Texans pass on Packers

As expected, the NFL's newest franchise - the Houston Texans - stuck with their game plan of youth over age and stayed away from any of the Green Bay Packers made available for today's expansion draft.<p>

The Texans began the draft by selecting five-time Pro Bowler Tony Boselli, the offensive tackle who was chosen first by the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars in 1995. The Texans followed by taking New York Jets' right tackle Ryan Young. The Texans absorbed Boselli and Young's fat contracts and totaled the league-mandated 38% of the league's $71.8 million salary cap.

Of the 19 players that Houston selected, many are experienced skill players at such positions as cornerback (Aaron Glenn and Marcus Coleman), wide receiver (Jermaine Lewis) and defensive tackle (Gary Walker and Seth Payne). The Texans also selected Baltimore linebacker Jamie Sharper, the brother of Green Bay safety Darren Sharper.

Green Bay submitted defensive tackle Santana Dotson, a Houston native, long snapper Rob Davis, defensive end John Thierry, linebacker K.D. Williams and linebacker Bernardo Harris. All but Williams will be older than 31 when the season gets under way this fall. Texans general manager Charley Casserly said last week that Houston will not select anyone over the age of 30.

Boselli and Glenn will each turn 30 before the season begins, but they are the oldest of the players selected.

The Texans, who now have 53 players on their inaugural roster, will pick first in the April 20-21 NFL draft. They also intend to sign some free agents, according to reports.

"I thought it was very impressive," said Green Bay Packers director of pro personnel Reggie McKenzie of Houston's draft. "They did not allow salary to interfere with what they're trying to get accomplished. I like the fact that they went after key positions. It's hard to get experienced, good corners, left tackles ... tackles in general, and defensive linemen."

The Packers will be seeking skill players this off-season along the defensive line and at wide receiver either through free agency, the draft, or by trade, McKenzie said. He said the team has been working recently on a game plan for free agency, which begins March 1.

About a dozen players will become unrestricted free agents, including wide receivers Corey Bradford and Bill Schroeder, offensive lineman Mike Wahle, return specialist Allen Rossum, and fullback William Henderson.

McKenzie said the team is not ruling out signing other unrestricted free agents or trading for them.

"If the player is any good, we have them in our site," McKenzie said.

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