Let me first say that I really like the Houston Texans' public relations staff. The group that we, the media, interact with on a frequent basis (and during the season, on practically a daily basis) are some of the best at what they do. Smart, engaging, good people.
Let me secondly say that the people with the Texans who are responsible for selecting football players in 2011 are piss poor at their job. They, too, may be nice people, but they've filled the roster with a laundry list of washouts and never-will-bes (some exceptions, but very few). How do I know this? Well, I have eyes. I can read. I watch football. It doesn't take much more to figure it out.
The Kubiak/Smith Era (which from a player selection standpoint I start in 2007) has been a disaster.
So it hurts to see the people who are good at their jobs (the media relations people) asked to send out daily e-mails touting the performance of the people who have been awful at their jobs (the general manager, head coach, anyone responsible for hiring talent).
Of course, I'm talking about the Texans' Daily Draft Notes, which have been coming in the last week or so leading up to the 2011 NFL Draft, propaganda that is so insulting to a normal football fan's intelligence that it may as well be signed at the bottom by the Iraqi Minister of Information.
The Draft Notes have gone as follows:
TEXANS DAILY DRAFT NOTE #1
Today's Texans Draft Fact: Since 2002, the Texans have drafted or signed nine college free agents who have gone on to earn Pro Bowl selections in their careers, either for the Texans or for a future team, tying the Texans with Baltimore and Pittsburgh for fifth-highest total in the NFL in that time. Seven of those players were drafted, while two college free agent signees have gone on to become Pro Bowlers.
What The Texans Want You To Believe: "We have done an amazing job of identifying Pro Bowl level talent. Be confident that this will happen again in 2011."
The Truth: Somehow the Texans have managed to draft (or sign in undrafted free agency) the fifth-most Pro Bowlers since the year the team entered the league, and yet the playoffs (and except for 2009, a winning record) have eluded them. The untold story -- all but one (Brian Cushing, 2009) were selected by someone other than Rick Smith. Also, the Texans are counting Jason Babin as one of "their" Pro Bowlers, which is like the producers of Beverly Hills Cop touting themselves as discovering Damon Wayans (with his 30-second bit part as the gay fruit stand guy).
TEXANS DAILY DRAFT NOTE #2
Today's Texans Draft Fact: All 10 of Houston's first round draft picks made immediate impacts as rookies, with only one starting less than 14 games for the team in their first season. The Texans have the 11th overall pick in next Thursday's first round, the team's highest selection since drafting DT Amobi Okoye with the 11th pick in the 2007 NFL Draft.
What The Texans Want You To Believe: "We are drafting 'impact' players, guys who are NFL-ready, big time contributors."
The Truth: Most of these guys started games because the team was so damn weak, they had no choice but to start them. Taking it a step further, doesn't it call into question the motivation for starting these rookies when the organization sends out unsolicited e-mails touting this kind of thing? Like the team is starting them merely because they are first rounders? Especially when one of them is Kareem Jackson, who may have been the worst player at his position in the league?
TEXANS DAILY DRAFT NOTE #3
Today's Texans Draft Note: Twenty-six of the 31 players (83.9 percent) Houston has drafted since 2007 were still a part of the organization at the end of the 2010 season, contributing to the most successful four-year stretch in franchise history. Only the Carolina Panthers have kept more of their draft picks than the Texans in that time, retaining 31-of-34 draft picks (91.2 percent).
What The Texans Want You To Believe: "We've drafted so many studs the last four years, how could we possibly let them go?"
The Truth: Just because you hold onto something for longer than you should doesn't mean it's worth anything. Giving the Texans credit for retaining 26 of their 31 draftees is like giving credit to an old lady on Hoarders for keeping 15 years worth of newspapers and a dozen cats. Also, notice the only team ahead of them in this "important" metric is picking first in the draft, the worst team in football.
TEXANS DAILY DRAFT NOTE #4
Below is a look at the Texans All-Time Draft Day Trades:...
...and then they listed all the Texans draft day trades.
What The Texans Want You To Believe: I'm not really sure. I think at this point, the people sending out the notes knew how ridiculous the first three sounded so sending one out that had innocuous facts was the choice least likely to rile right-thinking people.
The Truth: It probably was the best choice, but disappointing for bloggers looking for material.
TEXANS DAILY DRAFT NOTE #5
Below is a look at who has been drafted with the selections the Texans have in the 2011 NFL Draft since 2002.
...and then they listed all the historical picks from 2002 through 2010 in the Texans' 2011 draft spots, including all of the #11 picks overall since the Texans have been in the league.
What The Texans Want You To Believe: "Look at all the Pro Bowlers! Willis, Roethlisberger, Trufant, Freeney, Ware, Cutler!!!"
The Truth: None of those people were selected by Rick Smith or anyone closely resembling Rick Smith.
TEXANS DAILY DRAFT NOTE #6
The Texans have gotten great contributions from their first-round draft picks, but have had some equally impressive fourth-round picks garner recognition as rookies. Four of the Texans' 11 fourth-round draft picks have been named to Pro Football Weekly's All-Rookie Team, with two selected to Pro Bowls in their careers (Jerome Mathis, 2006 Pro Bowl; Owen Daniels, 2009 Pro Bowl).
What The Texans Want You To Believe: "We really know what we're doing on draft weekend! Look at all of the value we've gotten in the middle rounds, like..say...the FOURTH round!"
The Truth: If the Texans were so good at getting value in middle rounds, trust me, we'd have gotten a note about the second, third, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds as well. Fact.
The fact of the matter is that I can save myself and all of you a lot of time in the future. Any time someone tries to directly tell you that the Texans have been good at drafting NFL players, simply send them this link to a slideshow that John McClain of the Houston Chronicle put together ranking all 77 of their draft picks. It's downright chilling.
If they don't have time to look at the whole thing, and you can only convey the Texans' ability to draft players by pointing them to one slide, send them to the 44th best draft choice in franchise history (according to McClain) -- LSU kick return specialist Trindon Holliday.
Trindon Holliday was an undersized, one-trick pony who, in training camp, couldn't even catch the ball on punts and kickoffs to execute his one trick. He wound up on injured reserve and still has yet to play a down in the NFL.
Forty-three percent of the players the Texans have drafted have been worse than that guy. Oh, and the players ahead of him (way ahead of him, actually) include David Carr, Kareem Jackson and Petey Faggins.
But they're on the right track.
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.
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