Texans choose Boselli first in expansion draft

Tuesday, February 19, 2002

HOUSTON -- With face-painted fans shouting his name, Tony Boselli became the Houston Texans' top pick Monday -- the second time an expansion team began building a franchise around him.

"We have a Hall of Famer and we haven't played a game," general manager Charley Casserly said.

After five Pro Bowl seasons as an offensive tackle with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Boselli proved to be too attractive for the Texans to pass up, even at a huge cost.

Hundreds of Texans fans wearing blue-and-red jerseys and helmets with bulls' horns cheered the choice of Boselli, who missed most of last season with a shoulder injury that makes him something of a question mark. He seemed equally enthused about joining the new team.

"I've been with a group of guys that no one thought could play before," Boselli said. "The sooner this team comes together and becomes cohesive the sooner we can be good."

Boselli was the first player chosen by the expansion Jaguars in 1995 and quickly became a dominate offensive lineman. He has allowed 15 1-2 sacks in his seven pro seasons.

The first eight choices came from just three teams -- the Jaguars, the New York Jets and Baltimore, all of whom had serious cap problems.

"Obviously Charley knew the teams in cap trouble -- us, Baltimore and Jacksonville," said Terry Bradway, general manager of the Jets, who lost starting right tackle Ryan Young and both starting cornerbacks, Aaron Glenn and Marcus Coleman.

The Texans, who will play their first game against the New York Giants on Aug. 5 in the Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio, also took three players from Jacksonville -- defensive tackles Seth Payne and Gary Walker. Baltimore, the 2001 Super Bowl winner, lost starting linebacker Jamie Sharper and Jermaine Lewis, one of the NFL's best kick returners.

The Texans took 19 players in the expansion draft. They also planned to make use of free agency and will get the first pick in the college draft on April 20.

"We got experience at positions that are hard," coach Dom Capers said. "We got two starting offensive tackles, two starting defensive lineman and a playmaker in Jermaine Lewis."

The Texans are expected to make Fresno State quarterback David Carr their first pick in the college player draft in April. In the 17th round, they chose quarterback Danny Wuerfell from the Chicago Bears.

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