As we’ve known in our hearts since about Week Six of the 2005-2006 NFL season, the Houston Texans have the top pick in the 2006 draft, which is also known as the Reggie Bush Lottery.
Let me say now, just so I don’t end up with people berating me a la Vikingjuice’s post on Vince Young, that I think Reggie Bush is an excellent player who, barring injury, should have a long and illustrious career in the NFL.
However, NFL.com’s Vic Carucci reports that the Texans have a lot more choices than just Bush:
[I]t’s never too soon to speculate about what the Houston Texans will do with the top overall pick of the draft — especially when the man with a large say in that decision, Texans general manager Charley Casserly, adds some fuel to the speculation.
Although it doesn’t quality is a genuine bombshell, Casserly certainly caught plenty of attention at the Scouting Combine when he disclosed to the media that the Texans already have had trade discussions with a “couple of teams” interested in moving into the No. 1 spot.
He didn’t identify them or mention what they were offering, but a hot rumor circulating here for the past several days is that New York Jets willing to make a deal with the Texans to move up from the No. 4 spot in order to draft a replacement for quarterback Chad Pennington, who is recovering from shoulder surgery and was recently asked to take an $8 million pay cut. As the rumor goes, the Jets supposedly covet former USC quarterback Matt Leinart.
“I think there’s value in our pick,” Casserly said. “Whether it’s (former USC running back) Reggie Bush, (former Texas quarterback) Vince Young or Matt Leinart, those three players are going to produce trade offers. We are definitely going to have some choices when it comes to draft day.”
That the Texans do.
Reggie Bush could be just as useful for any of the other teams in the top four besides Houston.
You keep trying to connect the dots, and at the end of the process, the picture doesn’t necessarily show Bush as the most logical choice for Houston.
Sure, the Heisman Trophy winner is an incredibly gifted runner and receiver. He does things that perhaps no other player in this or any draft can do. He has the makings of a player who could someday rank right up with Marshall Faulk and Thurman Thomas among the game’s all-time great multi-talented running backs. Some observers have even compared his change-of-direction skills to that of Barry Sanders. If Bush was able to display all of those skills and have the same level of production in the NFL that he had in college, we’re talking about arguably the greatest running back, if not player, ever to wear a uniform.
It has widely been presumed that, because the Texans already have given quarterback David Carr a three-year contract extension worth $8 million, their decision to go with Bush is sealed. Not necessarily.
After a 2-14 season, the Texans clearly have numerous areas to address on both sides of the ball. Bush, nor any single player, is going to solve all, or even most, of their problems in 2006 and beyond. Several additional draft picks this year and, perhaps, next year could go a long way in helping to fix the team.
If, for instance, the Texans were to move into the No. 4 position, and Leinart, Bush and Young were to be selected in the first three spots (New Orleans and Tennessee pick second and third, respectively), they could then choose offensive tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson. Ferguson is considered one of the better tackles to emerge from the college ranks in many years. And the Texans, who have allowed more than 200 sacks in the last four seasons, could certainly use him.
Furthermore, the Texans have a solid enough running back in Domanick Davis, even if he might not have Bush’s talent. But new coach Gary Kubiak, who was hired primarily for his considerable offensive knowledge, is certainly capable of getting better production from Carr and Davis, especially if the Texans are able to address their supporting cast. [Emphasis added.]
I’m not going to state outright that David Carr is anything special at quarterback. I mean, he had to seem worthy since he was taken #1 in the expansion draft, but he hasn’t done anything truly spectacular yet. That doesn’t mean he can’t, just that he hasn’t.
Texans RB Domanick Davis was also a #1 pick. He can run and catch, and has a lot of 100-yard games under his belt despite the relative lowliness of the rest of his team.
The Texans fans — and the management staff, too — have to realize that the team isn’t one season away from the playoffs. Two, at the least. They’re in a similar situation to the 2005/6 Dolphins — they have the pieces, but the puzzle isn’t completed yet. Last year’s Dolphins had some excellent performances, as well as some poor ones. This year’s Texans will probably do the same, and go 6-10 or 7-9. (Of course, they’re in a very tough division, going up against the Colts and Jaguars twice each year.) One thing is for certain, though: the Texans don’t need Reggie Bush. Sure, any team would like to have him (if for no other reason than to make sure they don’t have to line up against him), but the Texans don’t actually have a life-or-death need for a #1 RB. They already have one.
The top ten teams in the draft are:
- Houston, who I’ve already addressed.
- New Orleans, who already has Deuce McAllister, and probably will take a QB.
- Tennessee, who has a young team and just needs to build.
- NY Jets, who probably could use a RB, but need a QB more.
- Green Bay, who needs more defense and a year to develop Aaron Rodgers.
- San Francisco, whose #1 QB isn’t working out for the best (although in his defense, Peyton Manning had a bad first season too; then again, Alex Smith isn’t Peyton Manning)
- Oakland, who seems to have all the pieces on offense, but just can’t get it done.
- Buffalo, who I can’t diagnose.
- Detroit, who desperately needs a better QB than Harrington or Garcia.
- Arizona, who for some reason re-signed Kurt Warner — they really need a RB and an O-Line, and they’ll be serious contenders.
Of course, the Texans could simply trade Domanick Davis to another team (like Arizona or Tennessee) for a standout member of their O-Line.
Because, as I’ve said time and again, that’s what Houston needs. Not a new QB, not a new RB, not a new WR. They need a better offensive line. On paper, the Houston line is passable, but it seems as though they just aren’t getting the job done. Maybe they need a better coach. Maybe the players aren’t playing up to their full potential. I really can’t say. But I do know this:
- If Domanick Davis can consistently notch 100-yard games behind that O-line, imagine what he could do behind a top-flight one like the Falcons’ or the Colts’ or the Chiefs’.
- David Carr can get the ball where it’s supposed to go. He’s proven that. But what he can’t do is throw the long ball or let play-action develop if he’s sacked, hurried, or knocked down 75% of the time. Just like every other QB, he needs time for his WRs, TEs, and RBs to get into position to catch the ball. Without a good O-line, that time will never be available.
So please, Charlie Casserley, trade down. Trade down for D’Brickashaw Ferguson. Trade down for some defenders and ask for offensive linemen in return. Hire a better O-line coach. Do something! I would hate to see Reggie Bush or Domanick Davis create unnecessary drama by having to share a backfield, especially on a team that can’t pass the ball because the QB keeps going down.
Oh, and one more thing: remember what happened to Buffalo last year. With no valid passing attack, teams put eight men in the box to stop Willis McGahee, who proved that he’s amazing against seven in the box, but that eighth man is the key to stopping him. Keep that in mind if you plan to draft Reggie Bush.