We've never seen the Texans be as aggressive in the NFL Draft as they were on Friday night, trading late round assets to select both ILB Benardrick McKinney and WR Jaelen Strong. Rick Smith explained his actions and Bill O'Brien shared what he saw in them. Check out the full transcript here, but here are some of the better parts:
Both players were the highest on their draft board at the time, so Rick got aggressive.
"As the second round began to unfold, Benardrick (McKinney) was sitting there and it was pretty clear that he was the highest rated guy left on the board. We felt like we needed to get aggressive. Bill (O’Brien) will talk about what we think about him as a player, but really excited about him. It was pretty clear that he was the guy that was still there, so we started making some calls and we were able to obviously go up and make that trade with Cleveland. So we went up and gave up a fourth (round pick) and a sixth (round pick).
We felt like that was a little rich, so we were able to get a seventh back, thinking that we might be able to package that a little bit later on or get a good player in the seventh round, as well, so we did that.
"In the third round, the same thing. There’s a guy sitting there that has obvious value. So once again, just trying to be aggressive and adding talent to the football team. I got on the phone again and actually executed the first trade of the Mike Maccagnan era with the Jets. We took that seventh that we had gotten and then also a fifth rounder."
DeVier Posey was trade bait coming into the draft, wanting to get him into a better situation.
"Then obviously, the trade of DeVier Posey. I think it’s a good opportunity for DeVier. For whatever reason, his career just hadn’t really materialized the way that I think he had hoped while he was here. We had talked with him prior to the draft and we had communicated to him that we would try to find a situation that was a good one for him. He feels really good about it and I’m sure if you talk to him he will articulate that to you, so we felt good and put him as a part of that package to go up and take Jaelen (Strong)."
"[DeVier Posey] worked extremely hard for us. He’s a great guy with an excellent work ethic. He’ll get a good, fresh start there in New York and we just, as a coaching staff, we just want to tell him that we appreciate all his efforts here with us in our first year here on the job."
Jaelen Strong is not here to replace Andre Johnson, but they're confident in his abilities.
"I don’t know that anybody here is expecting him to replace Andre Johnson. We’re revamping our wide out position. For a number of years, if you thought wide receiver in Houston, you thought about Andre, so it’s natural I think that question arises, but that’s not the expectation in our building. We want him to come in and we don’t want him to be anything other than himself."
"Jaelen Strong is a big, outside receiver. A really good catch radius. He’s able to go up and do a great job on 50/50 balls, contested catches. We feel like he can run. We feel like he’s best days of football are ahead of him."
Don't expect McKinney or Strong to start right away.
"In our vision, we feel like [McKinney] can do some things on third down; we think he’s a versatile player. We’re going to start off at the inside position and teach him that position. Then as time goes on, do some things possibly with him on the outside, but primarily he’ll be an inside linebacker. I do believe that he can do some things on third down, but primarily he’ll be a first and second down inside linebacker and then we’ll go from there.
"Well, I think all these guys come in as backup players. It’s important for these guys to get off on the right foot, get into the meetings, prepare for the meetings, learn the meetings, the walkthroughs and then go out on the practice field and try to get better every single day. As long as they do that, they’ll all have a shot to play at some point in time.
"When you talk about starters, we have so many different personnel groups on both sides of the ball, it depends on who we’re playing, we’re a game plan on offense, game plan defense. The expectation will be for these guys to come in and work extremely hard, get better every day on the practice field and help us, no question about it."
I know that many in the Commentariat were thrilled to see the Texans move up to get two players that filled some major needs, but I'm betting that some will be disappointed that they won't be major contributors right off the bat. Mike Mohamed and Cecil Shorts III will likely enter the 2015 season as the starters at their respective positions over the rookies.
And that's not a bad thing as the special teams unit could always use some help. Some top-flight, drafted talent could do the coverage and return teams wonders.