We’re taking a round-by-round look at the players who have been drafted by the Texans since their inaugural season in 2002. In particular focus are the picks made since 2007, Rick Smith’s first draft as Texans general manager.
Texans first-round draft picks
2011: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin (11 overall)*
2010: Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama (20)*
2009: Brian Cushing, LB, USC (15)*#
2008: Duane Brown, T, Virginia Tech (26)*
2007: Amobi Okoye, DT, Louisville (10)*
2006: Mario Williams, DE, North Carolina State (1)*#
2005: Travis Johnson, DT, Florida State (16)
2004: Jason Babin, LB, Western Michigan (27)*#
2004: Dunta Robinson, CB, South Carolina (10)*
2003: Andre Johnson, WR, Miami (3)*#
2002: David Carr, QB, Fresno State (1)*
Okoye is the only first-round pick under Rick Smith who is no longer with the Texans. The other four have all been full-time starters since their rookie seasons, and Cushing is a team captain. The only first-round pick in Texans history who is no longer on an NFL roster is Travis Johnson.
Cushing was voted AP Defensive Rookie of the Year and made the Pro Bowl in 2009. He and Brown both earned second-team All-Pro honors from the Associated Press last season. Watt made the Pro Football Weekly All-Rookie Team in 2011 and, along with Brown, is likely on the verge of becoming a perennial Pro Bowler. Jackson is heavily criticzed by Texans fans, but coaches say he made big improvements in 2011, when the Texans ranked second in defense and third against the pass.
Okoye, the youngest first-round pick in NFL history at age 19, set a team rookie record with 5.5 sacks in 2007. He totaled only totaled 5.5 more sacks over the next three seasons and was released by the Texans last July. He had 4.0 sacks for the Chicago Bears in 2011 and is now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Andre Johnson has made five Pro Bowls in nine seasons. His 79.1 receiving yards per game is the highest average in NFL history among players with at least 100 games played. He is the only Texans player still on the roster who was on the team before Gary Kubiak became head coach in 2006.
Williams was one of the most heavily scrutinized No. 1 picks in NFL history but had 53 sacks and made two Pro Bowls (2007, 2009) in six seasons in Houston. He signed a six-year, $96 million deal with the Buffalo Bills in free agency in March. Babin didn’t pan out in Houston but has blossomed with 30.5 sacks and two Pro Bowls in the last two years. Robinson, the Texans’ career leader with 13 interceptions, left Houston to sign a megadeal with the Atlanta Falcons in free agency last offseason.
Travis Johnson started 34 games in four seasons in Houston. He had four sacks. He was traded to San Diego for a late-round pick in 2010. Carr was the Texans’ starter through 2006. Had a 75.5 passer rating, was sacked 249 times and went 22-53 as starter. He is now the backup for the New York Giants.
Tags: 2012 NFL Draft, Andre Johnson, Brian Cushing, Duane Brown, Gary Kubiak, J.J. Watt, Kareem Jackson, Rick Smith
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