While the Houston Texans don’t have nearly as many draft day regrets as the 31 other franchises around the NFL, they certainly aren’t without at least one of their own.
In 2005, the Texans held the 16th selection in the annual NFL Draft.
Coming off a season in which the team had yet again failed to make the postseason, the Texans were looking to add another piece in round one that would help solidify them as a playoff contender in the AFC South.
Florida State defensive tackle Travis Johnson was the selection at 16th overall for the Texans in the 2005 NFL Draft.
Johnson was regarded as one of the top defensive tackles available in that year’s Draft by many top draft experts. Johnson had a productive career as a Seminole, especially his senior season where he registered 50 tackles, 18 of which were for a loss, and 2.5 sacks. Johnson also earned First Team All-ACC honors, propelling him to the top of team's draft boards.
Johnson’s tenure in Houston was not one to be remembered. Johnson never managed to become the top defensive tackle he was regarded as out of college during his time with the Texans.
Johnson only managed to play four seasons in Houston before being traded to the San Diego Chargers after the 2008 season. Johnson managed just 80 tackles and two sacks in his four seasons with the Texans, and only accumulated 22 tackles with one sack in his two seasons in San Diego.
The 2005 NFL Draft courted quite a one-two punch at the quarterback position. University of Utah quarterback Alex Smith went first overall to the San Francisco 49ers, while former California quarterback Aaron Rodgers slipped until the 24th pick.
It’s almost mind-boggling that the Texans allowed Aaron Rodgers to slip past them with them owning the 16th pick in the first round, eight slots higher than the Green Bay Packers; who ended up taking Rodgers 24th.
The Texans were coming off of a fourth-straight losing season with David Carr as the starting quarterback, and there wasn’t much statistically by him that proved he should be the long-term answer at quarterback.
Rodgers eventually went on to become one of the league’s best quarterbacks in the game today, a Super Bowl MVP, a league MVP, and has led the Packers to the playoffs four consecutive years.
Washington Redskins’ head coach Mike Shanahan is famous for saying “when you have the opportunity to draft a franchise quarterback, you draft a franchise quarterback." The Texans clearly missed their opportunity in 2005 to make Rodgers their franchise signal-caller.
Travis Johnson hasn’t played in an NFL game in over three years, and David Carr is a journeyman backup who’s played for three different teams since leaving Houston. Rodgers is a three-time Pro Bowler, a former First-Team All-Pro, and has surpassed 20,000 yards passing with 171 touchdown passes.
Looking back on other past drafts, the Texans certainly may regret ever taking David Carr in the first place, but no one can argue the fact that he was the best quarterback available in the 2002 NFL Draft.
While he may not have been the franchise quarterback all of Houston had hoped for, they took who they felt was the best player to move them forward as an expansion team.