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2009 NFL Draft Wrap-Up Question & Answer

Kortney - Missouri City, TX, US: Two questions, do you feel that drafting another pass catching TE as athletic as Casey gives the Texans more flexibility in trying to resign Owen Daniels to a long term extension? And also, looking at Casey's highlights, he played alot of goal line halfback in the wildcat offense at Rice. Since we didnt go after a big back, and since Casey is so versatile do you think that there is a chance that Houston uses him like around the goal line to give us a Brandon Jacobs type player.

2009 NFL Draft Wrap-Up: Nick: This is our last question. We went a little over our one hour because so many questions came in. Thanks to everyone for joining us today and for all of your great questions.

I don't think that drafting Casey had anything to do with Owen Daniels. We drafted Hill first because we needed a run blocker. Casey was a luxury when he fell into our laps that late. It's a case of taking the best player available, and the Texans got a guy who can do a lot of things for them. Kubiak said yesterday that Casey will play some fullback for us, so you could be on to something. Don't forget about Chris Brown, who's 6-3, 220, as an option at RB.

Joe - clear lake, TX, US: whats up Brooke, i went high school with anthony hill at clear brook, now my question is do you think anthony hill will get a chance to play tackle or just tight end. i notice that everyone we drafted can almost play multiple postions, is that mind set of the texans. And did we pick up some free agent running backs last night. plus you looked great in that red out fit yesterday. keep up the great work

2009 NFL Draft Wrap-Up:

We are taking a couple more questions. Great chatter today.

Brooke: Hi Joe, The Texans are really excited about Anthony Hill coming in as a tight end. I talked to coach Gary Kubiak about Hill this morning and he told me that Hill will be used mainly as a blocking TE who will take pressure off of Owen Daniels. Hill should see the field right right away. And so are very right about the versatility of the Texans' draft class. Their second-round pick Connor Barwin was a tight end who converted to defensive end before the 2008 season. The Texans did end up signing two running backs last night: Jeremiah Johnson and Arian Foster. They are both bigger backs who will look to make plays between the tackles and complement Steve Slaton. And thanks for the red dress thanks you as well!

John S. - Alvin, TX, US: Tell me a little about the center the Texans drafted in the 3rd round. Do they expect him to compete for a starting position this year or was he a "depth" pick?

2009 NFL Draft Wrap-Up: Nick: We've only got time for a couple more questions. Kyle Shanahan said they do not expect Caldwell to take over for Chris Myers. They're thrilled with the job that Myers did as the anchor of the line last season, and the O-line's got great chemistry right now. But Caldwell will be a valuable backup at center and both guard positions. He played everything but left tackle at 'Bama (mainly center) and was the heart and soul of the Tide's talented offensive line.

Jeremy - Houston, TX, US: Can you guys please talk Taylor Mays into joining the Texans via free agency this off-season? Do you have that kind of pull? (haha)

2009 NFL Draft Wrap-Up: Nick: I'd love it (I went to USC and am a huge Mays fan). Mays lived with Cushing at USC. But the NFL's going to have to wait another year for Mays... and as a USC fan, I can't say I'm upset that he'll be on that defense again next year. Plus, Rick Smith and the coaches feel pretty good about D. Barber and Eugene Wilson at safety with Nick Ferguson back there for depth.

Troy - houston, TX, US: Could have the Texans traded perhaps their last three pick and gotten another pick in the 2nd or possibly 1st via Cleveland and maybe would have drafted Vonte Davis, CB? Perhaps they could have traded their last three pick and got another solid defense play maker. It just seems that the last three pick were simply a waste.

2009 NFL Draft Wrap-Up: Nick: They almost certainly would've had to have given up more than a 5th, 6th and 7th to move up to No. 25, which is where Davis was drafted. Here's what I like about the last three picks: Casey was a great value and is incredibly versatile. McCain ran faster at his pro day than any corner in the draft did at the combine. Nolan had 10 interceptions in two seasons at ASU - he's a ball-hawk. Don't forget that Diles and David Anderson were 7th rounders. Dom Barber was a 6th.

John - Regina, CA: Can you tell me what the team thought of drafting Caldwell in the 3rd? What are the plans for him? Any chance he replaces Briesel on the right-side, or is he merely a versatile depth signing?

2009 NFL Draft Wrap-Up:

Brooke: Hi John, The Texans started the same O-linemen all season without one guy missing a game. They were lucky, because they didn't have much depth at the O-line. Caldwell gives them depth at guard and center. Here is what coach Gary Kubiak told me this morning: "We had a need for a swing player: guard, center that can push Chester (Pitts), push Chris (Myers), push Mike (Brisie) and make us better and give us some flexibility in there as a team. So, he was a big target of our and to get him, we feel good about that." It looks like Mike Brisiel is the starter and Caldwell will work out mainly as a backup center.

petey - houston, TX, US: There was a lot of pre-draft talk concerning trading down from our #15 pick. Do you know if we had any offers from a team wanting that pick?

2009 NFL Draft Wrap-Up: Brooke: Hi Petey, GM Rick Smith said he entertained some calls from teams wanting to trade up, but the Texans were targeting Brian Cushing all along. They didn't want to risk losing him, so they stayed at No. 15. The Texans came into this draft with more picks that last year (they had eight total). Smith didn't feel the urgency to get another pick from a team like last year when the Texans entered the draft without a second-round or a fifth-round pick.

Bob - Cypress, TX, US: I think that Jeremiah Johnson is a really great fit for our team. Have you heard any comments about him yet?

2009 NFL Draft Wrap-Up: Nick: I went to school at USC and saw Johnson play a couple of times. In terms of his size and abilities, he sort of reminds me of Steve Slaton. He can really bounce the ball outside and take off. He clocked a 4.71 40 at the combine, but I think he plays faster than that. He started over Jonathan Stewart, the Carolina Panthers' first-round pick in '07, at Oregon until he got hurt. I love his potential.

Don - Omaha, NE, US: There were some reports out there that Cushing seemed less than excited when we drafted him. Do you have any insight into this or were these individuals over reading things?

2009 NFL Draft Wrap-Up:

Brooke: Hi Don, I was actually at the airport when Brian Cushing arrived and I talked to him about going at No. 15. Cushing said he thought he might go earlier because he was invited by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to attend the draft in New York. But he was very excited to be chosen by the Texans. He really liked the coaches and the philosophy of the organization. When he got off the plane, he was wearing a Texans' hat and he didn't take it off all day. In fact, he was so excited during his tour of the stadium that he pulled out his phone and had me take a photo with his family on the stadium floor.

Jeremy - Houston, TX, US: What do you think of the decision not to really address the defensive backfield and defensive tackle aggressively? I was surprised to only use a 4th rounder at DB. The 6th and 7th round guys will do well to contribute on special teams, much less play significant downs on defense. We've needed to address the defensive backfield for the last several years with real quality, but haven't managed it outside of Dunta.

2009 NFL Draft Wrap-Up: Nick: Well, the Texans did draft three DBs. No D-tackle, which tells you they've got to feel good about the group they've got now that Shaun Cody is aboard. Don't forget, adding Barwin helped the DT position because it'll allow Antonio Smith to move inside in pass rushing situations. They like Quin as a guy who can compete at the nickel spot right away. He's got the size and measurables that the Texans love. McCain in the 6th is small but runs in the 4.2-4.3 range. Nolan, the safety, looks like a ballhawk who made a lot of plays in only 2 seasons at ASU.

Don - Omaha, NE, US: I'm pretty excited about the Caldwell pick. Obviously, he's an extremely versatile player for our o-line, but ultimately, if you had no narrow it to one spot on the line, then where do you envision the Texans putting him next year?

2009 NFL Draft Wrap-Up: Brooke: Hi Don, No one is happier about drafting Antoine Caldwell than assistant head coach and zone blocking guru Alex Gibbs. Caldwell played guard and center at Alabama and he will be a swing guy for the Texans. Coach Gary Kubiak said they primarily will work him at center. Chris Myers will start at center; Caldwell will back him up and back up guards Mike Brisiel and Chester Pitts. Here's what Kubiak told me in an interview this morning: "We had a need for a swing player: guard, center that can push Chester (Pitts), push Chris (Myers), push Mike (Brisie) and make us better and give us some flexibility in there as a team. So, he was a big target of our and to get him, we feel good about that."

Jade - Denver, CO, US: We picked up 2 undrafted free agent RB Johnson and Foster. What good and bad do they bring to the Texans?

2009 NFL Draft Wrap-Up:

Nick: The good is their production and that they both fit the Texans' one-cut system. Foster is a big back (6-1, 226). Johnson is more Slaton's size but has good explosiveness and quickness (look him up on youtube - he also has a mean stiff-arm). The bad is that both have been injured in the past. If they can stay healthy, they're both exciting players.

Jay - Fort Polk, LA, US: I like the pick up of James Casey, but I dont think he would benefit us as a tight end because we already have Owen Daniels. Would it be a possibility that he could be a fullback or short yardage back?

2009 NFL Draft Wrap-Up:

Brooke: Hi Jay, James Casey has played just about every position on offense. He can line up at receiver or fullback and even play quarterback in a Wildcat formation. Coach Gary Kubiak told me this morning that Casey gives them a lot of flexibility and makes them less predictable, especially in the red zone. Kubiak also can use Casey in two-tight end sets.

Jason - league city, TX, US: Why would the Texans choose Hill when Casey was there? Casey was a projected second rounder.. even at that point he was a huge value.

2009 NFL Draft Wrap-Up: Nick: Hill filled a bigger need as a run-blocking TE with Bruener retiring. Tight ends coach Brian Pariani said that it's hard to realize the value of a run-blocker sometimes without gaudy statistics, but he's going to help us run the ball. Ended up that the Texans got the best of both worlds when Casey was still there a round later.

Josh - Austin, TX, US: Brooke, I saw on your profile that you went to grad school at USC. How much lobbying did you do with the coaching staff to draft someone from USC? and are you still as heart broken as Cushing seemed like he was yesterday from losing the National Championship? HOOK 'EM

2009 NFL Draft Wrap-Up: Brooke: If I could have my way, I'd have a lot more Trojans in Houston, but I don't get much say on draft day! I did know Brian Cushing from my USC days and interviewed him, Clay Matthews and Mark Sanchez at the combine. The coaches and scouts targeted Cushing all along. They do a lot of homework on their players, but I did put in my two cents. Per the national championship, we can talk about VY later.

Daniel - Ozona, TX, US: Am I the only one that liked the pick of Connor Barwin? (I mean besides the organization otherwise they wouldn't have drafted him)

2009 NFL Draft Wrap-Up: Nick: No. I liked it, too. He's going to allow Antonio Smith to move inside on passing downs, where he excels. We could be looking at a front four of Barwin, Smith, Okoye and Mario Williams in passing situations.

Troy - houston, TX, US: we've wasted the two picks on TE? What a waste! What we should have done is traded the last three pick plus one player currently on the roster and gotten a 2nd round or another 1st round pick and got someone who could do damage. Green Bay, Cleveland would have traded. I like the CB from New Mexico, as I thought that was a great move. Brian Cushing? Hmmmm. I think he's going to be another A.J. Hawk where at the college level they were dynamic and when they hit the pro they are just another average player. I don't think Brian is going to be as great as everyone think he is going to be. I got this gut feeling that this is going to be the case. I am dissapointed that we didn't trade up to get Malcom Jenking from Ohio St.

2009 NFL Draft Wrap-Up: Nick: A lot of people were surprised the Texans took two TEs. But they needed a run-blocking TE and got maybe the best in the draft in Hill. I don't think they planned on taking Casey in the fifth, but they also didn't plan on him being there. He's such an athletic, versatile talent that they couldn't pass him up. You don't find many guys who can play tight end, receiver, fullback, quarterback, long snapper and almost any special teams position that late in the draft.

Coach Carter - Katy, TX, US: Were the Texans aiming for Cushing to start the draft or did we end up having to "settle" for him? I was hoping for a more electrifying player, but nothing is wrong with durable LB next to Ryans. (I was hoping to trade down)

2009 NFL Draft Wrap-Up: Brooke: The Texans were targeting Cushing all along. In fact, I interviewed coach Gary Kubiak about it this morning and here is what he said: "Brian was a target of ours as the day started. The way the draft unfolded we saw that we would get him and it wasn't going to be a situation where all of a sudden he left before our pick. That worked out very well. I think he was an automatic impact player for us at SAM linebacker; he stays on the field with us for three downs." I saw Cushing play at USC and he has a mean streak in him that I think he'll bring to the defense...which fans should enjoy.

Jerrold Phipps - Houston, TX, US: In your opinion, do you think that Gary Kubiak and Rick Smith are extremely pleased, very pleased or just pleased with the Texans draft results? Will the Texans be a better team with this draft?

2009 NFL Draft Wrap-Up: Nick: They're both extremely pleased, and they said so yesterday after the draft. Smith talked about adding guys who are not only good football players but good men who'll fit well in the locker room, something he values. They both feel that the draft class improves the team's athleticism, toughness and depth. Kubiak expects to see big impacts from Cushing and Barwin right away. The versatility of some of the other players is off the charts.

zach - Baltimore, MD, US: The Texans chose not to select a running back in the draft. Most of the texan fans were looking for the front office to draft a short yardage back and/or someone to compliment Steve Slaton. Were you not impressed with the running backs in the later rounds of the draft, or are you looking for a RB in another way? If so what are your plans?

2009 NFL Draft Wrap-Up: Brooke: It surprised a lot of people that the Texans didn't draft a running back and waited to sign two undrafted rookie free agents: Jeremiah Johnson and Arian Foster. Coach Gary Kubiak said that they had targetted two backs, but they were selected before the Texans could get to them in the third round. After that, Kubiak said they felt like they would be reaching for backs. That's why they opted to draft more talented athletes like tight end James Casey. Both Johnson and Foster are bigger backs that lack elite speed, but they could be the perfect complement to Slaton.

Norman - Georgetown, TX, US: Tell memore about the 2nd rd pick....what I know I like in terms of flexibility. Will he be a LB or DE?

2009 NFL Draft Wrap-Up: Nick: He'll be a pass-rushing DE. Here's what you should know: Barwin ran a 4.59 40 at the combine and posted a 40-inch vertical. He only played DE for one year, his last, but had 12 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss. He was a TE before that and was a special teams demon, and he also played on the Cincinnati basketball team. According to a reporter yesterday, Barwin once held Greg Oden scoreless for 10 minutes in a game against Ohio State, and Oden is 7 or 8 inches taller than him.

zach mitchell - Baltimore, MD, US: What gave Brian Cushing the edge on being drafted over Clay Mathews?

2009 NFL Draft Wrap-Up:


Hi Zach, Defensive coordinator Frank Bush liked Cushing all along because he is so versatile and because he plays with a mean streak. Cushing played all three linebacker positions and defensive end at USC. The Texans can use him in pass rush schemes and they know he will improve their run defense. Coach Gary Kubiak told me this morning that he really liked that Cushing had started for four years. Matthews only started his senior season and was often hard to find in USC's packages. Kubiak also said the Texans thought Cushing would improve their run defense more that Matthews.

Fred Sampson - Missori City, TX, US: I see that Gram Haroald from Texas Tech is still around for the picking is he one that the Texans could pick up?

2009 NFL Draft Wrap-Up: Nick: Harrell went undrafted - he had great numbers at Tech but is going to have a tough time adjusting to the NFL coming from that offense. I haven't heard anything about the Texans looking at him as an undrafted FA.

Big Trav - Nacogdoches, TX, US: How do you see our current LB situation working out? We signed Cato June and Buster Davis as FAs and drafted Cushing... not to mention we started with Ryans, Adibi, and Diles to name a few.

2009 NFL Draft Wrap-Up: Brooke: This linebacker competition is going to be heated. Coach Gary Kubiak told me that he wants Brian Cushing on the field right away at SAM. That means Zac Diles isn't going to be starting at the strongside. DeMeco Ryans will start in the middle and Kevin Bentley will back him up. Bentley will stay on the team because he can play all three linebacker positions and excels in special teams. That leaves the weakside position open. Diles could move over there and compete with Xavier Adibi and Cato June for starting honors. Buster Davis probably will be competing to make the team.

Carlos - New Orlenas, LA, US: This might be a reach and I hope it's not a stupid question. There are a couple solid free agents WR's on the market and I was wondering why the Texans won't grab one and put them opposite side of AJ. I'm still not sold on Andre Davis. Although our offense was ranked #3 last season, we're still competeing with Tenn, Jack, and the big dog Indy.

2009 NFL Draft Wrap-Up: Nick: Kevin Walter had a career year - almost 900 yards and eight touchdowns. He and Johnson combined for 175 receptions for 2,474 yards, which was more receiving yards than any other WR tandem in the NFL (including Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin). He's a smart player and tough blocker. The Texans just re-signed David Anderson as a slot receiver, and Andre' Davis and Jacoby Jones are a couple of speed burners who need to stay healthy. The Texans' passing attack was fourth in the league last seaon.

john jones - baytown, TX, US: hey Gary Kubiak!! i was wondering if u think we could get a Quarterback..........bc schuab i think is a good back up not a starter........theres still more good quarter backs left like Chris Pizzotti, went to harvard and his 6'5.........also Chase Clement, went to rice and his 6'1.........i bet those two quarterbacks are better and smarter than matt schaub!!!

2009 NFL Draft Wrap-Up:


Hi John, I talked to coach Kubiak this morning about the quarterback situation. Like you pointed out, the Texans didn't draft a QB this year. Matt Schaub is their starter and Dan Orlovsky is the backup. Kubiak thinks that Alex Brink has potential as the No. 3 guy, but he also needs to improve a lot. The Texans aren't opposed to bringing in another QB, but they do want to see what they have in Brink.

Jason - Tyler, TX, US: With the decision to pass on a RB in this year's draft, does that give cause to believe Chris Brown has completely recovered from injury and is finally ready to contribute? Or will we be seeing something similar to the Ahman Green situation?

2009 NFL Draft Wrap-Up: Nick: Good question. Last week, Rick Smith said not to discount Brown, who has been working out hard this offseason and has all the tools to be a big back to go with Slaton. Brown is fully healthy now, but the key for him will be staying healthy - something he's struggled with his entire career. The Texans considered drafting an RB on the second day but felt there was better value at other positions.

Norman - Georgetown, TX, US: Why 2 TEs and no RB? Thereis a good RB from Virginia on the board.

2009 NFL Draft Wrap-Up:


Hi Norman, I talked to Gary Kubiak about this in-depth. He said that James Casey was the best athlete available when they went to pick in the fifth round, and they didn't want to reach for a running back. Casey can play just about any position on offense, including receiver and quarterback. The Texans can use him in three-tight end sets. Also, Kubiak told me that on Sunday night the team signed two free agent rookies: running backs Jeremiah Johnson and Arian Foster. Johnson rushed for 1,201 yards with 13 touchdowns last season at Oregon. Foster, meanwhile, had a successful career at Tennessee, including a career-best 1,193 rushing yards with 12 touchdowns as a junior in 2007. And keep in mind that the Texans haven't given up on running back Chris Brown as a complement to Steve Slaton.

john - houston, TX, US: Are the Texans just drafting backups in this draft for depth ? I do not understand drafting two tight ends back to back.

2009 NFL Draft Wrap-Up:

Nick: Welcome to our post-draft live chat. We'll be recapping the Texans' picks by answering your questions, which are pouring in. We'll be here for the next hour and do our best to answer all of them in the order in which they were sent. Before we get started, remember to check out our **Draft Pass** coverage this week for exclusive interviews with Rick Smith, Gary Kubiak, Brian Cushing and more.

To john's question: Anthony Hill from N.C. State is a run-blocker, which the Texans needed. He'll play in two-tight end sets. Kubiak said that they hope Hill will block the SAM linebacker in a 3-4, something the Texans struggled with last season. And Hill was arguably the best run-blocking TE in the draft. As for James Casey, GM Rick Smith said that he was simply too good to pass up in the fifth round - the Texans had him rated a lot higher. He can play TE, FB, long snapper and could be a demon on special teams. They love his versatility.

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