The Texans 2011 draft is over, and it had a decided Wade Phillips-ian flavor to it. Not that I'm complaining. With poor to mediocre drafts every year since the 2006 haul that produced five contributors (including three Pro Bowlers) for the current roster, something had to change. If that something is Wade Phillips taping Gary Kubiak and Rick Smith to their chairs with their arms at their sides so they can't touch the phones, all good by me.
So with undrafted free agents sitting in "job search" purgatory waiting for the lockout to end, there are only eight players to assess. I'm not really the guy who can assess them on film; that would require my having watched more than three of them consistently (I have not). However, I can assess them based on things in which I am an expert -- funny names, stereotypes, porn names and Cam Newton.
So with that in mind, let's hand out the 2011 Texans Draft Class awards....
PLAYER WITH MOST RACIALLY MISLEADING NAME: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin (1st round, 11th overall). Via Twitter, Bill Simmons immediately welcomed Watt to his Reggie Cleveland All-Stars for white guys with names that make them sound African American. I contend that the Texans and the San Antonio Spurs need to work out a trade where Watt can trade names with shooting guard Gary Neal, whose name sounds much more like that of a white defensive end from Wisconsin than "J.J. Watt."
PLAYER WHOSE ASSESSMENT IS MOST TIED TO A SILLY VISUAL SIMILARITY: Brooks Reed, DE, Arizona (2nd round, 42nd overall). Much the same way any white wide receiver under 5-foot-10 is the "next Wes Welker," it appears that any outside linebacker with flowing blond hair coming out the back of his helmet will now be the "next Clay Matthews." If Reed had a buzz cut, does he still get all the Matthews comparisons? I say no. The silver lining is that if Brian Cushing for some reason misses Matthews, he can just start working out with Reed and hardly miss a beat. Hell, if the Bewitched writers can expect us to buy into Dick Sargent replacing Dick York, a Reed-for-Matthews swap is nothing.
PLAYER LEAST LIKELY TO BE CONFUSED WITH CAM NEWTON: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami (FL) (2nd round, 60th overall). According to "friends that know things" of my colleague, Lance Zierlein (morning co-host on 1560 The Game and brains behind the Z Report blog on chron.com), Harris is a coach's son who will talk defensive strategies and schemes with you all day long, if that's what you're into. Cam Newton's ability to talk schemes begins and ends with "36" (which, in Auburn's play book, is apparently a play).
PLAYER MOST LIKELY TO BE CONFUSED WITH CAM NEWTON: Derek Newton, OT, Arkansas State (7th round, 214th overall). ...only because he wears a jersey with the last name "NEWTON" on it, which easily qualifies him for this distinction.
PLAYER WITH BEST PORN STAR NAME: Rock Carmichael, CB, Virginia Tech (4th round, 127th overall). They say the best porn names are when you take the name of your first pet as the first name and the name of the first street you lived on as the last name. Of course, that is trumped by the little known rule that "anyone named Rock immediately has the best porn name."
Honorable mention porn name: Shiloh Keo, S, Idaho (5th round, 144th overall). Female name "Shiloh" is the only thing keeping him from winning. Have to maintain some gender integrity.
PLAYER I WOULD TAKE IN A SPELLING BEE: Cheta Ozougwu, LB, Rice (7th round, 254th overall). According to a blog post by Chuck Pool in the Rice University Sports Information Department, instead of sitting and watching the first round of the NFL Draft last Thursday night, Ozougwu spent his evening in the library studying for finals so he can walk with his class this month. I'm going to take Gary Kubiak at his literal word when he says Ozougwu is a "good kid."
BAD JUKEBOX SONG PICK: T.J. Yates, QB, North Carolina (5th round, 152nd overall). The draft seemed to be going along just fine, Wade Phillips was cruising along steering the ship, picking defensive player after defensive player (five in a row to start the draft), and then apparently he ceded control for one pick. And presto, T.J. Yates is a Texan! I'm not crazy about Yates, and the franchise's history drafting quarterbacks has been less than stellar. This was the equivalent of...well, you know how when you're hanging out at a bar and one of your buddies has control of the jukebox? And he plays five really good songs in a row, and decides to let one of your friends with a very dull, almost nonexistent musical ear pick a song? And you wind up with a death metal song completely undercutting the mood in the room? Well, T.J. Yates was death metal for me.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from noon to 3 p.m. weekdays and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.