Sports Illustrated's Don Banks has two Texans rookies in the top 12 of **his annual December re-draft**, "an exercise in knowing now what we wish we would have known then," as Banks calls it.
Running back Steve Slaton, who Banks says "has been a revelation for Houston," goes to the Cincinnati Bengals with the ninth overall pick in the revised draft. That appraisal ought to make Houston fans feel good, considering the Texans nabbed Slaton 80 - count 'em, 80 - picks later in the latter part of the third round.
The other Texan in round one of Banks' re-draft? Left tackle Duane Brown, who Banks would have the Denver Broncos selecting at No. 12 overall - 14 spots higher than where the Texans drafted the athletic big fella. The Broncos drafted Boise State tackle Ryan Clady at this spot in the actual draft back in April, but Banks has the Buffalo Bills taking Clady one spot earlier at No. 11.
Brown has struggled at times this season, but quarterback Matt Schaub commented yesterday that **Brown has made tremendous progress** over the course of the season as he continues to grow into Alex Gibbs' zone blocking scheme.
In real life, the Texans selected Brown at No. 26 overall after trading down with the Baltimore Ravens from the No. 18 spot. Houston acquired the No. 26 pick (Brown), a third-rounder (Slaton) and a sixth-rounder (used on Dominique Barber) in that trade.
In Banks' assessment, then, the Texans got two of the 12 best players in this year's draft thanks to one shrewd move by general manager Rick Smith.