Houston Texans Get a C for a Lackluster 2012 Draft

Nate Dunlevy@NateDunlevyGuest ColumnistJanuary 2, 2013

Mercilus had some highlight moments.
Mercilus had some highlight moments.Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

The Houston Texans' already strong roster didn't get much of a bump from the 2012 draft class.

Obviously, any draft can only be fully evaluated years later, but the Texans didn't get much production from the players they selected last April.

Whereas weaker teams give rookies a chance to start early, playing time had to be earned in Houston, and not enough new draftees found their way onto the field.

After the draft, reasonable baselines were set, and too few Texans lived up to their slot.

After the draft, I gave the Texans an A- for their efforts, but now that grade should be kicked down to C.


Whitney Mercilus, Round 1, Pick 26

Baseline: 25-30 tackles, 3.5 sacks

Actual Production: 15 tackles, six sacks

Verdict: Surpassed Expectations

Mercilus is a difficult case. On one hand, he definitely exceeded any reasonable sack count expectations, but he was terrible against the run all season long.

While tackle totals don't always mean much, in this case they illustrated the truth about his play.

All in all, it's hard to complain about a six-sack rookie year, but there's still a lingering sentiment that Mercilus was a disappointment.

The numbers don't match that conclusion. For a late first-round pick, his production was very good.


DeVier Posey, Round 3, Pick 68

Baseline: 25 catches, 350 yards, two scores

Actual Production: six catches, 87 yards, 0 scores

Verdict: Failed to Meet Expectations

Posey was a highly criticized pick at the time, and one year in looks like a big miss from Rick Smith.

The Texans could have had rookie sensation T.Y. Hilton, but instead took a project from Ohio State who never looked like he belonged on an NFL field.

It's fine to say that Posey may yet develop into a quality NFL receiver. He might.

The problem is that the Texans needed receiving help this year and didn't get it. The Texans' inability to field enough quality wideouts was a big factor in their late-season offensive struggles.

The decision to take a project instead of a player could cost them big this year, and that makes this a bad selection.

The Texans traded out of the second round, passing on Mohamed Sanu, T.J. Graham, Rueben Randle, Chris Givens and Hilton, all of whom were superior to Posey.

This was such a big miss at such a need position, that the entire draft grade gets docked for it.


Brandon Brooks, Round 3, Pick 76

Baseline: Eight games played, possibly a start

Actual Production: Six games played, 111 snaps

Verdict: Failed to Meet Expectations (Slightly)

It's probably too harsh to grade Brooks down for only playing in five games. In limited action he acquitted himself fine.

Still, Houston had major line troubles on the right side, and Brooks never really contended for more playing time, so it's difficult to call him a rousing success either.

This will go down as a slight year-one under-perform, but nothing worth worrying about.


Ben Jones, Round 4, Pick 99

Baseline: Eight games played, possibly a start

Actual Production: 15 games played, 702 snaps, 10 starts

Verdict: Surpassed Expectations

Jones didn't always play well, but he did play and get time at right guard. He was part of an uneven rotation at that position, but did manage some nice moments from time to time.

There's no way to classify nine starts from the 99th pick as anything but a success. Jones has a chance to continue improving and should become a quality contributor along the line.


Keshawn Martin, Round 4, Pick 121

Baseline: 10 catches, 100 yards, one touchdown and/or return kicks

Actual Production: 10 catches, 85 yards, one touchdown, full-time kick/punt returner

Verdict: Met Expectations

Martin landed right on the nose for receiving expectations and managed to snag the returner job after the Texans cut Trindon Holiday.

That alone makes this a quality pick for 2012. Martin will have to develop more as a pass catcher to make the pick really pay off, but there's no question he added value in 2012.


Jared Crick, Round 4, Pick 126

Baseline: 10 games, one start, one sack, 10 tackles

Actual Production: 15 games, 13 tackles

Verdict: Met Expectations

Crick never did get a sack or a start but did factor in situationally all season and played reasonably well when he did.

The Texans didn't get great production from this pick, but they got average production.


Randy Bullock, Round 5, Pick 161

Nick Mondek, Round 6, Pick 195

Bullock was hurt in training camp and Mondek didn't make the team, leaving the Texans with nothing to show for the final three rounds of the draft.

Mondek did make the Texans' practice squad, but still has to be considered as having underperformed.


The Texans had two picks surpass expectations, four picks fail to meet them and two more meet expectations.

At first blush, it doesn't look like the team landed any future stars, though it's obviously too early to tell. If nothing else, the early optimism about this draft has faded.

Overall, the draft gets knocked all the way down to a C. It was an average draft with some future potential and one mistake so glaring that it cannot be overlooked.


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