D’Brick by brick

Since the 2005 NFL regular season ended in late December, the Houston Texans have been on the clock.

With less than two weeks until the Texans are on the official clock, whom they’re selecting is still anyone’s guess.

From the beginning, Reggie Bush, the half man, half amazing halfback from the University of Southern California, has been the pick the Texans seem to be heading towards making on Draft Day. But even after their No. 1 overall-clinching loss in the jokingly titled “Reggie Bush Bowl,” the Texans have yet to commit to Bush or any other prospect.

Recently, Texas quarterback Vince Young’s name has entered the conversation as well. Young is big and strong – 6′ 5″, 233 lbs. – and agile to boot, as Bush and USC found out in Young’s Rose Bowl dominance. And Young has one other tiny advantage – he’s the hometown favorite.

Both Bush and Young certainly are exciting options at the No. 1 overall pick. They both bring the ability to change a game single-handedly. Unfortunately for Texans fans, neither is the right choice.

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    Just four years ago at this time, the Houston Texans hadn’t played a single game in the NFL. Sitting with the No. 1 pick in that year, they selected David Carr, the Fresno State quarterback who was going to lead the franchise to contention.

    Carr, along with any chances of success, got sacked 76 times in the 2002 season, an NFL record. Since then, the abuse hasn’t gotten much better. The same can be said about the football team.

    The Texans already have a franchise quarterback. And Domanick Davis, the third-year running back out of LSU, has yet to put up less than 900 yards rushing in a season, even though he only played in 11 games in 2005.

    Whether it’s Young or Carr under center, you can’t run an offense from your back. And Bush has nowhere to run without an offensive line in front of him.

    The guy the Texans need is the beast-of-a-man who goes by D’Brickashaw Ferguson. If his name isn’t reason enough, his game should take care of the rest.

    Ferguson is far and away the best offensive lineman in the 2006 draft class. At 6’6″, 312 lbs., he’s more like a man trapped in a grizzly bear’s body. He’s built in the Orlando Pace mold, and from all accounts, he’s got the skills to match.

    Offensive line isn’t going to make the kind of noticeable, game-altering impact that a running back or a quarterback is. But a team without an offensive line isn’t going to win a lot of games, either.

    The St. Louis Rams drafted Pace with the No. 1 overall pick in 1997. Two seasons later, they put everything together and won the Super Bowl. Not recent enough? Last season’s Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers had a line anchored by Pro Bowlers Alan Faneca and Jeff Hartings. Championships don’t happen on accident.

    Unlike the Steelers, the Texans aren’t in a position to win a Super Bowl next season, but they’re in a position to improve greatly. They have a shiny new wide receiver, former Buffalo Bill Eric Moulds, to line up on the other side of stud receiver Andre Johnson. They have a healthy Davis in the backfield. And they have a smart, talented Carr running the offense. Now they just need someone to protect him.

    And Ferguson can bring that to the Texans. He’s not the No. 1 overall-type prospect, but he’s certainly not going to make it out of the top 10 picks. And if the Texans pass on him, they could be looking at a lot more years of seeing Carr, or Young, or whoever is still healthy (and brave) enough to be their quarterback picking clumps of grass out of his facemask.

    Nathan Grimm is a sophomore in ALS. He can be reached at [email protected].