Houston general manger Charley Casserly and head coach Dom Capers made a strong statement with their number one pick in today's expansion draft.
Tony Boselli will be the man to set precedence in the Texans locker room. The hard-nosed left offensive tackle fits like a glove into Capers and Casserly's plan. In Boselli, the Texans acquire exactly what they're looking for in a veteran leader -- quality, class and resiliency.
Boselli is no stranger to an expansion franchise. He was a founding member in the Jacksonville organization when the Jaguar tabbed him as their first-round pick (second overall) in the 1995 NFL expansion draft. From there he took his talents and allowed them to flourish, making five Pro Bowl appearances in seven seasons. One of the premier offensive tackles in the league, Boselli has started in 90 career games, experience that the Texans need to anchor their new offensive line. Boselli also has a familiarity with fellow AFC South competitors in Tennessee, Indianapolis and the Jaguars.
Boselli's arrival in Houston also marks a reunion with Capers, who served as the defensive coordinator for the Jaguars from 1999-00 while Boselli led the offensive unit. He is familiar with Capers' expectations and goals going into the inaugural season, and is ready to jump on board.
"The excellence has been shown here by Mr. McNair, Coach Capers and Charley Casserly," Boselli said. "I think that the players will fall right in line with their plan and try to be the best we can be as soon as possible."
Joining Boselli on the offensive line is the Texans' second pick of the day, right offensive tackle Ryan Young from the New York Jets. Young and Boselli will serve as the two bookends on the line, an impressive duo to start in the trenches.
"I want to be the best offensive line in the NFL," Boselli said. "To do that, we have a lot of work ahead of us seeing that we don't even have an offensive line yet.
"But, you know, it's going to be up to the veterans, guys like myself, guys like Ryan Young, guys who have been around, to instill that work ethic, to instill that level of excellence and high standard and try to be the best offensive line in the NFL. If we can do that, we'll help this team win."
Boselli is an easy mentor to follow. He has overcome injuries to the shoulder, a torn ACL, sprained ankle and knee surgery, yet he has always returned stronger and more effective. He has taken on competitors like Titans defensive end Jevon Kearse, former teammate Tony Brackens, Cincinnati defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson, as well as throwing blocks for the likes of Fred Taylor and James Stewart.
The Boselli package includes much more than just a strong competitor, but also a pillar in the community. Boselli and his wife, Angi, established the Boselli Foundation in 1995 to help children access quality programs to build character, promote Christian values and enhance each child's opportunity to excel in their school and athletic activities. He has also hosted an annual Golf Classic that has raised more than $400,000 for charity. The city of Houston is gaining a winner on the field and in the community with Boselli.
"It's exciting to be a part of something new and to be a part of something where there's so much support," Boselli said.<span> </span>"The fans are very excited football is back in this town, and I'm excited to be a part of it -- to build something new, to be a part of it from the ground up and help it become successful."