The Texans are still a relatively young franchise, but they’ve enjoyed a decent amount of regular season success. Not so much during the post season, but the future looks bright with the young pairing of DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson. But now isn’t a time for optimism, it’s a time for regret. While the sample size isn’t as large as other franchises, they’ve still had some misses.
The obvious choice here would be to go with David Carr, the guy who got sacked a million times. But for the sake of being somewhat original I decided to choose between two wildly unsuccessful defensive tackles in Travis Johnson and Amobi Okoye. Either one would be worthy of the selection, but I settled on Okoye due to how ridiculously stacked his draft class was. Although Aaron Rodgers was available when Johnson was taken. Yikes.
Okoye was the 10th pick in the 2007 draft, he made headlines for being the youngest player ever selected as he was 19 years old. He started off strong, even earning defensive rookie of the month in September for notching 4 sacks. That was almost all of his sacks for the season as he finished with 5.5 on the year. During his tenure with Houston he never hit the 30 tackle mark in any season. After the 4th year of his 5 year contract he was released. He played for a few NFL teams before heading up north to play in Canada.
When you take a player in the top 10 you normally have hopes of them being a franchise cornerstone for years to come. Not releasing them before their deal is even up. To make things worse the 2007 was stacked. When the Texans selected Okoye the following players were still available; Patrick Willis, Marshawn Lynch, Darrelle Revis, Lawrence Timmons, Michael Griffin, Jon Beason, Joe Staley, Ben Grubbs, Greg Olson, Eric Weddle, and LaMarr Woodley.
I’m not sure how many Pro-Bowls those players have combined, but if I were a betting man I would bet that it’s an insane amount. Almost all of those guys are franchise caliber players, the kind that you hope your 10th overall picks become. Having Willis or Revis on your defense changes everything, imagine the type of production Willis would have provided if he played a few years alongside Cushing and behind Watt. That’s a scary thought for all of the AFC South.
Houston is one of the up and coming franchises in the league, but taking a moment to humble yourself never hurt anyone. Then again, this is a franchise that marched TJ Yates into playoff games so they’re probably humble enough.