They passed on running back Reggie Bush, widely expected to be the first player selected, and took defensive end Mario Williams.
Fast-forward eight years and the Texans, who once again own the top pick, are again a mystery. With six weeks to go before the draft, Houston is keeping its options wide open.
"I don't think it'll come to me in a dream," first-year Texans Coach Bill O'Brien said Tuesday during a breakfast with reporters at the NFL's annual meetings. "It might come to me in a nightmare. ... I don't think it's an easy decision. But we'll make a good pick."
Coming off a 2-14 season, the Texans are in the market for a quarterback. They won't necessarily use the No. 1 pick on one, though, and the signing of Ryan Fitzpatrick could temporarily reduce the sense of urgency.
"Just my opinion is that I see strengths and weaknesses with every one of these guys," O'Brien said. "I don't see where there are one or two guys, or three guys, that are just light years ahead of the rest of them.
"Some of these guys, if you look at [Alabama's] A.J. McCarron and [Louisiana State's] Zach Mettenberger, those guys played in the SEC, and so did Johnny. That's a tough conference. Zach and A.J., they won a lot of games in the SEC so they must have been doing something right."
The Texans have 11 picks to reshape their roster, including the first selection in every round.
"The No. 1 pick in the second round is another first-round pick," O'Brien said. "The No. 1 pick in the third round is a second-round pick. You don't want to be in that position every year, but if you do a good job then it works out."
Big Brother is watching
The league is always looking for ways to improve officiating, and Tuesday teams voted in favor of using an officiating command center at NFL headquarters in New York as an extra set of eyes for replay reviews.
On plays in question, the referee will have the authority to make the final call. However, officials in the command center now will have a voice in the process in real time.
"It's still referee review," said Dean Blandino, the league's director of officiating. "He has the ultimate authority. We're going to consult, and we'll come to a consensus. We're certainly not going to let him make a mistake, but the referee still has the final authority on the calls."
Both the NHL and Major League Baseball rely on a centralized replay systems.
Players will no longer be allowed to dunk the ball over the goal-post crossbar, a popular celebration. That should eliminate problems such as the one in Atlanta, when New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham knocked the goal post off kilter with a dunk.
The league also expanded the ban on "roll-up" blocks on the side of a player's leg. Previously, those blocks were only banned when coming from behind.
Give it the boot