Draft Central: Texans 1st-round draft success

Draft Central: Texans 1st-round draft success
April 21, 2013, 11:15 pm
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Draft Central: History of Texans' first-rounders

Whitney Mercilus was the Texans' first-round pick in 2012.

(USA Today Images)

Gary Kubiak was named the Texans head coach on Jan. 26, 2006. He only had a few short months to prepare for his first NFL draft as a head coach. He's had six drafts since that first one in 2006 and he's had a pretty good track record with his first round selections.

2006 - Mario Williams (first overall), defensive end.

Everyone was shocked to hear the pick of Williams but Kubiak knew exactly what he was doing. Kubiak selected Williams over two of the most highly touted college players to come around in a long time, Reggie Bush and Vince Young. Williams left the Texans as a free agent in 2012 as the franchise's all-time leader in sacks and went to two Pro Bowls while in Houston. Bush has yet to make the Pro Bowl and Young is out of football.

2007 - Amobi Okoye (10th), defensive tackle.

Okoye is the only miss on the list, but no one is right all the time. Okoye had a huge upside with being just 19 years old when he was drafted out of Louisville. After four seasons the Texans released him. he had short stints with Chicago, Tampa Bay and again with Chicago but he is currently out of football.

2008 - Duane Brown (26th), offensive tackle.

A lot of draft evaluators were not fans of this pick. I know this because they've all told me. Brown is now the best left tackle in football. He broke out in 2011 when he gave up just 2.5 sacks for the season and wasn't called for holding the entire season. Last year Brown was named AP All-Pro First Team and earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl. Brown has been penalized only twice for holding in 76 career games. Once his rookie season and once in 2012. Remarkable.

2009 - Brian Cushing (15th), linebacker.

Cushing is the heart and soul of the Texans' defense. He's a two-time captain and was the team's MVP in 2011. Cushing was named the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2009 and has led the Texans in tackles two of his last three seasons.

2010 - Kareem Jackson (20th), cornerback.

You can't deny that Jackson had the best year of his NFL career this past season. Jackson was thrown to the wolves his rookie season and was scrutinized heavily by the media for his play as a rookie on the NFL's worst pass defense. He took his lumps and is now a solid lock down corner that shut down the NFL's best receiver in 2012, Calvin Johnson, on Thanksgiving day. Jackson finished tied for second in the AFC in interceptions with four last season.

2011 - J.J. Watt (11th), defensive end.

"Best season ever," said Wade Phillips when asked to sum up Watt's 2012 campaign. Enough said.

2012 - Whitney Mercilus (26th), outside linebacker.

Mercilus said all season he was just waiting for an opportunity. When he got it he made the most of it, recording three sacks in his first two NFL starts. Mercilus tied the Texans' franchise record for sacks by a rookie with six this past season. With Connor Barwin gone, Mercilus will get his chance for a full season in 2013.