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Voice of the Fan

EDITOR'S NOTE:Texans fan Alan J. Burge will continue to write a "Voice of the Fan" column throughout the 2005 season. His latest installment is below. Alan's views do not necessarily reflect the views of the organization.
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Draft starts early

I knew it was a little too quiet out there.

Just when Texans fans thought they had a handle on what might happen on Saturday, the news broke on Tuesday night that the Texans had traded two Day 1 draft picks, a second and third rounder, to the Raiders for starting cornerback Phillip Buchanon.

GM Charley Casserly confirmed the trade Wednesday but Buchanon must pass a physical and the league must officially approve the deal.

As the news broke and before the terms were released, most fans were concerned that the trade might involve the Texans' first-round pick, which is the 13th overall in Saturday's NFL draft. Luckily that wasn't the case.

Instead, the Texans worked a deal that sends the Texans second round pick (47th overall) and one of their two third round picks to the Raiders in exchange for Buchanon who started all but two of the Raiders games last season.

At first, I wasn't sure what to make of the trade, but as the news began to sink in and the shock wore off, I think this is a very good trade for the Texans for several reasons.

First, the Texans get a young, talented, and experienced cornerback.

Second, Buchanon is relatively cheap. He's still in his rookie contract and has two seasons remaining at a very affordable price.

Third, the Texans needed to bolster depth at cornerback. Aaron Glenn turns 33 years old this year and doesn't have many years left. Buchanon is a proven starter and is good insurance against injury to Glenn or Dunta Robinson. It would seem Buchanon is the heir apparent to Glenn but I doubt that happens before next season. With Robinson, Glenn, Buchanon and Faggins, the Texans have the most depth and talent they have ever had in the secondary and that will go a long way when they line up against the Colts twice a year.

Fourth, it was widely speculated that the Texans were interested in drafting a cornerback on Saturday, possibly as early as the first round. This move allows the Texans more flexibility now with pick No. 13 and allows them to focus on linebacker, wide receiver, offensive line, or running back with their remaining two picks on Day 1. Consider Buchanon a draft choice that we don't have to develop.

Fifth, the speedy Buchanon holds Raiders team records for career punt return average and touchdown returns in a season. J.J. Moses may finally have met his match.

Leave it to the GM to keep us on our toes. This move follows a pattern in recent years of Casserly not sitting still when draft day comes. Even though the Texans gave up two of their Day 1 picks for Buchanon, they still own a first and a third thanks to the Drew Henson pick/trade.

You may hear of some knocks on Buchanon but you can bet that Casserly and Coach Capers considered all aspects of Buchanon's game on the field and in the locker room before executing this trade. The Texans have a strong defensive backs coach in Jon Hoke and I think he can handle the feisty 'Cane. I'm sure Andre Johnson and Glenn can also play mentor roles to help Buchanon adjust to his new environment.

The wheeling and dealing may not be over. If the right player doesn't fall to the Texans at 13, I wouldn't put it past Casserly to trade down a few spots in the first round to gain back that second rounder they traded to the Raiders. If not, the Texans should still emerge from Day 1 of the draft with two quality draft picks and Buchanon, which isn't bad at all. Stay tuned.

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