January 29, 2004
Don’t Sweat the Technique
by Keith Weiland
Will he or won’t he?
I’m speaking of course of Drew Henson’s return to football (he will), not whether Bill Murray will finally win an Oscar (he should). But please don’t fret too much on either front.
The Henson saga has become more like that mini-series you only see during sweeps month on television. Way too long, overly hyped, and too much forced-upon melodrama.
In a 2003 draft where – in the third round – the general manager was already taking a project for the offensive line (tackle Seth Wand) and another prospect at a position he’d never played before (outside linebacker Antwan Peek). You can only image how insignificant the value of sixth round pick must have been in that warroom last year.
Well, it was the perfect gamble: low risk, high reward. I was shocked when I saw the pick announced last April, but I was dumbfounded by the grumbling by fans immediately following.
Henson hasn’t picked up a football in years, some have argued.
So what? Kurt Warner was stocking shelves during his football hiatus. Roger Staubach served in the Navy before heading to Dallas. Both of them won Super Bowls. At least Henson’s been playing a pro sport of some sort.
A wasted pick, others have said.
The team’s other sixth round picks been so valuable that none of them have yet to make it through training camp without getting cut. And I’m supposed to believe there’s a Ray Lewis or Lawrence Taylor just sitting out there 192 picks into the draft?
Henson will never work under the salary cap for the Texans, the rest have argued. Or, Big Stein won’t cave on the contract buyout. Or better yet, Henson might be passionate about playing minor league basebal.
Please. Let me tell you something I learned in school (public school, no less): Americans are motivated by the invisible hand (and no, I’m not talking about Michael Jackson here). Free will has powers that should not be underestimated. Too many people have too much to gain by Henson’s return to football, especially Henson himself. (Which come to think of it actually is a little like Michael Jackson asking for a brain when he played the scarecrow in The Wiz… but I digress).
Scuttlebutt has suggested that Henson will possibly yield the Texans a second round selection in this year’s draft. If so, in the process of doing so Charley Casserly regains his crown of front office genius. This is assuming he’s not sending Henson to Mike Ditka, of course.
Whether a Henson sign-and-trade really happens or not remains to be seen, but I’m not sweatin’ it the least. If things don’t work out and Henson goes back into the kitty or continues to chase those curveballs, then it’s not the end of the world. Rest assured, I’ve already enjoyed the ride.
Maybe if the team had used the Henson pick on an actual collegiate football player, they would have ended up with long snapper Chance Pearce a round earlier. Or worse yet, another quarterback, right?
Look, Henson’s role has already been paid in full as far as I’m concerned. He came in the door – I’ve said it before – and magnetized us like never before.
Without Henson, we might be wasting our time with conversations on things more material, like Carr’s pocket presence and the defense’s lack of one. Henson’s status has been a perfect diversion for the second-year Texans looking to buy a little time while building a Super contender. For that, Casserly may already be a genius.
Top Ten List
Senior Bowl has come and gone, so it’s time to adjust the top ten list of potential draftees I think the Texans need atop their board.
(* indicates underclassman)
1. Robert Gallery, LT, Iowa. 6′” 317. Gallery is the real deal as a left tackle prospect. If he’s somehow available when the Texans pick, they should waste no time getting this card up to Tags.
2. Vince Wilfork*, DT, Miami. 6’2″ 345. A double-team waiting to happen in the NFL. Nice quickness for a big man. Maybe too big? Nah, just wait until he gets into an NFL weight training program.
3. Sean Taylor*, FS, Miami. 6’3″ 225. Arguably the best athlete in the entire draft, assuming he declares. Taylor is the type who has enough athletic ability to make an immediate impact, too.
4. Shawn Andrews*, RT, Arkansas. 6’5″ 371. A punishing run blocker who would be the long-term answer at right tackle for the Texans. Weight is a minor concern, but he’s light on his feet.
5. Randy Starks*, DT (DE), Maryland. 6’4″ 312. Plays smaller than he’s listed, but that’s a back-handed compliment to his pass rush ability. Another athletic freak, he can stuff the run and tackle too.
6. Tommie Harris*, DT (DE), Oklahoma. 6’3″ 287. Harris would make for a fearsome end in a 3-4 system. Plenty strong to take multiple blockers, he has the necessary quickness to rush the passer.
7. Kenechi Udeze, DE, USC. 6’4″ 285. Udeze has parlayed a strong senior season on a co-champ team into a skyrocket up the charts. A big guy with pass rush abilities is just what the doctor ordered.
8. DeAngelo Hall*, CB, Virginia Tech. 5’11” 201. Speed kills, and Hall has plenty of it. If allowed, he could be a back-breaker on returns as well. Hall may shoot up boards when timed at the Combine.
9. Chris Gamble*, CB, Ohio State. 6’2″ 180. An instinctive player who could just as easily be a big-time star as he could be a big-time bust. Raw and easily fooled, Gamble’s still worth the, um, gamble.
10. Will Smith, DE (OLB), Ohio State. 6’3″ 265. A great pass rusher who should be able to make the switch to OLB in the 3-4. Can take the best angles, stand up the runner, and drop into coverage.
You ask Keith Weiland how he did ‘em? He let the rhythm hit ‘em.