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Vandermeer weighs in on Texans' draft

The picks are in and the Texans are getting so-so national grades for their 2008 draft. When you don't have a second-round selection it's hard to have a sexy draft that the national media likes. But to criticize the Texans because they "missed out" on University of South Florida cornerback Mike Jenkins is inaccurate. If the Texans really wanted Jenkins, they would have snagged him at No. 18.

Duane Brown was the player the Texans wanted to take but they were willing to gamble that he would be there at No. 26 after getting the offer of an extra 3rd rounder and 6th round pick from Baltimore. Reading all the national report cards, you would think the Texans traded their way into the Arena League.

While the draft was going on, I admit that the deal Philly got from Carolina at No. 27 (a 2nd-rounder, a 4th-rounder and a 1st-rounder in '09) looked beefier than the Texans deal with Baltimore. I wondered if Carolina GM Marty Hurney's cell phone was busy when Rick Smith called. But upon further review, it all makes sense.

If the Texans had the Carolina deal on the table, they would have moved into the second round and Duane Brown might have been gone. Sure they would have an extra fourth-rounder and a first-rounder for next year, but they would have missed out on a player that they think will be pivotal. They also would have missed out on Steve Slaton in the third round. A first-rounder next year is always nice, but Rick Smith and Gary Kubiak want to take the next step as soon as possible and Brown and Molden figure to help this season.

Steve Slaton is a weapon who doesn't project to be an every-down back. He can be used as a change-of-pace or third down back. He has outstanding speed. To think of Ahman Green and Chris Brown being used with Slaton gives you visions of the most potent Texans' running attack ever. The Houston Chronicle's John McClain points out that in 16 years, the Alex Gibbs' zone blocking scheme has yielded top-10 rushing performances 15 times and top-5 on 12 occasions. The highest the Texans ever have finished in the rushing rankings was 12th in 2004 with Domanick Davis (Williams).

Xavier Adibi was selected in the fourth round. It turns out he's a buddy of Brown having been suite mates with the Hokie football program. My broadcast partner Andre Ware thinks Adibi will be pushing for playing time this summer.

Let's talk next year to start really evaluating this class. The way the franchise has drafted the last couple of years, you have to be optimistic.

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