Sean Pendergast

Texans Pick 12th Overall Thursday, Here's the History of that Pick

Deshaun Watson was one of the best 12th overall picks in recent years.
Deshaun Watson was one of the best 12th overall picks in recent years. Photo by Eric Sauseda
Yesterday, we went through the recent history of the second overall pick in the NFL Draft, what with the Houston Texans "earning" that pick for the first time in the team's history this past season. Well, thanks to the Deshaun Watson trade, the Texans will also be picking 12th in this week's draft, a spot that they have also never "earned" in the franchise's history.

They have used the 12th pick in the draft previously, but it was in a trade up to the 12th spot, from 25th overall, in 2017. Ironically, that pick was used to select one Deshaun Watson, and what a cruel irony that is. So six years ago the Texans trade up to 12 to draft Watson, and on Thursday they select 12th again with a pick they received FOR Watson. Circle of life, I guess?

Okay, let's get tot he history lesson, shall we? Here is the 21st century history of the 12th overall pick in the NFL Draft:
Jameson Williams Lions 2022
Micah Parsons Cowboys 2021
Henry Ruggs III Raiders 2020
Rashan Gary Packers 2019
Vita Vea Buccaneers 2018
Deshaun Watson Texans 2017
Sheldon Rankins Saints 2016
Danny Shelton Browns 2015
Odell Beckham Jr. Giants 2014
D.J. Hayden Raiders 2013
Fletcher Cox Eagles 2012
Christian Ponder Vikings 2011
Ryan Mathews Chargers 2010
Knowshon Moreno Broncos 2009
Ryan Clady Broncos 2008
Marshawn Lynch Bills 2007
Haloti Ngata Ravens 2006
Shawne Merriman Chargers 2005
Jonathan Vilma Jets 2004
Jimmy Kennedy Rams 2003
Wendell Bryant Cardinals 2002
Damione Lewis Rams 2001
Shaun Ellis Jets 2000 
Man, the 12th pick is a slippery slope, and we will get to the bad in a second. The best player of the bunch might end up being Micah Parsons in 2021, but the others on here that resonate with me are Haloti Ngata, a Pro Bowl level run stuffer for the Ravens; Fletcher Cox, an interesting Hall of Fame conversation to be for the Eagles; and Odell Beckham, Jr., who was one of the best wide receivers in football from 2014 through 2016. Vita Vea is really good, too. Marshawn Lynch is another name that will get some Hall of Fame banter in a few years. No sure things on this list like Julius Peppers or Calvin Johnson yesterday, but some solid to spectacular performers.

Okay, the most glaring one on here has got to be Henry Ruggs, the 2020 first round pick of the Raiders, who went five picks BEFORE Ceedee Lamb went to the Cowboys, and was out of the league in less than two years because he killed a woman in a drunk driving accident. Beyond that, the most glaring name is Christian Ponder, the Florida State QB who went about 30 picks earlier than anyone thought he would, and is best known for marrying Samantha Ponder, host of NFL Countdown.

If he had just kept his towel on in those massages, and had he not lost faith in the Texans' brass, Watson would be the best 12th overall selection since 2000, easily.  As it is, we will let Cleveland decide on how good a pick he was. The aforementioned Ponder was selected one pick after J.J. Watt. Current Texan and recent free agent signee Sheldon Rankins in on this list. Also, for you Coogs out there, D.J. Hayden probably should have been mentioned in the "bust" paragraph above.

I'll give you five names, but just know that I think there's as good a chance that Nick Caserio trades this pick, as there is him using it at 12th overall. If they stay at 12th, here are a few names to remember — Ohio State WR JAXON SMITH-NJIGBA is the player most frequently mock drafted to the Texans by NFL experts. If they don't take an edge rusher with the second overall pick, then keep the names MYLES MURPHY (Clemson), LUKAS VAN NESS (Iowa), and NOLAN SMITH (Georgia) handy. My wild card is Texas RB BIJAN ROBINSON, who plays a position that is probably better drafted with a Day 2 or Day 3 pick, but who is SO good that it is tantalizing to think of him in a Texans uniform.

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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts the morning drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the pre-game and post game shows for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast