The Houston Texans used a second-round pick they had received from the Oakland Raiders to select Georgia Tech running back Tony Hollings in Thursday’s NFL Supplemental Draft. The Texas will forfeit the later of their two second-round picks in the 2004 draft. Hollings was leading the nation in rushing (with 633 yards) and touchdowns (with 11) before tearing his ACL and the lateral meniscus cartilage in his right knee in the fourth game of the 2002 season. Hollings was declared academically ineligible for his senior season at Georgia Tech this spring, so he opted for the supplemental draft.
The Texans spent an extra second-round pick on a guy who many services projected among the top 10 seniors and who could turn out to be the “running back of the future” for this fledgling franchise—not too shabby. Hollings has decent size (5-11, 216 pounds) and ran the 40 in the 4.45 range prior to his knee injury. Stacy Mack is still the guy in Houston, but it’s unlikely Houston will carry both Jonathan Wells and James Allen, assuming that Hollings makes the squad as well. The Texans may also bring Hollings along slowly and keep him on injured reserve this season. And keep in mind that Mack is only under contract for 2003; if he struggles, or if he performs so well that he becomes too expensive for the Texans, Hollings could be the man as early as 2004. At minimum, he should be popping up on keeper-league radars.