lundy, therefore is a power back who can catch, and break a long run if he gets through the line.  He is a perfect compliment to Davis.  Anderson has good hands and good cutting ability.  However, he has below average size, speed, and quickness.  He was a productive player in college and is worth a look as a number 4 or 5 receiver.

The Texans signed three college street free agents of note.  The first was quarterback Porter.  Porter is a good athlete who flashed potential in college.  He has a chance to develop into a quality backup and is a good candidate for the Texans' practice squad.  John Chick is a player I like a lot.  I had a fourth round grade on this player who was one of the few college players to play the defensive end/outside linebacker hybrid position used in the NFL.  Chick has a great mix of speed and strength, but may have chosen poorly when signing with the Texans.  He was a better fit for a team playing a 3-4, or a team looking for a pas rush specialist that didn't have two former high draft choices (Babin and Peek) to beat out for that role on the active roster.   Walker is a cornerback who is very raw, has good size, is an asset on special teams, and could develop into a good backup corner.  He is another candidate for the Texans' practice squad.

red indicates workout number in top range at position in draft

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Williams, M N C State 6'7", 295 4.69 1.60 2.77 4.36   7.19 35 40" 9'10"  
DE
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Williams is a speed rusher with excellent size, and can even get bigger.  He has good strength, is a top athlete, and can get after the quarterback.  Williams had 14.5 sacks his junior season.  However, he did not always appear to go all out, and his sack total took a big jump in one year (he had 6 as a sophomore).  Williams is clearly a top 10 pick, but I don't have him rated close to Bush as the top pick in the draft.
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Ryans Alabama 6'1.4", 236 4.62 1.64 2.74 4.18   7.19 23 39" 10'9"  
OLB
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Ryans had some nice moments against both the pass and the run during Senior Bowl practices.
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Ryans is a better football player than athlete.  He is a consistent linebacker that makes all the plays. He is also a good kid, a leader, a heady player, and a player who makes up for average speed and quickness with hustle and very good read and react skills.
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Spencer Pittsburgh 6'3.6", 352 5.28 1.85 3.10 4.64   7.74 30 27.5" 8'3"  
OG/OT
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Spencer played out of position at tackle his senior year, but he will be a dominate guard in the NFL.  He played defensive tackle his first two seasons at Pit.  Spencer is a very good athlete for his size.
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Spencer had some good sets at Senior Bowl practices.
Mike Mayock, NFL Network - Spencer did an excellent job at the Combine.  During drills, he showed good technique.
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Winston, E Miami 6'6.4", 310 4.94 1.70 2.86 4.44   7.47   29" 9'0"  
OT
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Coming off injury, Winston may not be able to strut his stiff as much as others so he may drop some, not because of his lack of ability, but because others may wow some scouts.  Winston may have to move to right tackle in the NFL.  He is a former TE.  Winston is an athletic tackle with speed, quickness, and strength.  He will be a quality long term starter in the NFL.
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Winston had some nice moments at Senior Bowl practices.
Butch Davis, NFL Network - Winston had a great Combine testing very well.  The scouts loved that he put up great numbers this soon after his major knee injury.
Mike Mayock, NFL Network - Winston was very athletic and look good in drills at the Combine.
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Daniels Wisconsin 6'3.3", 253 4.65 1.62 2.72 4.10   6.87 23 34.5" 9'6"  
TE/H-back
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Daniels has good speed and terrific quickness.  He is more potential than sure thing having caught only 62 balls in his college career, but has very good hands.  He is a better blocker on the move than he is on the line.
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Lundy Virginia 5'10.7", 220 4.45 1.61 2.67 4.36 11.27 6.98 18 35" 9'3"  

PLAYER WHO WILL PERFORM BETTER IN NFL THAN MANY DRAFTED BEFORE HIM

Lundy was considered a powerful inside runner with limited speed, and then ran a 4.45 forty at the Combine.  He could be a good pick for a team looking for a power runner to pair with a primary runner with limited size.  Lundy always had the power, and now shows he has the speed to go the distance if he bursts a seam against a short yardage defense.

RB
Butch Davis, NFL Network - Lundy caught the ball well at the Combine.  He showed soft hands and was smooth in and out of his cuts.  A lot of scouts were talking positively about him after the drills.
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Anderson Colorado St 5'10.4", 192 4.58 1.61 2.69 4.21   6.88   34" 9'11"  
WR
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Anderson has good hands.  Anderson caught 86 balls for over 1,200 yards his senior year.  He has reliable hands and good cutting ability, but below average size, speed, and quickness.
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Porter Boston Col 6'4.5", 233 4.60 1.65 2.75 4.10   6.76   34.5" 9'8"  
 QB
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Porter is raw but has good athletic ability and could develop into a quality backup quarterback.
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Chick Utah State 6'3.2", 265 4.59     4.26 11.42 7.07 30 36.5" 10'1"  
DE/OLB - NOT AT COMBINE
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Chick played at hybrid defensive end/linebacker position in college.  He has upside as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 or a rush defensive end in the nickel for 4-3 teams.
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Walker USC 6'0.3", 198 4.61 1.63 2.73 4.18   6.87   40" 10'6"  
CB
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Walker is very raw and could develop into a useful extra defensive back and good special teams player.

2006 TEAM NEEDS
prior to free agency

HOU
QB Carr deserves more time.  If he plays behind a line that can pass block, he will be much better.  I like Ragone's upside.  He is a RFA who may be one season away from a team giving him a shot.  Banks is an experienced reserve with starting experience.
RB Davis is talented but may not be strong enough to be an every down back for a full season.  Wells is an UFA.  Morency showed promise, but is not staring material.  Hollings has the physical talent but has disappointed to date.  If Wells leaves, a big back is needed to compliment Davis.
WR Johnson is a star.  Bradford has had his chances is no more than a three or four.  Gaffney is an UFA who hasn't proven to be the answer opposite Johnson either.  Mathis will be, in time.  He needs a season as the number three.  Therefore, the Texans need a veteran they can plug in for a year opposite Johnson until Mathis is ready, and then settle into the number three role.
TE Bruener can block, Joppru knows how to get injured, the others are end-of-roster types.  The Texans need a new starting tight end.
OL Keep Pitts and Weigert and find three new starters.  That's the task this offseason for the Texans.
DL The team will eventually move to a 4-3 front.  If that happens, Johnson and Smith settle in as starting tackles, Peek and Babin fight for starting end positions.  Even as a 3-4 defense, Walker and Payne may have over-stayed their welcome.  The Texans need to bring in a couple of ends and a tackle.
LB If the team goes to a 4-3, their best (only?) true 4-3 middle linebacker is the UFA, Polk.  In a 4-3 Wong and Greenwood are passable, not top notch.  In the 4-3, Wong could move outside, so could Greenwood, but he was forgettable in that role with the Dolphins.  In the 3-4 Babin, Peek, and Orr hold their own.  Look for the Texans to bring in a middle linebacker and an outside linebacker as they transition to a 4-3.
DB Faggans, Robinson, and Buchanon are a solid trio of corners.  Earl and Brown are an young safety duo with potential.  Coleman and Simmons provide quality depth.  The Texans have at least one unit that does not need a major overhaul.
ST Brown is an up and down kicker.  He is okay, but could be replaced if a better option is found.  However, the Texans have far greater needs.  stanley is a fine punter, Mathis a game-breaking kick returner.  Buchanon has had his moments as a punt returner in the past.

 

2005 COLLEGE DRAFT

Houston - links below go to NFL.com reports Jaybird Jaybird
Rd Sel# Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School Ranking Value Board
1 16 Johnson, Travis DT 6-4 290 Florida State # 1 DT Round 1
3 73 Morency, Vernand RB 5-9 212 Oklahoma State # 16 RB Round 4
4 114 Mathis, Jerome WR 5-11 181 Hampton # 7 WR Round 2
5 151 Hodgdon, Drew C 6-3 309 Arizona State   > Round 4
6 188 Brown, Ceandris SS 6-0 208 Louisiana-Lafayette   > Round 4
7 227 Pettway, Kenneth OLB 6-4 255 Grambling State Late Round Value > Round 4
FA   McKenzie, Chris CB 5-8 185 Arizona State Late Round Value > Round 4

 

The Texans got great value in round four with Mathis, but questionable value in rounds three and five.

The Texans had an uneven draft.  The selection of Johnson in round one was a good move.  He can play the nose in their 3-4, or could even be moved to end.  In any event he will contribute this year, and be a starter and key player by next year.  Morency was a questionable pick.  Especially since Hollings and Wells are already on hand to backup Davis.  Morency was an intriguing prospect based on his college production and his assumed speed and quickness.  He then ran a slow 4.65 forty (Clarett's best reported time was 4.67) and a disappointing 4.20 short shuttle.  Therefore, you have a back known for speed and quickness, who showed none of that during workouts.  In addition, he wasn;t used in the passing game much in college.  Jerome Mathis, on the other hand, was a great pick.  He is lightning fast, a good athlete, and very quick.  He has good enough hands, and can stop, start, and accelerate as good as any player in the draft.  He will be a top return man right away, and in time, could be one of the best playmakers to come out of this draft.  Hogdon, however, was another reach.  While technically sound, he needs work, particularly in the area of adding strength.  Brown is a small school star who has excellent speed for a strong safety and should, at a minimum, be an asset on special teams.  Like Brown, Pettway is a small school prospect who has a chance to stick.

The only college street free agent signings I will mention is cornerback Chris McKenzie.   McKenzie is a small corner who has tremendous speed and athleticism.  In order to stick he will need to get stronger so he can be a cover guy on special teams.  Long term he could develop into a good nickel corner.

RED NUMBERS BELOW - among best at position   
Long shuttle numbers (where available) in blue, top performers to be determined later

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Johnson DT/DE 4.89   4.41   7.48 23 34" 8'7" 25
Vic Carucci of NFL.com reports: Excellent workout at Florida State Pro Day lends a great deal of credibility to the first-round status he gained after only one year as a starter for the Seminoles ... Personnel evaluators were blown away by his 4.90 clocking in the 40-yard dash, an extremely fast time for a defensive tackle ... Outstanding pass-rush skills and pursuit ability.
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports:
A little light, but at 6'5" can add weight.  Whether or not he does will depend upon the team that drafts him.  He is very fast for a man his size and can be a real disruptive force in the pass rush playing at close to 300 pounds.
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Morency RB 4.65   4.20   7.02 19 33.5" 9'0" 11
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: This is why workout numbers are important.  Morency's value was as a speed back.  4.65 is not speed.  4.20 is average quickness.  7.02 shows good agility, but still not great.  35.5" and 9'10", not the most athletic.  All-in-all a very disappointing performance. What this means is that unless his workout was not representative of his athletic ability, Morency will have a hard time transferring his college success to the pros.
NFLFans.com reports:
Morency has great speed, is a threat to go the distance at any time. Burst onto the scene this year with great performances. However, he played in the minors (baseball) for 3 years, so is a little older than others in his draft class. he has only been starting and playing a full load for 1 year
Allen Trieu of NFLDraftShowcase.com reports:
Morency has feature back potential, he has outstanding explosiveness and speed and his receiving ability will raise his stock as well. If he improves his lower body strength and starts to run better between the tackles, he'll be one of the better backs in the league. He should go sometime in the 2nd Round
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports:
Very fast, good enough size.  Morency could surprise ala Julius Jones.  An interesting prospect.
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Mathis WR 4.27 1.50         35.5" 10'3" 19

JAYBIRD PLAYER WHO WILL HAVE A BETTER NFL CAREER THAN MANY DRAFTED HIGHER THAN HIM

I like Mathis' big play potential more than Troy Williamson, who is charging up draft boards at the moment. Mathis is a small school star who showed he could dominate in all star games against players from the bigger conferences. He is the fastest receiver in the draft, and at worst, will be a great return-man. At best he could be the top receiver to come out of the draft.

Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports: Our fivesome believes that Hampton's Jerome Mathis, who ran somewhere between 4.25 and 4.29 in the 40, ran the fastest 40 in the history of the combine.
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports:
During the Gridiron Classic game Mathis looked terrific.   He is said to have 4.25/4.30 speed and it showed. He not only showed straight-line speed, but had excellent cutting ability, a good burst, and showed great acceleration.  And while he didn't show great hands (no opportunity), he caught everything thrown to him that was a catchable ball.  If his 4.25/4.3 speed is real, he should be a first day pick.   One of my top five players in the game.
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Hogdon C 5.24 1.82 4.48   7.49   32.5" 9'1"  
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: Hogdon is technically sound and has good quickness.  However, he needs to add strength.
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Brown SS 4.47   4.31 11.68 7.04   35" 10'8"  
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: Brown is a small school prospect who has good athleticism and speed for a strong safety.  He should be an asset on special teams while he sits and learns.
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Pettway OLB 4.65 1.66 4.36   7.29 22 35.5" 9'6" 18
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: Pettway is a small school prospect who had a decent workout.  He could stick as a special teams player and backup linebacker.
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McKenzie CB 4.31 1.49 4.33   6.92 6 45" 11'4" 20
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: McKenzie is a small corner who has tremendous speed and athleticism.  In order to stick he will need to get stronger so he can be a cover guy on special teams.  Reminds me of a smaller version of Roc Alexander who stuck as a free agent for Denver last year.

2005 TEAM NEEDS PRIOR TO FREE AGENCY AND THE DRAFT

Jay Goldberg of 90FootballLinks.NET reports: 
major need         need position         possible need, depth needed    no real need
Key UFA: Banks QB, Bradford WR, Payne DT, O'Sullivan LS, Polk LB, Simmons S
Key RFA: Wells RB (4th), Faggins CB (6th)
NOTE - RFA COMPENSATION AT MINIMUM TENDER

QB: Carr is making good progress.  Banks is an UFA.  Ragone, with a good year in Europe this summer, could become the backup.  A third QB will be added in the offfseason.
RB: Davis started slowly, then came on.  Hollings still has the potential to take his job.  Wells, also has skills, but is a RFA.
WR: Johnson is living up to his draft status.  Gaffney is not.  Bradford is an UFA, they coan probably do better.  Starling is a useful player.  The Texans could use a number two wideout, which would move Gaffney to number three.
TE:
Miller is a good receiving tight end.  Joppru, if he can ever stay healthy, has excellent skills.  Bruener is the blocking tight end.
OL: Carr needs better pass blocking.  He is always amongst the leaders in being sacked.  The Texans line is okay, but upgrades, using the best player available inside or outside, should be employed.
DL: A workmanlike group.  Walker, Payne and Smith do the dirty work well, but get few sacks.  Depth and a pass rusher are needed.
LB: In a 3-4 defense sacks are suppose to come from linebacker.  That said, it's time to upgrade Wong.  Peek may be the guy, but he may not.  A player needs to be brought in to compete.  Babin was okay as a rookie, but needs to improve.  Sharper and Foreman are solid inside.
DB: Glenn, Robinson, and Coleman are a solid starting three.  Earl showed flashes, but competition should be brought in.  Between free agents and skill level, backups are needed.
ST: Brown and Stanley are middle-of-the-pack kickers.  Moses is also okay, but nothing "special."

 

2004 COLLEGE DRAFT

Houston
Rd Sel# Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School
1 10 Robinson, Dunta CB 5-10 186 South Carolina
1 27 Babin, Jason DE 6-2 260 Western Michigan
4 122 Earl, Glenn SS 6-1 222 Notre Dame
6 170 Duff, Vontez CB 5-10 203 Notre Dame
6 175 Lord, Jammal FS 6-2 215 Nebraska
6 200 Anderson, Charlie OLB 6-3 242 Mississippi
7 210 Orr, Raheem DE 6-3 258 Rutgers
7 211 Thomas, Sloan WR 6-1 203 Texas
7 248 Symons, B.J. QB 6-0 210 Texas Tech

 

The Texans had a great first round of the draft, and made a significant college street free agent signing.  In between the draft was ehhh.  Robinson is quick and fast and should be good enough to start from day one, moving Coleman to free safety.  Likewise Babin should come right in as a starter.  After that, it's head scratching time.  Earl was a reach in round four.  While he is a good athlete, could develop, and should be a solid special teams player; I would have grabbed defensive tackle Rodney Leisle at this spot.  Earl's teammate, the Duff-man could stick as a return man.  For "Simpsons-sake" the Texans certainly hope so.  He also has some upside as a corner as well.  Anderson and Orr will battle it out for the right to back-up fellow rookie Babin.  Both are former defensive ends (like Babin) making the transition to linebacker.  Both have athletic ability, but who knows if they can make the transition.  Sloan Thomas is a sleeper.  He is inconsistent, but has good size, speed and playmaking ability.  Symons appears to be a camp player.  He will have a hard time beating out Dave Ragone.  As far as college street free agents go, the Texans signed two good ones.  In particular I had a third round grade on kendrick Starling.  He is very fast.  He has good hands.  He has fairly good size.  He can also return kicks.  Starling should make the team.  The other interesting signing is offensive tackle Brad Lekkerkerker.  He's a little old for a rookie and needs some developing, but he has good base skills with which to work.

PLAYER/ TEAM NEWS PRIOR TO DRAFT

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Robinson CB 5. 10½, 196 4.31 3.75 - 6.97 15 36" 10-0
Robinson
South Car

#2 ranked CB by Jaybird

Matt Gambill of AllProScouting.com reports:  Dunta is an outstanding athlete and he should run a high 4.3 or a low 4.4. However, I feel he is more of an athlete at this point than he is a top notch cover man. He struggles alot in biting on double moves and isn't the most physical of corners. I think he will surely be a first rounder because he has the tools, but he is still a project at this point.
Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports: Cornerback Dunta Robinson of South Carolina clocked in at 4.34 in the 40-yard dash at the Combine.
Pat Kirwan of NFL.com reports: The last name mentioned to me was cornerback Dunta Robinson from South Carolina. After running a sub-4.4 in the 40 and measuring slightly taller than players ranked ahead of him just two weeks ago, he is working his way closer to being a first-round selection.
GBNReport.com reports: CB Dunta Robinson of South Carolina, who has been up and down this off-season is way up again after running in the low 4.3s in Indianapolis
Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.com reports: One position that figures to result in a lot of shuffling on draft boards over the next few weeks is the cornerback spot. But the consensus, at least for now, is that DeAngelo Hall of Virginia Tech and South Carolina's Dunta Robinson have separated themselves from the rest of the pack.
Dan Pompei of the Sporting News for msnbc.msn.com reports: Dunta Robinson of South Carolina has the highest floor <lowest risk of available cornerbacks>. He's the safest cornerback, the player who most assuredly will not be a bust. Robinson was a much better college cornerback than Gamble, so he is more of a known commodity. The NFL coach who drafts Robinson will sleep well knowing he is drafting a physical corner with body control, quickness and speed — he ran a 4.34 40-yard dash at the Combine. On tape, his instincts and toughness are unmistakable.  So, at times, is his lack of height. At 5-10 5/8, Robinson will be shorter than a lot of the receivers he covers.
Brian DeLucia of foxsports.com reports: It wouldn't be a shock to see South Carolina's Dunta Robinson as the top corner off the board. He's the most polished of the cornerbacks.
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Babin OLB 6-3½, 258 4.62 1.65 - 7.03 28 34" -
Babin
West Michigan

#4 ranked DE by Jaybird

Mel Kiper of ESPN.com reports: Babin is now a mid-first round pick.  He ran in the low 4.6s, did 28 reps, one of the better esults, and had a 34" vertical jump.
Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports:
Babin weighed in did the position drills as an outside linebacker. He worked out as a defensive lineman and a LB at the combine.
NFLFans.com reports: At the combine Babin did position drills at DL & LB. At pro day they had him do position drills at OLB. He is an interesting prospect but it seems we are unsure what the scouts have in mind as far as his role in the NFL. Obviously, it will depend on the defensive schemes and needs of the team that drafts him.
Mel Kiper of ESPN.com reports: As the draft day countdown approaches three weeks,  Kiper has identified Babin as a fast riser.
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Earl SS 6.01.4, 220 - - - - 20 - -
Earl
Notre Dame

Jaybird: below 4th round

NFLFans.com reports:  Earl has seen time as DB and WR. He has good receiving skills and hands. Adequate in both run and pass support, but not great. He is aggressive and has good size and long arms, will knock down jump balls.  Earl needs work on techniques in both run and pass support. He is still raw in both areas and has missed a lot of time during his career with injuries so he will have the durability question tag firmly attached and questioned.
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Duff CB 5-10 7/8, 198 4.54 - - - 12 35½" 10-0
Duff
Notre Dame

Jaybird: below 4th round

Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports: Duff chose to ran indoors on FieldTurf on pro day.
NFLFans.com reports: Duff is an outstanding athlete. He can contribute immediately as a return man and could refine his game to become a really good CB at the next level.
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Lord S 6-2, 219 4.44 4.34 - 7.04 - 34½" 10-3
Lord
Nebraska

Jaybird: below 4th round

Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports:  Jammal Lord only worked out as a linebacker during his drill session and the scouts were not happy that he was not allowed to work out as a defensive back. The team's strength coach said there were no defensive backs coach present to run the drill. 
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Anderson O 6-3, 242 - - - - - - -
Anderson
Mississippi

Jaybird: below 4th round

Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reportsAnderson played mostly defensive end in college, and will have to make the transition to outside linebacker n the NFL.  Will be best suited as an outside backer in a 3-4, where he can rush the quarterback. 
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Orr OLB 6-3, 258 4.73 - 4.35 7.03 - 33" 9-6
Orr
Rutgers

Jaybird: below 4th round

NFLFans.com reports:  You can not deny his numbers he chalked up in 2003 and his steady growth at the position. Sure, he is raw and will need a lot of development for the level of competition he will see in the NFL but he is a quickly rising small school prospect who should get drafted very late in the draft or get signed as an undrafted free agent with an excellent chance of making a roster, possibly a practice squad, for developmental purposes. If he can learn good coverage techniques, he may even be an excellent starting OLB either at Will or Sam.
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Thomas 6-1¼, 199 4.47 - 4.24 - 6.99 - 36½" -
S Thomas
Texas

Jaybird: below 4th round

Bryan Dietzler of NFLFans.com reports: Thomas has made some highlight reel type catches during his career with the Longhorns. He has outstanding leaping ability and can out jump most defenders for the pass. He has good speed and possesses the ability to take a short pass and break into the secondary for a long gain. He also has great hands and doesn't drop passes. He can see the openings in the coverage and exploit those openings and use them to his advantage.  The knock on Thomas is that he is an inconsistent player and needs more refining. He does have some difficulty running accurate routes and needs to improve that area of his game. He also has difficulty making blocks downfield and gets beat on his blocks by the defender. Thomas will need to have good workouts to improve his draft position.
Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.com reports: Sloan Thomas (Texas) is moving up draft charts.
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Symons 6.00.4, 210 - - - - -
Symons
Texas Tech

Jaybird: below 4th round

NFLFans.com reports:  Although he was only a starter for one year he posted outstanding numbers in a very pass friendly offensive system, and will probably, on the basis of that alone, be given a shot at an NFL roster. It is hard to say if he would have any better luck than his predecessor, Kingsbury, who was drafted late last year and failed to make a roster for the regular NFL season.
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Starling 6-0½, 196 4.39 - - - - - 33½" 9-11
Starling
San Jose State

#12 ranked WR by Jaybird

Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports: Kendrick Starling from San Jose State ran in the 4.3s at the combine and had a good workout.
Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports: Starling (6-0½, 196) ran the 40 twice on grass with football shoes for an average of 4.39. He added a 33-inch vertical jump and did not do a long jump nor did he do any shuttles since he had done them at the combine. In his positional workout, he ran a lot of routes and had his quarterback, Scott Rislov, throw passes to him. Not surprisingly, this is one of the hot players right now. Private workouts have been scheduled with the Jaguars, Cardinals, Packers and Eagles, among others.
Allen Trieu of nfldraft.fasthost.tv reports: KENDRICK STARLING reportedly was very impressive catching the ball and fluid in his running. Helped his stock greatly and reports are that he had a blazing forty time. I don’t have the official numbers but I’ve been told high-4.3.
NFLFans.com reports: Kendrick is being described as one of the hot prospects going into the draft and is drawing a large amount of interest from many teams in the league. An amazing note on his 40s run on pro day was they were on grass with football shoes on, not turf with sprinter shoes!!
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Lekkekerker T 6-07, 317 - - - - - - -
Lekkerkerker
Cal-Davis

Jaybird: below 4th round

Eric Edholm of ProFootballWeekly.com  reports: Under the radar - OT Brad Lekkerkerker, Cal-Davis — He was offered some big-time scholarships coming out of high school despite not playing varsity sports, but the massive Lekkerkerker plied his trade in Davis, where he developed into a very intriguing pro prospect. His size alone (6-7, 317) probably will get him drafted, though he will be 25 years old as a rookie and his technique needs work. He’ll go late in the draft and could use a patient OL coach.

2003 COLLEGE DRAFT

Houston
Rd Sel# Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School
1 3 Johnson, Andre WR 6-2 230 Miami (Fla.)
2 41 Joppru, Ben TE 6-4 272 Michigan
3 67 Peek, Antwan OLB 6-3 246 Cincinnati
3 75 Wand, Seth OT 6-7 321 Northwest Missouri State
3 88 Ragone, Dave QB 6-4 249 Louisville
4 101 Davis, Domanick RB 5-9 213 Louisiana State
6 192 Henson, Drew QB 6-4 223 Michigan
6 214 Wright, Keith DT 6-1 275 Missouri
7 217 Burns, Curry SS 6-0 216 Louisville
7 233 Pearce, Chance C 6-1 246 Texas A&M

A-

2003 COLLEGE DRAFT REPORT CARD

The Texans needed a go-to receiver with game-breaking ability and hope Johnson is that guy.  As the third pick in the draft he better be or he will be a disappointment.  Joppru, one of my 12-to-watch, was an excellent pick in round two.  He could end up being the best pass-catching tight end in the draft; and he is not a bad blocker either.  Peek is the second player on my 12-to-watch list drafted by the Texans.  He will be moved to outside linebacker and should be a starter for the Texans at some point this year.  He has the ability to become a double-digit sacker as an outside linebacker in the Texans' 3-4 defense.  Wand is a tackle who got late play, and has a tremendous upside.  Poor Dave Ragone.  He is the third player on my 12-to-watch list drafted by the Texans.  But he will now sit behind Carr.  His best shot will be to showcase his skills and hope some team offers the Texans a high draft choice for him in the future.  Ragone can be a solid NFL quarterback.  Davis was good value in round four and could pass Wells on the Texans' depth chart.  He is also the top kick-returner in this class.  Henson won't sign, but with the number of picks the Texans had, why not take a shot.  Wright has some tools but needs work and might be too light to play defensive tackle in the NFL.  Burns was a steal in round seven.  He is a big-time hitter.  He will make the team, be a special team standout and could eventually push for a starting job.  Pearce is a reliable long snapper.  To see the importance of a long snapper, review the New York Giants' playoff game loss.
A Johnson Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.com reports: Miami (Fla.) WR Andre Johnson turned some heads at the NFL Combine Friday when he weighed in at 230 pounds with hardly any fat on him at all. His 6-2 frame and his enormous size have a lot of scouts comparing him to Arizona Cardinal WR David Boston. 
reports WR Andre Johnson (Miami), during Miami’s Pro Day on Thursday,
WORKOUT NUMBERS  Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.com reports :Johnson was timed between 4.42-4.48 in his first 40-yard dash. On the second, he was clocked between 4.37-4.40. He also had a 41” vertical jump, 10-foot-9 long jump and was in the 4.10 second range in the short shuttle. He measured in at 6-foot-1 7/8 and 224 pounds, which is 1/8 shorter and six pounds lighter than he was at the NFL Combine. On receiving drills, one college scouting director termed his showing as “a little average.” (AllProScouting.com had Johnson running  between 4.31-4.35 forty at his pro day) (Gil Brandt of NFL.com reported, Andre Johnson ran as low as 4.28 and as high as 4.4.at his Pro Day)
Joppru KFF:.com reports Michigan TE Ben Joppru said he will workout at the NFL Combine this week but won’t be running for teams because he lost both of his toe nails at the Senior Bowl. He wasn’t sure how he lost them, but said it’s prevented him from running recently. He’ll run at Michigan’s pro day. He measured in at 6-foot-4 and 272 pounds in Indianapolis. He said the doctors weren’t alarmed by his toes, but were looking at his shoulders but they also checked out fine.
WORKOUT NUMBERS  Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports, Ben Joppru averaged 4.78 for his 40s. He had a 30½-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-3 long jump, and was timed at 4.50 in the short shuttle and 7.31 in the three-cone drill.
Peek AllProScouting.com reports Cincinnati DE/OLB Antwan Peek weighed in at 247-pounds and did 21 reps of 225 at the combine.
AllProScouting.com reports Antwan Peek - Cincinnati: fastest so far in second half drills, "also stood out in LB drills".  He had a  37" vertical.
Tony Pauline, of TFY Draft Preview reports Antwan Peek  looked natural (at the combine)  playing off the line off scrimmage (at LB) and making plays in space.
The Great Blue North (gbnreport.com) reports Cincinnati DE/OLB  Antwan Peek ran a 4.52 at the combine.
Draft2003.com reports, Antwan Peek, Cincinnati -- Ran 4.52 in the 40... worked out at both defensive end and outside linebacker... 3-4 teams loved his speed... will be able to play right away as an edge rusher... good all-around athlete...
WORKOUT NUMBERS
Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports, Peek stood at 6-2 5/8 and 243 pounds. He ran the 40 in 4.55 and 4.58 seconds. He bench-pressed 22 times, had a 36-inch vertical, a 10-foot-4 long jump, a 4.21 in the short shuttle, and a 6.85 in the three-cone drill.
Ragone Don Pierson of the Chicago Tribune reports (Dave) Ragone had a nice day Sunday at the combine.
Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.com reports: Ragone, who really needed a good workout to re-establish himself among the top prospects, arguably had the best session (Sunday at combine) putting the ball in the air. He made some superb throws, scouts said, and got into a rhythm in which he was hitting just about everything. The scouts who were concerned about his accuracy, and there were more than a few, will have to re-assess him. Earlier in the combine, we listed him in this space as a prospect in decline, but that is hardly the case now.
Draft2003.com reports: Dave Ragone, Louisville -- Ran 4.98 in the 40... at 6-foot-4, 249 pounds... lost a few pounds... threw the ball very well... and more importantly... with improved accuracy... there are still some questions about his mobility... but he has good character... and interviewed well...
Numbers have been tough to come by, but reports from those there are confirming that Dave Ragone had a terrific workout today.
Rob Rang of boomersdraft.com reports: While Ragone didn't perform the entire workout (did this at the Combine) he did toss the ball around quite a little bit - throwing approximately 70 passes. Of the 70, there were only 3 incompletions and scouts were vocally impressed with Ragone's arm strength, accuracy, and technique.
D Davis AllProScouting.com reports Domanick Davis-RB-LSU: ran a 4.57 forty
WORKOUT NUMBERS  Matt Gambill of AllProScouting.com reports, Domanick Davis-RB pro day numbers: 5093, 213, 4.55, 4.66, 4.58 forty.
Henson Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports: "Drew Henson hates this (draft talk). He hates that he cannot get you off the subject of his name and the possibility of being an NFL draft pick. He is a baseball player. He swears. He pleads. He insists. "I'll say, ‘great, I was drafted in two sports,' then I will go on with this," Henson said. "I told everyone two years ago, I told everyone last year and I will tell everyone again now, I'm doing this [baseball]."
Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.com reports, two NFL teams acknowledged this week to ESPN.com that they will consider selecting former Michigan QB Drew Henson, simply to acquire his football rights for a year, in about the fourth or fifth round. Henson is now in spring training with the New York Yankees
The New York Times reports former Michigan standout QB Drew Henson will be an intriguing option in the NFL Draft this year. While struggling in the New York Yankees’ minor league system, Henson is now eligible for the NFL Draft.
Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.com reports, reports former University of Michigan QB Drew Henson, property of the New York Yankees and currently playing for the Triple-A Columbus Clippers, doesn’t appear to have interest in going into the NFL. He’s eligible for this year’s NFL Draft, but Henson and his representatives from IMG have strongly suggested that NFL teams not waste their time or even a late pick on him. “I’m following through with baseball,” Henson said. “This is what I want to be doing. This is my focus.”

 

 2002 COLLEGE DRAFT Houston Texans

GRADE : C+


Carr was a solid first selection and Gaffney has the tools to overcome the poor history of Florida WRs in the NFL.  Wells was an interesting choice as a RB, a big back to compliment James Allen.  However, Staley in round six would have been a worthwhile gamble.  If he stays healthy he could be a true franchise back.  If not, the Allen-Wells tandem would have been fine for now.  Pitts may have been a reach but OL is one of the few areas of strength for the Texans so they can wait on him.  OG/C Weary was a good pick in round three and SS Walker was a steal in the fifth round.  He could start and be one of the more productive rookies in the league this year.  FB Baxter is more of a short yardage runner (they also drafted Wells for that role) and a good receiving FB than a dominating blocker.


Links below take you to NFL.com's report on player, position or college team.

Rd Sel# Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School
1 1 Carr, David QB 6-3 223 Fresno State
2 33 Gaffney, Jabar WR 6-1 193 Florida
2 50 Pitts, Chester OT 6-4 320 San Diego State
3 66 Weary, Fred C 6-4 308 Tennessee
3 83 Hill, Charles DT 6-2 293 Maryland
4 99 Wells, Jonathan RB 6-1 243 Ohio State
5 136 Baxter, Jarrod FB 6-1 245 New Mexico
5 153 Walker, Ramon FS 6-0 197 Pittsburgh
6 173 Faggins, Demarcus CB 5-10 178 Kansas State
6 190 Green, Howard DT 6-2 331 Louisiana State
7 229 White, Greg DE 6-3 268 Minnesota
7 261 Miller, Ahmad DT 6-3 306 Nevada-Las Vegas

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