Tag Archives: houston texans #1 picks

Carr, David

Card: PressPass 2002
Acquired: Purchase 2010, Beckett.com

In an attempt to catch up on the Texans, I purchased all of their first round draft choices certified autographs through Beckett.com. While I shrug typically at the practice of doing so because it lacks the element of the memory or the hunt, it does help me put my memories of the team in perspective- some 9 seasons after they became a franchise.

I remember when the draft came that season. I was living high on the hog as a stockbroker and the Texans had the #1 card simply because they were an expansion team in 2002. As the draft approached two names surfaced- David Carr and Drew Henson.  Henson opted to play for the Yankees and bowed out practically leaving Carr as the defacto #1 quarterback in the draft after he had an outstanding career at Fresno State. When the name surfaced, I literally said, “Who?” Looking back now at this draft- it was just disastrous on the offensive side of the ball. Only one quarterback out of this draft- David Garrard, has made the ProBowl (and that is because everybody else bowed out in 2009). In the end, Clinton Portis would be the biggest name to come out of the offensive side of the draft.

Here’s the thing and retrospect is a bitch, the Texans should’ve been looking elsewhere than quarterback. Just because you draft #1 doesn’t mean you get the best player at any position and then you have to weigh in the talent as far as how they’d compete against the rest of the league. It’s just this- you can be the best at your position, but still be not that good when you get on the big stage, because the player position you came in with wasn’t that great.

I have a lot of empathy for David Carr. He had to shoulder the burden of being the Texans franchise #1 overall pick. Playing for an expansion team, for a city that was ‘quality’ football playoff starved can put a lot of pressure on a young guy. Carr was likable enough, with good moral character and was quite trainable. The problem was he was picked apart and scouts didn’t like the mechanics of his throwing arm or his questionable arm strength. Furthermore being quite trainable can be a double-edged sword because you can be trained to do really bad things.

Well the Texans first game started out great. David Carr and the team silenced all critics stunning the league with a 19-10 victory over their cross-state rival Dallas Cowboys. It was only the second time in NFL history an expansion team came out of the gates with a victory. After that it wasn’t so great as the team skidded to a 4-12 record. The greatest problem was a twofold issue. Carr was sacked way too much because of a pourous offensive line, (setting an NFL record with an astounding 72 sacks), and he was holding onto the ball way too long. His stats weren’t great and he was expected to improve. While 2003 was a marginal improvement Carr would be injured starting only 12 games that season. In 2004 Carr finally started turning the corner, setting career highs in all passing categories and had a respectable 83.5 quarterback rating working with young wide receiver Andre Johnson. The team went 7-9 and hopes were high. The sacks problem though re-emerged and Carr went down 49 times.  At some point the coaching staff decided the problem wasn’t the offensive line- rather it was David Carr’s awareness, and in a Pavlovian like move they installed a buzzer in practice that would sound to remind Carr that he needed to throw the ball if he held it longer than 4 seconds. This probably made Carr more skittish and was only putting a band-aid over the Texans’ gaping wound- the offensive line, as in 2005 David suffered the wrath of 68 more sacks. (I really questioned this because Carr was an avid scrambler who put up some 1100 yards rushing in his career in Houston.) The team regressed to a 2-14 record and the complete staff was fired from Houston. With the arrival of new coach Gary Kubiak and general manager Rick Smith, the Texans were again at the helm of the draft in 2006. The consensus was that the Texans would take Reggie Bush or maybe even hometown hero quarterback Vince Young. The Texans did neither, placing their confidence in David Carr for an additional season and drafted Mario Williams, but Kubiak let Carr know he was on a short leash. Carr’s final season in Houston would be something on TV full of effort but error prone and after 5 seasons, the writing was on the wall that Carr was no longer the franchise’s quarterback as his work ethic then became a source of scrutiny. With a trade to Atlanta the Texans grabbed Matt Schaub and Carr was asked to take a salary cut to play backup. Balking at the move, the Texans outright cut Carr from the team. His tenure in Houston was over.

Carr would become a journeyman, playing for the Carolina Panthers in 2007 and the Giants in 2008 and 2009. In 2010 he signed with the 49ers where he was the only quarterback under contract after the dismissal of Mike Singletary and his staff, and the hiring of Jim Harbaugh. During the 2011 offseason the 9ers would let him walk and he’d re-sign with the Giants.

Carr’s career since Houston has been largely in mop up duty and fairly ignorable. Despite his impressive 2009 spot work (behind encumbent Eli Manning) in New York, it remains to be seen what the future holds for David Carr.  I do sometimes wonder how David’s career would have turned out if he wasn’t under the microscope in Houston and I hope for the best for him. When I see the worst picks of all time, I fret when Carr is considered a ‘bust’, because what choice did he or this franchise have?

Of note, Carr has a penchant of wearing  a glove on one hand to help him grip the ball better in cold weather, on the advisement of former quarterback Jim McMahon. It’s undetermined whether or not this actually benefitted David, as he fumbled  21 times in 2002, 17 times in 2005 and 16 in 2006.  That means during roughly some 2500 snaps Carr has fumbled once in every 27 times he touched the ball. During the team’s 7-9 run Carr had a bet that as long as the Texans couldn’t win two games in a row he’d keep growing his hair longer and was named one of ‘People’s Sexiest Men Alive’ that year.  His number has also since been retired by his college, Fresno State.

G/Gs 92/79     Att  2264   Comp 1351     Yds 14433    Pct 59.7     Td 65      Int 71    Rat 74.9
Rush 302    Yds 1331     Avg  4.4    Td  9

Brown, Duane

Card: Bowman 2008
Acquired: TTM, Texans Blitz 2009

Pretty much 90% of the Texans that I got were through the mail, thanks to my player source on the Texans, who kindly offered to get “all the autographs I wanted”. Obviously that was his error as he was not prepared for the mad thoroughness  I possessed to get all the players I could find for my follow up 2010 blitz.

Duane Brown was a reach for the Texans, who insisted he was right where they wanted him. Brown would be the 7th offensive tackle off the board in the first round taken with the 26th pick of the 2008 draft. A powerful drive blocker at 6′ 4″ and 315, Brown is an athletic tackle with a good motor and speed- ideal for the Texans’ zone blocking system. Probably Duane’s weakness is his relatively newness to the position as he was a converted tight end thrown into the fire at VT over the last two years of his time there. Regardless Brown graded well enough that scouts awarded him an 89th percentile on his blocking grade- one full percent above the #1 pick of the draft Jake Long.

So far Brown’s progression has been mixed. In 2009 Brown assisted in helping Matt Schaub be the NFLs leading passer in yardage, and in 2010 he assisted in helping runningback Arian Foster lead the league in rushing. He was also controversially suspended in 2010 for PEDs, to which he immediately apologized and said “It was stupid.” Since then his record has been clean and he has returned to form. Duane is considered by league experts to be an excellent run blocker, but overall still needs to improve his pass protection skills before he can be considered an elite tackle.- Then again facing Dwight Freeney twice a year will do that to you.

Robinson, Dunta

Cards: Score 2008
Acquired: TTM, Texans Blitz 2009.

Dunta Robinson was the Houston Texans third first round choice in the history of the franchise, taken in 2004 by then general manager Charlie Casserly with the 10th overall pick. He’d be penciled in almost immediately as a starter at RCB for the young franchise across from Aaron Glenn.  Dunta had an impact season with 87 tackles and 5 interceptions, which looking back in retrospect counted as his career high.

In 2005, the team started purging veterans, and Robinson would become the leader in the secondary.  He’d still manage to defend 10 passes and make an interception; However, the team slumped to a 2-14 record.  The next season the team drafted his college teammate Fred Bennett to work opposite Dunta, but Robinson suffered a serious knee injury in week 9 of 2007, that sidelined him for the rest of the season, and for the first 6 games of 2008. Although his recovery from the injury was impressive and heartwarming, Dunta did lose a step. He’d also make 2 interceptions in the 2008 season passing Aaron Glenn for the team career leader with 13.

The offseason proved to be acrimonious for Robinson as he held out for a big multi-season contract with the Texans. General manager Rick Smith saw otherwise and stuck him with the Franchise Tag- the first designated on a Texan player. Dunta spitefully did not show up to camp until one week before the season started, signing his tender for a one year deal worth 9.957 million dollars. To add salt to the wound, Dunta  wrote “PAY ME RICK” on his cleats before the opening game of the season against the Jets. The Texans were favored to beat the Jets at home but laid an egg instead. Robinson had a poor game. It was a perfect storm. The ensuing media brouhaha over his message enraged fans and annoyed management, turning him from a team hero to villain. The Texans responded after the Jets loss, but just missed the playoffs with a 9-7 record.

To make matters even worse Dunta did not make a single interception despite starting the full slate of games. While Robinson expressed his desire and excitement to remain with the Texans, citing the teams’ first winning record as the reason, the Texans did not retain his services. Dunta became a free agent in early 2010 and within days,  inked a 6 year contract with his hometown Atlanta Falcons, with 22.5 million dollars in guarantees.

Robinson was never the same after his ACL injury, plus once he assumed the #1 defensive back role in the secondary he never made more than 2 interceptions in a season, or became the game breaker that former DB Aaron Glenn was, making many bad arm tackles along the way. In 2009, there also didn’t seem to be that same fire that was there the previous seasons, and you could almost tell he would get easily frustrated and lose his composure. Indeed, Robinson in 2009 was one of the most targeted defenders in the league allowing 64.7% of passes thrown his direction to be completed and didn’t make a single interception or finish in double digits in pass defensed.

Regardless, best of luck to a cornerback who was once the heralded son of Houston and now sadly leaves as the black sheep. Listed below are his final statistics for the Texans.

Games  84        Tac   394     Sac  4      FF  6
Int  13       Yds  162    Avg 12.5      Td  1     Lg 61