By Cody Stoots

HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – The final edition of the Ten Years of Rick Smith will cover the Texans 2014 and 2015. The moves made in 2016 are not counted for the purposes of this series.

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.

3/18 Signed QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to a two-year deal

He had just finished a one-year stint in Tennessee.

Grade – Meh

Decent enough to get the Texans a few wins but bad enough to lose them a few games.

3/21 Traded QB Matt Schaub to the Oakland Raiders for a sixth-round pick. 

Grade – Good

I know it’s a sixth rounder but come on, he got SOMETHING for broken Matt Schaub.

3/21 Signed S Kendrick Lewis to a one-year deal

Lewis was coming off four fairly productive years with the Chiefs.

Grade – Good

Lewis solidified the back end of the Texans defense. He was cheap and effective.

2014 NFL Draft

Round 1 – DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina

The 1st overall pick

Grade – Bad

He hasn’t lived up to the billing quite yet. Injuries and trouble adjusting to the outside linebacker position have made slowed his progression. 4.5 sacks in two season is not near enough when Khalil Mack went four picks later.

Round 2 – OG Xavier Su’a-Filo, UCLA

The 33rd overall pick

Grade – Terrible

When you factor in various quarterbacks could have gone here, not to mention other offensive linemen who have had more success going behind him, it has to be this grade. He failed to factor into the 2014 season and didn’t impact the 2015 season until later.

Round 3 – TE C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa

The 65th overall pick

Grade – Terrible

The impact has been minimal at best. He has issues blocking and catching.

Round 3 – DT Louis Nix III, Notre Dame

The 83rd overall pick

Grade – Terrible

He was hurt one whole year and then cut before the next. That alone would earn him this designation. Now factor in that the team traded up for this pick.

Round 4 – QB Tom Savage, Rutgers

The 135th overall pick

Grade – Meh

Injuries derailed both his seasons. Will compete for the backup job.

Round 6 – DE JeoffreyPagan, Alabama

The 177th overall pick

Grade – Meh

Still on the roster but his impact is minimal.

Round 6 – RB Alfred Blue, LSU

The 181st overall pick

Grade – Meh

Still on the roster and a serviceable piece of the running back rotation.

Round 6 – FB Jay Prosch, Auburn

The 211th overall pick

Grade – Meh

It’s a fullback in the sixth round. Would have had to be real bad or real good to not be this grade.

Round 7 – CB Andre Hal, Vanderbilt

The 256th overall pick

Grade – Good

He didn’t have much 2014 impact but in 2015, he turned into a consistent contributor in the defensive backfield.

Round 7 – S Lonnie Ballentine, Memphis

The 256th overall pick.

Grade – Meh

He hasn’t played due to two season-ending injuries. Still on the roster.

8/31 Traded for QB Ryan Mallett for a conditional pick

Mallett has just finished three years as the backup in New England.

Grade – Meh

He won one game and lost one before an injury ended his year.

09/01 Signed S Danieal Manning

He had just been cut from the Bengals after being cut earlier in the year by the Texans.

Grade – Good

Ended up taking over as a starter at safety. Was told he could come back if Cincinnati didn’t keep him by Smith.


03/09 Released WR Andre Johnson

Johnson was coming off his 12th season on the Texans where he totaled 936 yards and three touchdowns.

Grade – Good

Johnson looked spent in Indianapolis and the team saved some money in doing so.

03/09 Re-signed CB Kareem Jackson to a four-year, $34 million deal with $20 million guaranteed

Jackson was coming off five years with the Texans.

Grade – Meh

Hasn’t been able to show much yet due to an injury hampering his 2015 campaign. The money is reasonable

03/09 Re-signed OT Derek Newton to a five-year, $26.5 million deal with $10 million guaranteed

Newton was coming off four years for the Texans.

Grade – Meh

Newton was valuable playing four different positions in the course of the sesason but he wasn’t exactly great at any of them. He is still on the team and the money is reasonable.

03/10 Re-signed QB Ryan Mallett to a two-year $7 million deal with $1.75 guaranteed

Mallett was coming off an injury and a half-season as the backup.

Grade – Bad

Alarm clock issues, bad play, and his eventual release mid-season earn this grade.

3/11 Traded QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to the Jets for a conditional late-round pick

Grade – Good

Something for what was the Texans nothing.

3/11 Signed QB Brian Hoyer

Grade – Meh

He was bad and good but almost bad enough in the playoff game to earn a bad grade.

3/12 Signed S Rahim Moore to a three-year, $12 million deal

Moore was coming off injury and four year in Denver.

Grade – Terrible

Was inactive for most of the year after bad play sent him to the bench for good.

3/16 Signed DT Vince Wilfork

Grade – Meh

He wasn’t bad but he wasn’t good.

3/16 Signed WR Cecil Shorts

Grade – Meh

See Wilfork’s description above.

04/01 Signed WR Nate Washington

Grade – Meh

Washington got deep but couldn’t catch. He pretended like drops didn’t exist.

05/04 Signed LB Whitney Mercilus to a four-year, $26 million deal with $10.5 million guaranteed

Mercilus had just finished three years as a member of the Texans.

Grade – Great

Mercilus was immediately worth the cash pairing with J.J. Watt to have the top sack duo in the league.

2015 NFL Draft

Round 1 – CB Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest

The 16th overall pick

Grade – Good

Johnson played from day one and though he had growing pains he played well.

Round 2 – LB Benardrick McKinney, Mississippi State

The 43rd overall pick

Grade – Bad

Traded up for him and wasn’t nearly good enough to justify the draft slot.

Round 3 – WR Jaelen Strong, Arizona State

The 70th overall pick

Grade – Bad

Traded up again and Strong wasn’t useful for most of the year. Other rookie wideouts vastly out-performed him.

Round 5 – WR Keith Mumphery, Michigan State

The 175th overall pick

Grade – Bad

Barely serviceable.

Round 6 – LB Reshard Cliett, South Florida

The 211th overall pick

Grade – Meh

Had his season ended by injury but showed a tiny bit of promise.

Round 6 – DT Christian Covington, Rice

The 216th overall pick

Grade – Meh

Showed some promise.

Round 7 – RB Kenny Hilliard, LSU

The 235th overall pick

Grade – Meh

Practice squad

Final Tally:

Great – 12

Good – 25

Meh – 47

Bad – 15

Terrible – 24

I think this final tally tells us what we know about Rick Smith. He has a some clear defecienses as a general manager but he also has strengths that have helped the team. He isn’t good, but he isn’t as bad as the perception. Let’s see how 2016 goes when we revsit in 2017.


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