March 2, 2006
Get What You Need
by Bob Hulsey
The Rolling Stones (you know, those skeletons that played at halftime of Super Bowl XL) sang "You Can’t Always Get What You Want." This is so true in so many areas of life (ask my libido). For the Houston Texans, what they want is about seven of the first ten selections in the first round. They could use all of them.
I’m sure some of you are thinking what we need is running back Reggie Bush, a Heisman winner built similarly to Vernand Morency with the speed of Jerome Mathis, the shiftiness of J.J. Moses and the hands of Billy Miller. He’s a human highlight reel, a threat to take any play the distance. He could run for 1,000 yards and catch for 1,000 yards in the same season. He’s being called a "once-in-a-lifetime player." We gotta have that guy, right?
But then how do you pass up quarterback Vince Young, a local boy who led the state university to the national championship, runs like a wild stork on steroids, flings the ball effortlessly at a 60 percent completion pace and can take any snap to the house either with his arm or his legs? He could revolutionize the position. Some feel he’s the latest in uberquarterbacks. He would have #10 jerseys following him all over H-town like #22 jerseys populate Minute Maid Park. We gotta take him, right?
But then how do you pass up an offensive tackle like D’Brickashaw Ferguson, a large, quick, intelligent man who will anchor somebody’s offensive line for the next decade, has a huge wingspan, dominates speed rushers, and fills the biggest position need this franchise has had since, oh, 1996? The more I read about him, the better I like him. You’ve got to take him if he’s there, yes?
But wait! How do you pass on Mario Williams, a defensive end who when motivated is a virtual sack machine. Sacks are, you know, that thing that happens to David Carr every time he takes three steps backwards. Mario does those, only he can do them for the Texans. I’m sure most Reliant Stadium folks believe there’s an NFL rule which forbids the Texans from rushing the passer. So wouldn’t it be great to draft a player like Mario and give the Colts a taste of their own medicine? We need to do that, right?
But what about A.J. Hawk, a player that looks like the second coming of Jack Lambert? Hawk could upgrade the number of decent linebackers on the Texans to, well, one. Since we are shifting to a new 4-3 defense, we need to be able to find a guy who can run all over the field and make plays. Hawk can do that. So, that’s a guy we have to have, isn’t he?
Hold on now. We can’t overlook Vernon Davis, an athletic freak who can run faster than a wide receiver yet is a full-sized tight end. You remember tight ends, don’t you? Those are the guys David Carr never throws to because they are busy helping our offensive line not protect the quarterback. Yeah, those guys. Wouldn’t it be cool to have somebody who can split the middle of the field the way Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates can? Maybe then Andre Johnson won’t get double covered so often. You need to get a guy like that, don’t you?
And I haven’t even mentioned shoring up the interior offensive line, finding a solid corner to put opposite Dunta Robinson, getting another wide receiver who can make plays or filling our thin ranks at safety. We could really use about 15 picks in the first round, couldn’t we? So many needs. So few first round draft choices.
Alas, you can’t always get what you want. You can’t eat everything on the menu at the same sitting. The McNair/Casserly/Kubiak/Reeves/Sherman brain trust can only order one. That’s right. One stinking one. Even if we trade down, we’re still stuck with one (unless we trade with the Broncos; then you’ll have two, but all the above will be gone by the time the Bronco picks come up unless, of course, you use them to trade back up but then you’re stuck with one again, dangit!).
So the Texans will need to decide which one of these many superior athletes they will take. Personally, I think I want Vernon Davis the most. Bush and Young will be spectacular but they aren’t at positions where the cupboards are bare. Ferguson, Williams and Hawk fill true needs on this team but they aren’t so special that another player like him won’t be there to take in another year or two. In the meantime, we can look to free agency or lower rounds to find a suitable substitute until greatness knocks on our door again.
That leaves Davis. He plays at a position that the Texans desperately need to fill. He improves the passing game with his deep speed and solid hands. He improves the running game with his blocking. He keeps the Texans from tipping off whether a play is a pass or run until the ball is snapped, unlike Miller or Mark Bruener where it became obvious. Tight ends, like left tackles, are also one of those positions where outstanding ones are difficult to find.
Hopefully the brain trust can figure out how to trade down a few steps so they can add more talent and not let Davis elude our grip. That sounds like the best realistic scenario one can shoot for. In truth, I wouldn’t be disappointed with any of these guys wearing Battle Red but it’s just too bad that we can’t have them all.
Then again, we’d need to triple the salary cap if we did that.
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