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Quotes: Wade Phillips first-round press conference

Posted Apr 28, 2011

After the Texans drafted Wisconsin defensive end J.J. Watt in the first round, Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips spoke to the media about the pick.

After the Texans drafted Wisconsin defensive end J.J. Watt in the first round, Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips spoke to the media about the pick.

Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips
(opening statement) “J.J. Watt, I think you talk about value and you talk about need and we certainly needed a defensive player. He was the top guy we had right there and right then. I like his ability. He’s our kind of player. He plays a hundred miles per hour every play. This was the kind of player we want on the Texans defense. He reminds me a lot of Phil Hansen, who I had at Buffalo for a while, that same kind of size, movement and temperament. If he plays anywhere close to Phil Hansen, that’d be great for us. I think the kid is very talented athletically. He ran a 4.81, I believe, at 290 pounds. They worked him out as an outside backer and he actually didn’t look bad at 290 pounds as an outside backer. He’s really a defensive lineman and at 6’5½”, 34 reps, he’s strong and we think he can come in and help our defensive line and play really well in our area. He is a good pass rusher. He will help us on the pass rush. I think he had seven sacks this year. He’s just coming along. He played tight end. He moved from Central Michigan where he was a tight end and is really working his way up as a defensive end. He keeps getting better and better because he works at it. He’s become stronger. He’s become faster and he’s going to keep helping himself because he’s such a hard worker. I was impressed with the way we did the draft. All the scenarios we’ve been through before.  Every single one of them that got to our point, we had gone through so I was impressed the way Rick (Smith) did it and Gary (Kubiak) and how they set it up. We had a lot of discussions. I’ve been with teams where we had a lot of arguments. These were discussions. People made their points. We came down to our final decision and we think it’s a really good one for us.”
(on what put J.J. Watt ahead of other players available when he was selected) “I think he’s just a really good football player. He led their team in sacks, caused fumbles, hurries and blocked kicks. He was second on their team in tackles and second on their team in passes defensed. Now passes defensed for a defensive lineman and tackles for a defensive lineman at that position are rare. This guy makes a lot of plays.”

(on how he compares to Nick Fairley) “I don’t want to talk about another player. I’ll talk about our player. We decided who we wanted to go with. We had been through the scenarios and this was our pick and we feel good with it.”

(on the Wisconsin defense Watt played in) “It’s a little different than ours. You have to project what a player can and can’t do, but he did play a lot against offensive tackles and five-technique type things. He’s really good at getting off blocks. Once he’s engaged, he gets of blocks quickly and that’s why he’s been able to make a lot of tackles. He knocked down an inordinate amount of passes. He is tall, but there are a lot of tall guys that don’t have that feel to reach up and knock the ball down when they’re throwing it. I know he had six or eight of those; a lot more than any other player that I’ve seen.”

(on if he was surprised DE Aldon Smith was selected by San Francisco so early) “No. We liked him. We liked him all along. I think he’s a good player. I think that’s a good pick for them. People recognize good players.”

(on the versatility Watt provides playing opposite Mario Williams) “Well I think it gives us a lot of versatility with Mario now. This guy can play the left end for you and that gives you some versatility with what you want to do with Mario. I think that’s a big key point for us also.”

(on if they felt Watt would be there later in the round) “You can make expositions all the time and say if you trade back and still get the same guy or this guy or that guy. We talked about Aldon Smith and obviously we liked Aldon Smith. He was taken way before we even picked. If you’ve got a good player and you really like him, you better take him at that point. If you’ve got four guys that you think are the same guy, then that’s a different thing.”

(on if they were tempted to trade up) “We really never had that opportunity. It never came about. I think we were open to that and I think Rick said that earlier. The opportunity never really arose.”

(on if the pick changes the defensive focus in the later rounds) “No. We need to get defensive players. Our coaches that were in the room, we’re holding up defense every time we get a chance. When Rick looks back, we’re holding up defense. We still need some more defensive players. What’s best for the team is what’s best for me, I don’t mean that. I think it’s clear that we need a lot of defense in this draft.”

(on the amount of input he had in the pick) “I think the great thing about this was it was an organizational decision. I think we were real strong in that area.”

(on where Watt will play on the defensive line) “I think he’ll play defensive end, although you saw him in the pass rush situations, you saw him on the highlight film play on the nose and beat the center because he’s a good athlete and if you get him one-on-one, he’s going to give them problems. Just like all our guys, we’re going to try and get him one-on-one as much as we can. I look to him to play at defensive end on first and second downs and maybe go inside on third, but that remains to be seen. When you’ve got (Connor) Barwin and (Mario) Williams outside, if you he can play inside which I think he can, we saw him do that in the pass rush and that was a strong area for him. He’ll fit well.”

(on Mario Williams' versatility on the defensive line) “I wouldn’t be surprised at anything he can do. We’ll work that out once we get the draft done and certainly when free agency comes in, it’ll be somewhat of a factor. I think he can play anything you want him to play.”

(on moving Mario Williams to outside linebacker) “There’s a possibility that he could play defensive end or outside backer, I think.”

(on the expectation for Watt's contribution in 2011) “Anytime you pick a guy with the 11th pick of the draft, you expect them to play and help you this season. I think that’s a reasonable expectation.”

(on how different it was for him to be in the draft room as a coordinator and not a head coach) “I’ve been a defensive coordinator, I don’t know, 18 or 20 years, whatever. I’ve been on that side of it too, this side of it too. You get a lot of input and of course, the older you are, the more input you get. I like that part of it. Even when I was in a defensive coordinator position, I always do whatever’s best for our team. This was really an organizational pick because everybody was for it. I think I feel good and we all feel good about that.” 

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