Did Rick Smith Blow The Offseason?

Sep 7, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans general manager Rick Smith during the game against the Washington Redskins at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 7, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans general manager Rick Smith during the game against the Washington Redskins at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

Significant Performances by Free Agent Quarterback Brock Osweiler and First Round Draft Choice Will Fuller Are Critical To The Texans 2016 Success.

Rick Smith, Bill O’Brien and supporting staff began the offseason with a plan. They knew the team needed a franchise type quarterback and a game breaking wide receiver to relieve the pressure on star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Their plan began to unfold with the acquisition of free agent quarterback Brock Osweiler and was further executed by moving up a spot in the first round of the draft to select Notre Dame wide receiver Will Fuller.

Of course there were other important acquisitions in free agency, the draft, and perhaps undrafted free agency; but Osweiler and Fuller are the cornerstones of a plan apparently well executed by the Texans’ brain trust. Most pundits gave positive grades regarding the Texans’ offseason. Some questioned Osweiler’s small sample size and/or cost.

Others noted Fuller’s drop rate. But they did not rip the picks. They offered understanding and hope. Enter Jayson Braddock.

Who is Jayson Braddock? For Over a decade he has been a pro football analyst for various media outlets. He is currently the host of The Source on Houston 790 AM, KBME. He is also NFL Analyst, writer and media host for RotoExpert. With those credentials his opinions have an aura of credibility that commands attention.

What does Jayson Braddock think of Brock Osweiler as an NFL quarterback? Braddock states he reviewed every pass of Osweiler’s 2015 regular season and he doesn’t like Osweiler’s throwing motion or footwork. Furthermore he believes that Osweiler holds the ball to long, is unable to analyze defenses, takes too many sacks, doesn’t see the whole field, doesn’t anticipate throws, doesn’t see ahead of the receiver–which puts them in jeopardy of big hits, only has “vicinity accuracy”–especially on the long pass which he describes as a lob, and is otherwise very ordinary. Presumably, other than those flaws he likes him.

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Believe it or not he views the acquisition of Will Fuller even less favorably. As the draft unfolded he told his radio audience that the Texans “blew the draft” with the selection of Fuller. He said that Fuller was his 15th rated receiver.

He mocked Fuller’s “baby midget hands”, as he said that Fuller’s hands were not big enough to be midget hands. The distinction of “baby midget” hands was necessary to drive the point home. He questioned whether Fuller would be in the league long enough to sign his second contract.

Braddock’s opinion is cause for concern. However, his opinion alone should not lead to burning Rick Smith in effigy. After all, it is much easier to opine for media fantasy site and a radio talk show than it is to actually select talent for an NFL team.

If the media employed analyst is sufficiently entertaining and presents his/her opinions with appropriate gravitas the analyst does not have to be right. Occasional “good calls” are usually enough to maintain credibility. The good calls are what the public remembers because the analyst recites them on a regular basis.

The missed calls are ancient history before they become apparent. Nobody remembers if the analyst knocked the drafting of J.J. Watt.

Being a team employed NFL analyst, which begins with the General Manager, is an entirely different thing. Their mistakes are very public and have the potential to damage a team’s fortunes for years. From David Carr to Sam Montgomery and Louis Nix, we remember that the team GM and head coach missed the call and that the Texans were set back. Who remembers which media analysts lauded those picks?

That does not mean that that Mr. Braddock is wrong. He displays a good knowledge of the game. He works hard at his profession. But so do Rick Smith and Bill O’Brien, and they have to be right far more often than they are wrong.