In the past, I have heard that it takes 5 years to be able to properly grade a draft. I thought this was a good number to go by, since players take time to develop and they probably don’t really come into their own before two or three years in, and then they could just have a lucky season or two.
Regardless, in the fast-paced era of free-agency, the turnaround time has become insane. I think 4 years are plenty, nowadays, before you cast your judgment on a draft class.
With that said, here is my judgment on the Houston Texans’ 2002 draft class:
1. David Carr – He had three years of steady progress, learning under the gun, when he regressed seriously last year. Granted, he was under extreme pressure all year, both from coaches who feared for their own jobs and from defensive linemen who seemed to have no impediment to the quarterback. Considering he was a #1 overall pick, I believe that he has not played up to standards, with the caveat that this year will be his do-or-die season. No more excuses, no more coddling. So far, I would give this pick a C-.
2. Jabar Gaffney WR Florida – He had a solid season last year, and has been a consistent, yet under-used, target. He’s off to Philadelphia to battle with the likes of Jason Avant and Freddie Mitchell for the right to catch passes from Donovan McNabb. Considering the state of the offense, he has been a solid pick all the way around, and despite his disparaging comments about the Texans, I wish him the best. B
2a. Chester Pitts G San Diego – This has probably been the best pick of the draft for the Texans, so far. More than solid, Chester will get a chance to stick at one position under Gary Kubiak and it will be his position of strength, Guard. With a solid tackle beside him, Pitts should be the best lineman on the team, in a good way, rather than the “best-of-a-bad-lot” way that he has been in the past. A-
3. Fred Weary G Tennessee – I dunno. This wasn’t a great pick. I’m thinking it was a heck of a reach. I think he might do something in Kubiak’s Zone Blocking system, and he’ll probably get a chance to compete for a starting spot against Steve McKinney. So far, though, he’s been nothing. D
3a. Charles Hill NT Maryland – He was brought in to be a Capers system guy and was released early on. F
4. Jonathan Wells RB Ohio State – Great special-teamer, decent blocker, decent catcher, just didn’t run as big as he was. Still, he’ll be missed. B+
5. Jarrod Baxter FB New Mexico – Not good, not bad. Never played, but expectations for 5th rounders are limited. C-
5a. Ramon Walker SS Pittsburgh – I love this guy. He blocked two kicks against the Patriots and has been a steady force on special teams when he’s been healthy. I don’t know if he’s still on the team, but he’s probably my sentimental favourite first draftee. A
6. Demarcus Faggins CB Kansas – He’s probably the steal of the draft – hard to find anyone this far down, let alone a guy who can step in and shut down Marvin Harrisson in his first game as a starter. A
6a Howard Green DT Louisiana – Didn’t do anything. Another beefy guy who didn’t make the team. D
7. Greg White DE Minnesota – I have no idea who this guy is. D
7a. Ahmad Miller DT Nevada – See above. D
Overall, there were some surprises. They took Chester Pitts over Clinton Portis. I thought they should have taken Julius Peppers instead of Daid Carr, and then found a quarterback later in the draft, maybe Josh McCown or Rohan Davey.
I thought that drafting Gaffney was a huge mistake since Florida receivers just don’t seem to do so well in the NFL.
I’d say that they get a C- for their first draft, hoping that David Carr’s performance this year will boost it up significantly.