The Ten Years of Rick Smith: Year Four

HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – The 2009 year of Smith’s tenure is next.

Explanation of grading:

Great – Transformative move that had a positive multi-year effect on the team

Good – Positive move that had at least one year of impact for the team

Meh – Moves that were neither hugely positive or negative. Late round draft picks with no other real options.

Bad – Negative moves that had half season or full season negative impact. Picks/signings when reasonably believable upgrades were available

Terrible – Multi-year negative effects. Picks/signings when significant talent could have been found instead.

These moves are not looked at as much in the moment, as how we now see them in history. No use in trying to remember how we felt at the moment, that was covered extensively at the time.

2/19 Used the Franchise Tag on Cornerback Dunta Robinson

The first franchise tag in the history of the team.  $9.957 million in value.

Grade – Meh

The tag led to the infamous “Pay Me Rick” cleats and it led to a seemingly uninspired Robinson. It was the lone year of his Texans tenure he failed to record an interception.

2/27 Traded QB Sage Rosenfels to Minnesota for a 2009 4th round draft pick

Grade – Meh

This is the first of a long line of adding picks for backup quarterbacks. The player (see below) wasn’t much though.

3/1 Signed DE Antonio Smith to a five-year $35.5 million contract

Smith was coming off five years in Arizona where he amassed 14.5 sacks in 62 games.

Grade – Great

The ninja well out-performed his contract for the Texans. He started all but two games in his Texans tenure racking up 27 sacks in five years and earning a Pro Bowl bid in 2011. He was well worth the money.

2009 Draft

Round 1 – LB Brian Cushing, USC

The 15th overall pick.

Grade – Good

Cushing was the Defensive Rookie of the Year and was well on his way to becoming one of the best young linebackers in football before two injuries derailed his career trajectory. The injuries, and the suspension keep this from being a great move by Smith.

Round 2 – LB Connor Barwin, Cincinnati

The 46th overall pick.

Grade – Good

Barwin converted from defensive end to outside linebacker and outside of one injury shortened season progressed well. In 2011, he had 11.5 sacks, and though his 2012 was disappointing, he did more than enough for the selection to earn the good grade. No relevant players the Texans would have needed/drafted were picked around Barwin.

Round 3 – C Antoine Caldwell, Alabama

The 77th overall pick.

Grade – Terrible

Was selected to potentially replace Chris Myers who never lost the center spot. Played guard for four years starting 19 games but was average. The selection after him was Pro Bowl guard Louis Vasquez. He wasn’t brought back for a second contract.

Round 4 – S Glover Quin, New Mexico

The 112th overall pick.

Grade – Good

Quin was a solid player for the Texans starting every game his last three seasons in Houston. He wasn’t spectacular but was more than capable and you could see why Detroit eventually invested in him.

Round 4 – TE Anthony Hill, North Carolina State University

The 122nd overall pick. Acquired in the trade with Minnesota.

Grade – Terrible

Three seasons on the team. Three career receptions. Enough said.

Round 5 – TE James Casey, Rice

The 152nd overall pick.

Grade – Meh

Casey was a nice player but he was never more than average. No significant players the Texans could have used were drafted around him.

Round 6 – CB Brice McCain, Utah

The 188th overall pick.

Grade – Meh

Look, McCain wasn’t good. He wasn’t consistently awful either, though. He was an average backup for his five years in Houston. With no other significant players picked around him he escapes the bad grade.

Round 7 – S Troy Nolan, Arizona State

The 223rd overall pick.

Grade – Meh

7th round pick. Played a little.

5/06 Signed Running Back Arian Foster as an Undrafted Free Agent

Grade – Great

Really doesn’t need explanation.

9/24 Signed Safety Bernard Pollard

Grade – Great

Pollard was a monster for the Texans coming in after the season had started and starting 13 games. He recorded 102 tackles, four interceptions, and a touchdown solidifying the back-end of the Texans defense. For when he was signed, and the contribution he provided in 2009, there was no other grade but great.

Running Tally:

Great – 5

Good – 9

Meh – 11

Bad – 4

Terrible – 7

Graph-Year-4

Follow Stoots on Twitter – @Cody_Stoots

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