Speed is important.
Head coaches and general managers often say "We have to get faster" when a draft is approaching.
But speed has a few dimensions.
"There's two different speeds that we look at," general manager Rick Smith said on Friday. "We try to estimate how fast a guy plays. Then we want to know how fast he can run a 40. Just straight out, how much speed does he have? But there are guys who run 4.48 who play at 4.48 that guys that run 4.3 that they don't play that fast. It's a part of it, but it's not the only thing."
At the Combine, at college pro days, and often at individual workouts, prospects will run the 40-yard dash for teams.
"The 40-yard dash is an important element to some of the ancillary things that we use to evaluate these players," Smith said. "The most important thing is play speed though. Because there are guys who can run a 40-yard dash, and who train for the combine and do all those techniques and all those things that these speed coaches and places are teaching these guys to do, so they can run a fast 40 but they don't play that fast."
As wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins said last week, speed is important, but it's not the most important factor for a pass catcher. A wide receiver has to make the catch, any way possible.
"Where I'm from we say, 'a guy a dog or he not a dog.' Some people don't know what that means, but it's basically, 'he going to go and get it or he not.' It's a little saying in South Carolina."
The NFL Draft starts Thursday night, and the Texans have the 22nd overall pick.