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The Ten Years of Rick Smith: Year Seven

HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – The year is 2012, the Texans have just made the playoffs for the first time and lost to the Ravens, and Rick Smith is the team’s general manager.

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.

 

3/6 Signed RB Arian Foster to a five-year $43.5 million deal. $20 million guaranteed

Foster was fresh off back-to-back amazing seasons with the Texans. He was 25 at the time.

Grade – Good

Foster managed an immediate payoff for the Texans totaling 1,424 yards and 17 total touchdowns. He played half a season in ’13 but bounced back for another good season in 2014. 2015 was his final on the team and was marred by injuries. The contract ended up being a good deal and with a little more health would have found itself in the great category.

3/17 Extended C Chris Myers with a four-year $25 million deal. $14 million guaranteed. 

Myers was coming off a Pro Bowl season and was in the middle of a consecutive start streak.

Grade – Good

Myers went on to make a Pro Bowl the next year and continue his consecutive start streak up to his release before the 2015 season.

3/20 Traded LB Demeco Ryans to the Eagles for a third round pick swap and fourth round pick. 

Ryans had seen his stats and effectiveness for the Texans decline. Brian Cushing was coming into his own as a linebacker.

Grade – Good

The swap and the additional pick netted the Texans two future starters. They didn’t miss Ryans too much as Cushing played well before injuries. Ryans had one decent year left in the tank and he immediately gave that to the Eagles before injuries caught up with him.

2012 NFL Draft

Round 1 – LB Whitney Mercilus, Illinois

The 26th overall pick

Grade – Meh

Rushed the passer effectively in his first three years. His fourth year will be addressed when his contract extention is covered here.

Round 3 – WR DeVier Posey, Ohio State

The 68th overall pick. The pick was acquired by trading the 58th overall pick to Tampa.

Grade – Terrible

He was never what they had hoped he would be. In the trade, Tampa selected perennial linebacking standout Lavonte David. Kelechi Osemele, Rueben Randle, Dwayne Allen, Trumaine Johnson, and Ronnie Hillman all went in the picks following David. Olivier Vernon and Russell Wilson went in the picks after Posey.

Round 3 – OG Brandon Brooks, Miami (OH)

The 76th overall pick. The pick was acquired in the Demeco Ryans trade.

Grade – Good

Brooks didn’t play much his rookie year but took over the starting job after that and never looked back.

Round 4 – C Ben Jons, Georgia

The 99th overall pick. Acquired in the Demeco Ryan trade.

Grade – Good

Jones would end up backing up or starting all along the interior offensive line for the Texans starting 43 of his 64 games with the team.

Round 4 – WR Keyshawn Martin, Michigan State

The 121st overall pick. Acquired in the trade with Tampa.

Grade – Terrible

There wasn’t a ton of talent going around this pick but Martin was bad. He was near useless in the team’s offense and was a below-average return man.

Round 4 – DE Jared Crick, Nebraska

The 126th overall pick

Grade – Meh

Ended up being a starter after two years as a backup but wasn’t spectacular. If you wanted to get pick Malik Jackson went 11 picks later.

Round 5 – K Randy Bullock, Texas A&M

The 161st overall pick

Grade – Terrible

He missed his entire first season due to a groin injury which was rumored to a “redshirt” year because he was so poor at kicking. He then took over in 2013 and had a percentage below 75 percent. He would improve in 2014 and then get cut in 2015. Ten picks later Greg Zuerlein was selected. Four picks after that Blair Walsh was selected. Marvin Jones and George Iloka both went to the Bengals a few selections after Bullock. This is far and away one of the worst moves in Smith’s tenure.

Round 6 – OT Nick Mondek, Purdue

The 195th overall selection.

Grade – Meh

Late round pick that never made an NFL roster.

8/16 Signed LT Duane Brown to a six-year extension worth $53.4 million. $22 million guaranteed. 

Brown was going into his fifth year having started every game in his career except for the four games where he was suspended.

Grade – Great

Brown was showing franchise left tackle tendencies but there was a little luck to this deal. Brown leaped forward into one of the better tackles and a ton of other guys got paid huge money making this deal look better and better over time.

9/9 Signed QB Matt Schaub to a four-year extension worth $62 million. $24.75 million guaranteed. 

He was coming off five seasons of starting for the Texans with two 4,000 yard seasons under his belt. Health derailed an extremely successful 2011 campaign.

Grade – Terrible

This was signed a couple months after Peyton Manning was rumored in being interested in being the Texans quarterback. It, honestly, wasn’t really earned either. The team didn’t have to double down on Schaub. He had a year left on his deal.

Schaub looked like he was worth the money initially, which has to frustrate Texans fans. In 2012, Schaub passed for 4,000 yards once again while posting a 22/12 interception ratio. His playoff performances were lackluster, but not bad. I don’t need to remind you about 2013 and his subsequent boot from the team.

Running Tally:

Graph

Great – 10

Good – 18

Meh – 23

Bad – 7

Terrible – 17

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