Originally posted on Fox Sports Houston  |  Last updated 4/27/12
Five things I'm thinking about this weekend while wondering if, just a little bit, the fact that Whitney Mercilus' name sounds like "merciless" made the Texans like him. 1. Something that seems true (and totally is): The Rockets are just about the most depressing thing. They keep finishing with a winning record, but keep finishing outside the playoffs. They are a chain restaurant in a strip mall, they are a Lite American Lager, they are a moderately priced mid-size family sedan, a verse-chorus-verse-bridge-chorus pop song, a movie starring Ryan Reynolds. They are "not bad." The Rockets' success is also their failure. This isn't depressing in the way it is depressing to be a Charlotte Bobcats fan (a species I assume does actually exist), it's more like how it would feel if, say, an aging Tupac had spat 16 bars in a Justin Bieber song. It's the mediocrity of it all. For the third consecutive year, the Rockets will be the team with the 0.5 percent chance of winning the NBA lottery. They'll probably end up with the 14th pick again. Maybe they ought to just trade it. 2. Something that doesn't seem true (but totally is): Houston is a dedicated baseball town. This is possibly more personal, because I just moved here last May, during a bad Astros season. But last night after the Sugar Land Skeeters' debut, I asked manager Gary Gaetti if he was surprised how into the game the fans had been. They seemed to have already taken some pride in their Skeeters. They booed balls and strikes. They stuck around the whole time. They understood the big moments. This surprised me, anyway. "Nothing surprises me about Houston and baseball," said Gaetti, who had a long MLB career. I also talked to a fan from Conroe, who expressed quite a bit of certainty the Skeeters would remain popular, because Houston supports its own. Certainly I think of this as a football city, first, second and maybe third. But I might be wrong. 3. Something that is neither true nor untrue (but is fun to talk about): Whichever team takes Case Keenum should grab Patrick Edwards too. It seems unlikely both will be drafted this weekend, and if either one of them gets taken, it's probably going to be Keenum. A smart NFL team that has looked at the numbers and studied the tape and discussed Keenum with his coaches at the University of Houston will realize that he and Edwards have a special connection, allowing them to wordlessly communicate with each other on the fly. I would estimate that approximately 110 percent of the touchdowns Houston scored over the last few years were a direct result of a wink and a nod between Keenum and Edwards. This being the case, it would be silly for an NFL team not to take advantage of this special bond, which has developed over the last five years. These two should never be separated. Any time Keenum gets into a game, so should Edwards. And if they name Keenum the starter, they have to get Edwards into the lineup too. It's so obvious. 4. Something that recently happened: The Texans made as perfect a draft-day decision as can be made. Picking near the bottom of the first round, the Texans got an immensely productive major-college pass rusher. Whitney Mercilus led the nation in sacks and forced fumbles last year, and he did this in the Big Ten. He's not a project, and that's not a reach. We cannot predict the future, and I am not saying Mercilus is going to be the next Mario Williams. But I am saying that getting an athletic, productive pass rusher at the bottom of the first round is never a bad idea. 5. Something that is about to happen: That all said, the Texans need to take a wide receiver tonight, and I believe they will. Tonight is the night to take a risk. The Texans are in a position to do that. They're going to be fine on offense and defense no matter what happens in the draft, so now is the time to throw some chips on the table.
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