Tag Archives: houston texans all time draft bust

Hollings, Tony ‘Superman’

poff03-tohollingsCard: Playoff Contenders 2003
Acquired: 2016, EBay

Tony Hollings’ career has experienced some peaks and valleys.  He arrived at Georgia Tech as a defensive back in 2000.  Needing a runningback, the Yellowjackets converted Hollings over to the offense.  In only 4 games he displayed electrifying Heisman potential, running 92 times for 633 yards and 11 touchdowns. He’d suffer a season ending ACL injury against BYU. Hollings declared for the Supplemental NFL draft in 2003. The Texans fell in love with him and coughed up a 2004 2nd round pick.

The Texans were looking to improve their offensive skillset. With James Allen and Jonathan Wells in the backfield, the braintrust that was in Houston expected Hollings to be the home run hitter that they desperately needed.

This has been a hallmark of the franchise, and over time has cropped up time and time again. The Texans have always felt they have been a player away, and they reach for talent whether through the draft (Hollings) or through Free Agency (Ex. Ed Reed, Ahman Green, Eric Moulds, and Brock Osweiler).

What the Texans really didn’t see was that Tony had lost the burst to the ACL injury that just made him so electrifying. Snakebitten, Hollings also experienced knee and toe injuries that limited his production. The first game he played in was the first game I went to- the Texans home opener against the Chiefs. He finished
2003 with a woeful 102 yards on 38 carries. He’d follow that up with an equally disappointing 2004 with a stat line of 47 yards on 11 carries.  A change of management in 2005 signaled the end for Hollings. He’d dress for 2 games before being shelved indefinitely and never see the field again for the Texans.

After getting nibbles from both the Bears and Colts respectively, Tony reappeared on the football radar in 2007, running hard for the Hamburg Sea Devils of the NFLE.  There he experienced a renaissance of a sense, collecting 100 carries for 389 yards and 5 touchdowns.  After the NFLE was folded, Tony’s effort earned him some NFL time briefly on the roster of the New York Jets in 2008.  Tony closed out his career in the German Football League playing for the Berlin Adler in 2009.

A frequent tailgater at Georgia Tech events, at last glance Tony lives in Georgia and works for a distribution company.  I liked Hollings and hoped that his career might work out in some way. I might try to get him on a WLAF custom at a later date.

Playoff made some nice cards, and this 2003 entry was endemic of design during the time. Everything was really bold going into the 2000s. With that giant ROOKIE pasted 3 times in the background, it sure does grab my attention, but this to me is a card that sells itself well but does not finish. I really wish that they had used the rest of the right side of the card. It feels so blank out there, and the ticket just blends in black with the steel blue which doesn’t help. The artifact from the certification stamp makes the card look like it is damaged, but among the plethora of ugly cards that were still being pumped out at that particular time, there were much worse designed cards to choose from.

NFL   G/GS  23/1      RUSH 49    YDS 149    AVG 3.0    TD 0    LG 17     |
REC 7    YDS   71    AVG 10.1   TD 0    LG  27

NFLE     RUSH 100     YDS 389       AVG 3.9     TD   5        LG  40      |
REC  8        YDS    94    AVG   11.8     TD  0    LG   39

Joppru, Bennie

poff03-bejoppruCard: Playoff Contenders 2003
Acquired: 2016, EBay

Bennie Joppru comes from strong football bloodlines where his father and brothers all played football at the college and/or pro levels.  Bennie himself, played collegiality at Michigan, where over his four years playing for the Wolverines, contributed 85 receptions for 800 yards and 8 touchdowns.

The Houston Texans finished their inaugural season with a 4-12 record.  Eager to improve on the team’s record, Dom Capers jumped at the chance to coach in the Senior Bowl the following year.  Bennie made the longest play of the game- a 23 yard juggling catch from Kyle Boller.  Capers and Casserly must have liked what they saw out of Joppru, and with TE Billy Miller an RFA, the team could also have an insurance plan in case things didn’t work out.

Houston traded around with New England, before selecting Joppru in the second round of the 2003 draft- a full 20 picks before Dallas selected TE Jason Witten.  Bennie then destroyed his groin with a pelvic hernia during training camp. He’d be on IR the next two seasons.  In 2005, Joppru blew out his ACL during training camp and again was placed on season ending IR.  After the season, Capers was fired.

With new head coach Gary Kubiak in town, the team took another long look at Joppru. They liked what they saw and he got another shot, but the team was a much different beast now, especially at the tight end position led by rookie Owen Daniels, wily veteran Mark Bruener, and Jeb Putzier. The Texans attempted to convert Bennie to fullback, but cut him in October of 2006.

He’d be signed by the Chicago Bears practice squad, and then called up almost immediately to back up Jerramy Stevens and play special teams in Seattle. In 2007 he returned to the Seahawks, but thigh and hip injuries pretty much ended his season and career in the NFL.

Among the pantheon of picks made by the original regime in Houston- is Bennie’s considered a run of bad luck or a bust? Admittedly, I place him at the top of the list in a long line of bad reach busts by the Texans early in their checkered history.

G/GS  0/18         Rec 0        Yds 0       Avg -.-        Td 0        Lg -.-

Morency, Vernand

pp05_vmorencyCard: Press Pass 2005, SP 2005
Acquired: 2016, EBay

A multi-sport athlete, Vernand Morency equally excelled in baseball and football, spending 4 years in the minor leagues as an outfielder with the Colorado Rockies. Vernand joined the  Oklahoma State Cowboys in 2002.  After starter Tatum Bell went down near the end of 2003, Vernand stepped in and carried the team the rest of the season (135 carries for 918 yards and 8TDs) and throughout 2004 (258 carries for 1,474 yards and 12 TDs). Appearing in 30 games, Morency’s 2,661 yards ranked eighth on the school’s career-record list at the time of his departure.

He’d be selected in the 3rd round of the 2005 NFL draft by the Houston Texans and was expected to share the load with workhorse back Domanick Davis.  He finished his rookie season with 46 carries for 184 yards and 2 TDs, and 20 kick returns for 437 yards. In the meantime, the Texans would plummet to the bottom of the NFL standings and most of the staff would released. New coach Gary Kubiak was brought in, drafted Wali Lundy, and had to deal with Domanick Davis on injured reserve.  Morency in the meantime worked his way into the doghouse as his blocking was- well- lacking for the better word for it. He’d be traded after just one game into his second season to the Green Bay Packers straight up for RB Samkon Gado.

sp05-vmorencyMorency became incumbent runningback Ahman Green‘s backup. He’d put together a decent season rushing for 421 yards on 91 carries starting in 2 games, and return 31 kicks for 670 yards. He’d play one more season for the Packers in 2007.  Vernand was released in 2008 but did not pick up with another team.

Vernand landed on his feet quite quickly and went to Wharton Business School,  and has been involved in financial and philanthropic ventures around the country.   I figured there was no chance that I’d ever get his autograph so I went ahead and sniped two certified autographs off of EBay.  Beyond that he played for the Texans, and much discussion has been had over his autograph- considered by many to be the worst professional autograph ever.  I selected this autograph because it’s considered his full autograph. Later he’d sign cards with just a ‘V’ which looked like a check mark such as in the SP card above.

G/Gs 39/3       Rush  171       Yds 726       Avg 4.2        TD 4       Lg  39
Rec  57                Yds  404          Avg 7.1        TD 0             Lg  29
KR  51                  Yds 1107       Avg 21.7      TD 0            Lg  35