As a whole, this year's 2016 Texans draft class is fast, versatile.
As individuals, the players that make up the six draft selections also have some corresponding similarities:
1. They played in the Senior Bowl.
Five of the six players drafted participated in this year's Reese's Senior Bowl: wide receiver Braxton Miller, center Nick Martin, safety K.J. Dillon, and running back Tyler Ervin were on the North team. Nose tackle D.J. Reader was the lone Texan on the South team. The only one who didn't participate was first-round wide receiver Will Fuller, who entered the draft after his junior year and wasn't eligible.
In fact, Houston was one of three teams that drafted a league-high five Senior Bowl players. Baltimore and Cleveland were the other two to select five players from the North and South rosters. The Senior Bowl can be full of talent for NFL teams to see first-hand, how players practice, compete, and take instruction from NFL coaches.
"It is very valuable," Rick Smith said. "You get to see them up against the top-level competition. Obviously, when you're talking about programs like Notre Dame, Ohio State, these guys have played big-time football so you typically have seen them evaluated against good competition but it's always good in that environment because the stakes have risen a little bit at that point and so to see them compete that way and to see how they measure up to those other players, it's valuable."
2. They were named team captains.
Four of the six players drafted were captains on their teams: Martin, Miller, Ervin, Reader. Men who demonstrated leadership and have shown themselves to be good teammates are top candidates. How can leadership and locker room attitude be assessed? O'Brien wants to speak to college coaches beforehand to see exactly what kind of player he's getting, before he gets him.
"When we were talking about Will (Fuller) and obviously Nick (Martin) also and I'll say this about Braxton, their head coaches speak very highly of them. I don't know if you guys just saw Urban (Meyer) on TV talking about Braxton, I mean these guys that we've brought in here, I think Rick just said it correctly, these guys are really good teammates, they have leadership skills, they care about winning, they love to compete, they love football, all three of these guys. That's the core values of football players that we look for and that was big."
3. They battled adversity...and won.
It may sound cliché, but life is full of lemons. Everyone deals with hardship and adversity. It's how a young player overcomes it that shows maturity and growth.
Reader dealt with the loss of his father. Dillon is type-one diabetic. Miller made the decision to switch from quarterback to receiver when he lost strength in his throwing arm after shoulder surgery.
"Every one of these guys have faced adversity at some point in time during their college career whether it was brought on by themselves or something that happened with their family, whatever it might be, an illness, and I think all these guys have that trait of being able to overcome that adversity and be better for it," O'Brien said. "They've all matured and I think they're all excited about being here."
|1||21||Will Fuller||WR||Notre Dame|
|2||50||Nick Martin||C||Notre Dame|
|3||85||Braxton Miller||WR||Ohio State|
|4||119||Tyler Ervin||RB||San Jose St.|
|5||159||K.J. Dillon||S||West Virginia|
Check out photos of the Texans' setup at Draft Town in Chicago.