5 Things the Texans Learned at Combine

Weights were lifted.

Forty-yard dashes were run.

Interviews took place.

Medical exams were conducted.

The public had access to some of the first two. And zero access to the latter two.

Either way, however, after a week in Indianapolis at the 2015 Combine we learned quite a bit about the Texans.

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  1. Ryan's Hope: There's no question the Texans want Ryan Mallett back in 2015. **A free agent this offseason after starting a pair of November contests for Houston, Mallett is a priority free agent signing for general manager Rick Smith and head coach Bill O'Brien in the next month or so.

During his Thursday press conference at Lucas Oil Stadium, Smith said "we're hopeful that we'll get him back". O'Brien referenced Mallett multiple times during his media meetup, and said the Texans would "like to have him back in Houston."

Mallett helped lead the Texans to a road victory over the Browns in Week 11, but struggled the next week at NRG Stadium in a loss to the Bengals. In the following days he was placed on injured reserve with a pectoral injury.

While his game experience is limited, as well as uneven, Smith and O'Brien were effusive in their praise for Mallett.

"He enjoys playing in our system," O'Brien said. "We enjoy coaching him. Unfortunately, he only played two games due to injury."

The head coach was also asked at the Combine about what postitions he'd like to see improved on the squad. He didn't hesitate to throw Mallett's name in the mix when answering the question.

"If you look at our offense, I think it's important for us to bolster the quarterback position," O'Brien said. "To me, one of the ways to do that is to try and get Ryan Mallett back here."

2. Clowney on comeback trail: Last year's first overall pick played in four regular season games

and underwent three different surgeries in 2014. But Jadeveon Clowney, by all accounts, is on track for a return to the gridiron in 2015.

"We feel good about his ability, his talent, we feel good about him as a person and we
feel good about where he is right now in his rehab process," O'Brien told the media.

Clowney's knee surgery for a microfracture injury will keep the outside linebacker off the field likely until September. But O'Brien and Smith remain optimistic about his return.

"Training camp, first game of the season is within the normal context of what the time element for what we would expect from his recovery, and he's doing well," Smith said. "The recovery process is an arduous process."

Clowney's attacked the rehab, according to Smith, in a "diligent" manner. He's going through the process in Houston.

3. Watt's a measuring stick:A pair of Defensive Player of the Year honors in three seasons have catapulted J.J. Watt into a new stratosphere: he's the "What NFL player do you model your game after?" guy.

Hundreds of players cycle through the media workroom during the week at the Combine. Without fail, each NFL hopeful is asked to compare himself to somebody in the League. For defensive linemen, Watt's name was tossed around liberally.

USC's Leonard Williams chose Watt because they both got moved around the defensive line during games.

Texas Longhorn Malcom Brown said Watt's a "beast" and "plays hard every play".

With four years in the NFL, Watt's now a player that others aspire to be like.

4. Texans to Draft a RB?: Arian Foster is one of the finest ball-carriers in the NFL. His backup Alfred Blue started three games as a rookie in 2014. But the Texans just might draft a running back for the second year in a row.

"When you look at our needs in the draft, I would say running back is a position that we could look at," O'Brien said on Thursday. "I'm not going to tell you exactly what type of running back we're looking for, but that's something that we could probably add to our team in some shape or form that would help our team if the right guy's out there."

Smith also added that the running back crop in 2015 is "a good group".

5. Blazing speed: In the last Mock Survey conducted by HoustonTexans.com, Michigan State

cornerback Trae Waynes was the most popular pick with mock drafters from around the web.

On Monday morning in Indianapolis, he sizzled in the 40-yard dash, finishing in just 4.32 seconds. Whether or not he's still on the board when the Texans are choosing at 16 will be a question, but he certainly helped himself out at Lucas Oil Stadium.

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