They may have left the college ranks, but draft-eligible players are still being evaluated on their ability to do their homework. Following Pro Days and interviews, Rick Smith and Bill O'Brien will be looking to see how these young players take direction and learn everything thrown at them.
"A lot of these guys, you're allowed a certain number of visits to Houston, so we'll bring them to Houston. What we do and I think it's pretty interesting," O'Brien said. "Rick (Smith) is good about this, he'll tell the
kid, 'Hey look, we want you to improve maybe in the meeting room deal between now and when you get to Houston. Let's see if you can improve on knowing what cover-two is or what this package is.' See if the kid kind of takes it to heart and studies it."
Teams had their first chance to meet and interview players at the NFL Combine. A smaller group of players had a second meeting if they worked out during a Pro Day. Visiting coaches and general managers will often sit down and use every opportunity to learn more about how players would fit in their organization.
"Watching Pro Days, I like to, if I can and I know Rick likes to do the same, try to work these guys out on their own a little bit, if you can," O'Brien said. "If you can, try to get them on your own and do some drills that are similar to what they'd have to do in Houston. For a 3-4 outside backer who was defensive end in college, can he drop into coverage? Can he play form a stand-up technique? Can he take a reach block on from the nine-technique? Some things that you might not see in the Pro Day. That's kind of how we do it."