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Texans 2008 NFL Draft Review

The Houston Texans are all done. They’ve made a trade, they’ve made their selections, and, now, they’re one step closer to start the 2008 Regular Season. With the draft all done, here’s your TexansGab.com’s Houston Texans NFL Draft Review:

ROUND 1

TRADE:

The Texans’ first pick of the draft was put on hold after the Texans made a trade with the Baltimore Ravens. The Texans traded their 18th overall pick for the Ravens’ 26th, 89th (3rd round) and 173rd (6th round) overall picks. The trade ended the Texans chances to draft CBs Aqib Talib and Mike Jenkins, OTs Sam Baker and Jeff Otah, or RBs Rashard Mendenhall, Felix Jones and Chris Johnson. Although they passed on these talents, GM Rick Smith said on the Texans’ pick 18 for Baltimore’s picks 26, 89, and 173: “As a young football team trying to build, anytime you can move back and acquire draft picks … we felt great about that.” Plus, the Texans made out pretty well with their picks…

Pick 26:

LT Duane Brown – 6’5″ & 308lbs. Virginia Tech – r-Sr.

The beast of an offensive tackle, Brown, transitioned from tight end to right tackle before moving to left tackle last season in Virginia Tech’s zone blocking system. He made special teams tackles, blocked a kick and protected the quarterback’s blindside well at Va. Tech. Now, Brown brings his athleticism and quick feet to the Texans’ zone blocking scheme with plans to help the run and pass game flourish.

“It is the ultimate challenge across the line,” Brown said on a conference call. “You have the number one job and that’s keeping the quarterback’s blind side clean. I feel like I have the ability to play that position and I’m going to work hard to learn the offense and polish up my technique and try to contribute very early.”

HC Gary Kubiak said on acquiring Brown, “I think this kid is an automatic fit for what we want to do running the ball.” After seeing him at the combine, Kubiak fell in love with what Brown could bring to the Texans. Kubiak said, “We like his length. We like his upside. We love his athletic ability.”

Smith and Kubiak have done good things for the Texans, and hopefully they’re right on with Brown at the left tackle position.

ROUND 2

No pick.

ROUND 3

Pick 79:

CB Antwaun Molden – 6’2″ & 195lbs. Eastern Kentucky University – Sr.

Molden, an underrated cornerback/track star prospect out of Eastern Kentucky University, had an impressive combine and Texas all-star game while showing scouts his NFL-like instincts, his abilities to jam receivers at the line or backpedal and transition well into coverage with the recovery speed to keep up in the NFL when he gets beat. In this YouTube video from DraftGuys TV, Molden displays NFL-ready athleticism and technique, and then he’s interviewed about topics such as his high school coach, Ted Ginn Sr, and his music of choice.

Pick 89 (from Jacksonville through Baltimore):

RB Steve Slaton – 5’9″ & 197lbs. West Virginia University – Jr.

This Mountaineer may be short, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be a dud in the NFL, especially when he’ll have to prove himself for playing time behind Houston’s four backs in front of him (A. Green, C. Brown, C. Taylor, & D. Walker). Slaton can catch as a receiver and in the backfield while being able to run through arm tackles. His quickness and agility as a running back excelled Rich Rodriguez’ spread WV system with QB Pat White, and made him a Heisman canidadte hopeful going into his junior season. Here’s a video of Slaton’s top college plays. The knocks on Slaton that caused him to fall to the third round are his ease to be tackled and his durability and injury issues.

ROUND 4

Pick 118:

WLB Xavier Adibi – 6’1″ & 232lbs. Virginia Tech – r-Sr.

Abidi impressed NFL scouts and coaches during his college career at Va. Tech and later at the Senior Bowl with his ability to close in on tackles with good speed for his size. For the Texans, Abidi will play best in the their 4-3 system at the weak side linebacker position. For the Hoakies, he played well in coverage and while shedding single blocks, but Abidi will have to work on his ability to shed NFL blocks and double teams. So he’ll probably have to gain weight, which may slow him down. A memorable career came for Abidi came in the ACC Title game when he picked off a Matt Ryan pass for a 40-yard interception return for a touchdown with 11 seconds left in the game finalizing the score Virginia Tech 30, Boston College 16.

ROUND 5

Pick 151:

DT Frank Okam – 6’5″ & 347lbs. University of Texas – Sr.

Okam, as seen in this DraftGuys TV video, has the body size, strength and athleticism to be a big time defensive tackle in the NFL. There were many times at Texas when Okam could take on two offensive linemen at a time and still dominate, but at times he showed too many inconsistencies against lesser talented blockers that dropped him to a fifth round draft pick. This could be because he has never been NFL-DT-fast off the line of scrimmage, and that’s something he can work on with the Texans’ defensive linemen coaches. His biggest knocks come from his inconsistent effort on every down. But that doesn’t take away from his dominating sophomore season at Texas.

ROUND 6

Pick 173 (from Baltimore):

S Dominique Barber – 6’0″ & 210lbs. University of Minnesota – Sr.

Barber is a talented free safety with one big knock: speed. His 40 yard dash was clocked at 4.70 seconds, but that doesn’t take away from his senior season for the Gophers: 12 games played with 100 tackles and 8 pass break ups. He’s the younger brother of Cowboys RB Marion Barber III, and the son of Marion Jr, a former NFL and All-Big Ten running back of the Minnesota Gophers. He’s good for the Texans because he can make special teams plays and has the bloodlines to prove himself better and better in the NFL (like his brother). Although he was an inconsistent tackler, he’s football smart and can read the quarterback’s eyes while staying aware of the field.

ROUND 7

Pick 223:

QB Alex Brink – 6’2″ & 215lbs. Washington State University – r-Sr.

You have to see this Brink’s arm in this KXLY video of his 38 pass completions for 469 yards and five touchdowns in the WSU 45-17 win over San Diego. He only threw seven incompletions and broke Drew Bledsoe’s record of 37 pass completions from 1992. At Washington State, Brink also broke other WSU school records as he threw for 10,913 yards and 76 touchdowns. On the downside, Brink is undersized for a typical NFL QB. He also did not play well against higher ranked competition as seen in this KXLY video when he threw for 251 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in a 53-7 loss against the Oregon Ducks in his hometown of Eugene.

Draft Talk and Notes:

*HC Gary Kubiak on passing up a chance to trade down again from 26: “I actually heard the phone ring with about a minute left in Seattle’s pick and I screamed down, ‘Don’t answer it.”

*HC Gary Kubiak on drafting first round pick Duane Brown: “There were some very good offensive linemen in this draft … (but) we have really been in love with this kid for a long time. He fits what we want to do.”

*First round pick Duane Brown’s comments on playing for Zone Blocking Guru Alex Gibbs: “I’m very interested and excited about the chance to work with him,” Brown said. “I know he’s a great coach and he did wonders with the Broncos line and is looking for guys who are my type to help the lineup and I am going to do everything I can to help them.”

*Third round pick Steve Slaton on himself reported from, the unofficial site, SteveSlaton.org: “I have great speed and field vision. I’m also really strong. I love playing RB and I’ve been playing it my whole life. I have the speed, elusiveness and strength. I’d like to run over linemen more and be a more powerful runner.”

*Yahoo Sports reported from the Senior Bowl on fourth round pick WLB Xavier Abidi: “Sick speed and athleticism.”

*In high school preparatory, sixth round pick S Dominique Barber lettered two years playing hockey.

*Seventh round pick Alex Brink won the Awards and Recognition Association’s Sportsmanship Award. Ed Hunt, president of the ARA said, “There was no shortage of stellar candidates this year across Division 1. We’re encouraged by the volume and caliber of candidates, but Alex Brink was our stand out, he lives and breathes good sportsmanship and we are honored to name him the 2007 recipient of our award.” – Chairman for ARA and former BYU head football coach, LaVell Edwards, presented the award to Brink. Edwards said on Brink, “(H)e’s smart, poised, positive and gracious with his teammates, coaches, the media, fans, teachers and the community he serves. He leads his team with class on campus and in the community. He’s wise beyond his years and someone young kids can and should look up to.” Other winners of this award were Leonard Davis (2006) and DeAngelo Williams (2005).

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