First off. For non-sports takes, please check out my other blog here.
The Texans rookies were not expected to have a monster impact this season. For once, the Texans were deep at almost every position and drafting for the future.
Seven games in, the impact from the rookies has been minimal, but they should have more to say in the second half of the season. Here’s a look at the class and what they might do over the coming weeks:
First round — Whitney Mercilus, OLB. Mercilus has been used sparingly, finally getting some meaningful action against the Ravens, when he got his first NFL sack and forced a fumble. He has nine tackles, most coming on special teams. Mercilus is a terrific fit for the system and an extremely talented player who is capable of making game-changing plays. With Brian Cushing out, expect Mercilus to become a bigger part of the game plan.
Second half projection: Look for Mercilus to have a much bigger impact over the second half of the season as he becomes more familiar with the defense and as Wade Phillips finds more ways to use him. Expect to see more and more of him as the season progresses.
Good pick or bad pick? Good. He will only get better.
Third round — DeVier Posey, WR. Posey wasn’t expected to have much of an impact, and he has loved down to that billing. When he has been active, he has been a disaster on special teams. Posey sat out a year at Ohio State and the rust has shown. But he hasn’t really provided any flashes that indicate he will develop into an effective receiver. It’s early yet, but if Posey is going to be any good, it will likely be next year. Hopefully he won’t see any more time on special teams, because he’s only made an impact with penalties.
Second half projection: Not expecting much if anything.
Good or bad pick: Too early to tell, but so far not so good.
Third round — Brandon Brooks, G. This was a project pick, and so far he is just that. He has had no impact and likely won’t until next season at the soonest. He battled weight problems in camp and hasn’t really developed.
Second half projection: Not expecting much if anything. If he winds up playing, it will be because of injuries.
Good or bad pick: Likely won’t be able to judge until next year at the soonest.
Fourth round: Ben Jones, C/G. Jones has had to step in to play due to Antoine Caldwell’s injuries and ineffectiveness. Jones has been solid and should improve as the season goes on.
Second half projection: Could develop into the fulltime starter at right guard and be a key player down the stretch.
Good or bad pick: Very good. He has been better than the Texans could have hoped.
Fourth round: Keyshawn Martin, WR. Martin was probably more NFL ready than Posey, and that has proven to be accurate. He has been prone to drops, but he has potential.
Second half projection: Expected to handle return duties and could be more effective in the second half in the passing game. Would like to see him used as more of a deep threat.
Good or bad pick: Good.
Fourth round: Jared Crick, DE. Liked this pick at the time and thought he would eventually evolve into a rotation player. He saw some action against Baltimore and played well.
Second-half projection: Expect to see more of him as the season progresses. He can play multiple positions on the line and should be a valuable reserve.
Good or bad pick: Very good.
Fifth round: Randy Bullock, K. Was placed on IR before the season.
Second-half projection: Won’t play.
Good or bad pick: Jury is still out, but when you draft a kicker in the fifth round, you expect him to make the team. Bullock was losing out to Shayne Graham when he got hurt.
Sixth round: Nick Mondek, T. Was cut before the season and just re-signed to the practice squad. Long term project,
Second-half projection: Doubtful we see him.
Good or bad pick: Hard to call a sixth-rounder a bad pick even if he is cut. He certainly wasn’t a good pick or he would have made the roster.
It might be better to grade last year’s class; first and second rounders J.J. Watt and Brooks Reed were terrific picks; second and fourth rounders Brandon Harris and Roc Carmichael have been unable to get on the field, but it might be more because the players ahead of them are doing a good job. Fifth-rounders Shiloh Keo and T.J. Yates have contributed, and seventh rounder Derek Newton has to be considered a great pick for the spot since he is starting.
In reality it is hard to judge a class for a few years, especially on a team with this much depth. But at least they are getting some contributions and should get more as the season progresses.