"How'd you like the draft?"
Everyone asks me this. It's an obvious question. And I'm really blessed to do what I do for a living, that these are the types of topics that come up in conversation.
If I was a tax attorney people would be asking me questions about the IRS.
I prefer this.
"What's not to like!" could be my answer.
The Texans addressed every position group other than quarterback, which they feel they have a good situation brewing with Davis Mills in year two. If the bulk of the players at least turn out to be solid contributors, that would be great. If two or more are Pro Bowlers on top of that, then it's a home run draft.
The vibe I got during the selection process was similar to the way I felt in 2006. And I really haven't had that feeling, during the process, since then. The way you feel about a draft while it's going vs the way you feel four years later can often be very different.
In '06, yes it was a shocker that Mario Williams went number one but you felt like at the very least he was going to be a good and much needed addition to the defense. Williams played six productive seasons with the Texans and finished his 11-year career with 97 sacks, four behind where J.J. Watt is right now, after his 11th season (Watt has played in fewer games because of injury but the numbers are worth bringing up).
DeMeco Ryans was there at the top of round two and there was much celebrating. Many pundits had him pegged as a first rounder and he eventually made defensive rookie of the year.
At the top of round three the Texans took Charles Spencer and Eric Winston. Spencer got injured early but Winston became a staple at right tackle. Owen Daniels was a fourth-round selection and David Anderson went in the 7th. This class turned the team around, especially when Matt Schaub was added to the mix a year later.
Drew Dougherty will argue that '09 was an even better draft with Brian Cushing, Connor Barwin, Glover Quin, Brice McCain and James Casey. But I'll stick with '06.
Anyway, as pick after pick was coming off the board this past weekend, I felt that the Texans were selecting a core of rookies that might be together for a long time – difference makers who share the same passion, edge and commitment to getting better.
The Mills pick in '21 is going to be studied very carefully by all NFL observers. With the '22 QB class only producing one first round signal caller the Texans got a promising but relatively inexperienced quarterback a year earlier and gave him valuable time during a difficult season. He responded by improving, removing the need for the team to scoop up an early round quarterback this year. This freed up Nick Caserio and company to fortify the rest of the squad.
In many ways, we're just getting started here. There's a lot of draft capital to work with in the next two years. And here's hoping we'll someday look back at the class of '22 as a real game changer in the fortunes of the franchise.
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