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.
Cards: Upper Deck 2009 Star Rookies
Acquired: TTM, Texans Blitz 2009
See Also: Casey, James (2)
The Texans take tight ends like they are going out of style. After a holdout of ProBowl tightend Owen Daniels, the Texans went to the draft in 2009 took not one but 2 tight ends. James Casey went to hometown Rice where he played under the shadow of the Houston Texans. James had an amazing senior season as a h-back making a mind boggling 111 receptions (10th all time) and 57 carries. He’d parlay that effort into a 5th round choice from the Houston Texans where he’d immediately become a media darling. He’s had some flashes of brilliance in the preseason, but with 4-5 tight ends on the roster, he’s only received a limited number of touches in 2 seasons.
A really popular local product, James has some really nice cards. I hope to be able to get a few more of his autographed in the future.
G/Gs 31/4 Rec 14 Yds 162 Avg 11.6 Td 0 Lg 33
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.