Paying off on the promise we made of a write-up on Rick Smith's pre-draft press conference yesterday, we now have the full transcript thanks to the fine folks over at The Mothership. I've hand-selected some samples for you to swish around your palette.
The "Process" has shifted and adapted
"The combination between [Director of College Scouting Jon Carr and Director of Player Personnel David Gaine] and... Matt Jansen, college scouting coordinator... their efforts in terms of organizing the department and managing that transition from Mike [Maccagan, now the Jets' GM] to what they were able to do in those roles was really fantastic."
"We always tweak our process. We’re always looking at the way that we do things in an attempt to improve. We looked at the process and one of the things we implemented this year was we sent coaches out to some pro days. We think that was something that was beneficial for us."
Communication between front office and Bill O'Brien's staff has greatly improved
"It’s been really good. We are exponentially better. I don’t know how you value that, but just from the standpoint of familiarity and understanding what we are looking for as a scouting department relative to that communication with the coaches. That’s been much better this year.
I think we have done a better job of articulating our vision for each of these players. We’ve got an idea of what the player will do when he comes into our group. We’ve really identified those roles that the player will come in and fill. I think from that perspective, just the communication has been so much better than last year."
Mum's the word on D.J. Swearinger trade rumors, but he was useful in sub packages
"First of all, we make it a practice not to discuss negotiations publically, whether that’s with an agent and a player or with another team with respect to trade opportunities. Those kinds of conversations are happening this time of year. There’s a lot of information and misinformation out there and a lot of conversations that can be construed or interpreted a certain way."
"[Swearinger is] a really good football player for us and he did a nice job last year in a role in our third down packages. He was really, really productive for us and we expect that he will do that again. I think D.J.’s abilities are even such that he can play a little bit more, even in the backend on some of the first and second down stuff. He really found himself a niche last year in some of our sub-packages."
Still deciding on Whitney Mercilus' fifth-year extension, but he's seen as a growing player like Kareem Jackson and Derek Newton
"Whitney is very similar to... players like a first-rounder with Kareem (Jackson) or a seventh-rounder with Derek Newton. These are young players that we feel like are still on the rise, that are getting better, that have a role on our football team, that are good teammates, that work hard, and that we see their level of play continuing to ascend. Whitney falls in that category, so he is a guy that we would absolutely love to continue to have here. That’s something that is our intention. Whether or not we pick that up really is not as important as the fact that we want him around for a long time."
Even With Ryan Mallett, Brian Hoyer and Tom Savage, taking a quarterback is still on the table
"I think our quarterback position, as we stand today, is better than it was a year ago. I do think that the addition of Brian (Hoyer) was another important free agent acquisition and contract that I was very happy that we were able to get done because I watch him in this building. Just the competitive environment in the quarterback room, it’s going to be fun to watch."
"I think that it’s an important year for Tom (Savage) as much as it’s an important year for any of these guys. I talk a lot about the jump from year one to year two has to be exponential and I’ve expressed that from time to time because it’s important.
"It’s at this point that all those first to second-year players ought to be so much better and we expect that they make that jump. We’re looking for that from Tom as well. However, that does not preclude us from taking a quarterback."
Most definitely eyeing a trade-back scenario
"There’s going to be a good player or two or three there for us to take, so it will potentially give us an opportunity to move back because I like our board. We probably have on average maybe a couple more players than typical that are rated in the first round. We never have 32 guys that are rated as first-round picks."
"I’ve come out of the bunker now and kind of peeking my head up a little bit trying to figure out what are other people thinking about this draft class so that you can anticipate and make some of those decisions the right way where you give yourself a chance to maybe get multiple players."
J.J. Watt's contract restructure was the plan all along
"Well, when we wrote the contract, that was something that was always, we were always going to do that when we wrote the contract originally. That wasn’t something that we did in an effort to create more room. In effect, it did that but it was designed to do that from the time that we did it in the first place."
Smith also spoke on weighing character issues, pre-draft visits, special teams players, running backs and wide receivers. Give it all a read-through if you wish.
Your thoughts on this, Texans fans? I tried to cut out the generic answers as much as possible in order for us to dig deeper into the mysterious psyche of Rick Smith. Put your thoughts into type down below. The draft is less than a day away!