Card: Upper Deck Star Rookies 2008
Acquired: TTM 2010, Texans Blitz
Big Frank Okam was a dominating force in college playing for the University of Texas. Okam would contribute all four years of college and garner regular looks from pro scouts, was named to the Big Twelve squads on multiple occasions and helped the team make win the national championship in 2005. At 6’5, 350 Okam was considered a two space gap stuffer at the pro level who could play not only defensive tackle but kick inside and play nose tackle, but injuries in his final season and questions about Frank’s heart and desire to play football caused his stock to drop. The Texans would draft Frank in the 5th round of the 2008 draft, and he would suit up for 5 games making 2 tackles. In 2009 he’d suit up for 3 games but never see playing time, with injuries taking their toll on the young player, so in 2010 with the writing on the wall after 5 games and only a tackle under his belt, he would be cut by the Texans in October. He’d sign with the Seahawks- cut again- and then found himself on the roster of the Buccaneers for the final 3 games, where things are looking up for Frank as he made 10 tackles to close out the season.
I was pretty jazzed about this pick by the Texans and thought to myself that the ‘desire’ issue was just a bunch of hooey. Sometimes watching him during the preseason, he’d show flashes of brilliance completely controlling the line and then in others get completely blown off the line. Quite the enigma. I hope that with the complete defensive philosophy change, Okam over the next few years can turn into that space eater I remembered from the University of Texas.
Card: Action Packed Rookies 1992
Acquired: Dallas Cowboys Training Camp 1993
Robert Jones had some great cards, especially his college ones which showcased his uniforms from ECU. An incredible linebacker talent coming out of college Jones would be drafted by the Cowboys in the first round of the 1992 draft, where he’d be named NFC rookie of the year following the season demonstrating consistently solid yet unflashy play. After sitting on the bench the majority of the 1993 season, he again asserted himself as starter at linebacker for the Cowboys, winning 3 SuperBowls with the team. In 1996 Jones became a free agent and signed with the St. Louis Rams starting 28 games over 2 seasons with the franchise. In 1998 Jones went to Miami where he was reunited with former coach Jimmy Johnson.Robert would have a career high 5 sacks and 2 picks that season where the team would move him to right linebacker, a position he would play the remainder of his career. Jones would become a veteran casualty in 2001, and would play that season with the Redskins. In 2002, Robert would sign a free agent contract on April 25th, with the expansion Houston Texans- but inexplicably on May 14th, asked to be released and retired.
G/Gs 151/128 Tac 602 Sac 8.0 Fum 1 Int 3 Yds 14 Avg 4.1 Td 1 lg 14t
Card: Topps Finest 2004
Acquired: Purchase, Beckett.com 2010
A tweener, (6’3″, 260lb,) Jason Babin was drafted in the first round of the 2004 draft by the Houston Texans from Western Michigan to play defensive end and linebacker in the Texans 3-4 front. (The pick came at some fanfare and a major cost. The Texans had to trade back into the first round and paid a king’s ransom to divisional rival Tennessee to get him.) He’d start all 16 games his rookie season, with 63 tackles, 4 pass defensed and 4 sacks, but in 2005 the team decided to make him a situational rusher, so he’d start less, and also play less with 12 games and 4 starts. Babin would pull in another 4 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. In 2006 he’d have 5 sacks, but with a new head coach and general manager who had no ties to him- Jason would see himself traded to the Seattle Seahawks for Michael Boulware in 2007. He’d then become a journeyman from there, playing for the Seahawks, Chiefs and Eagles over the next 3 seasons almost seeing himself out of the league.
In 2010 he signed with the Titans and has rejuvenated his career scoring a career high 12.5 sacks (6th in the NFL). After the Titans beat the Texans in a fairly meaningless game in week 15- the team let him come onto the field to kneel the ball to end the game. Of note, Babin is recognizable for an assortment of tatoos that cover his arms. I bought his card on the cheap off of Beckett when I was attempting to get the autographs of all the Texans’ first round draft choices.
G 82/42 Tac 230 Sac 30 Fum 4 Int 0 Yds -.- Avg -.- Td 0 Lg -.-