When a prospect visits the Texans, everyone in the building will have input on him.
General Manager Nick Caserio. Head Coach Lovie Smith. Assistant coaches. Scouts. Support staff. The people who pick him up from and drive him back to the airport.
Caserio met with the media Thursday at NRG Stadium for his annual pre-Draft press conference. He went into great deal about the importance of the pre-Draft prospect visits, which recently concluded.
Each NFL team is allowed to bring a total of 30 NFL Draft prospects into their facilities for a visit. These players are not all projected first-rounders. Some are late-round prospects. There's no physical workout that happens. Instead, it's a chance for the team to get more time with a player as opposed to the 15-minute formal interview at the Combine, or at the Pro Day workout at the prospect's college.
More medical evaluations might take place, and Caserio described some of the goals the Texans have when they host a prospect.
"When we bring the players in here for a visit, it's pretty comprehensive," Caserio said. "It's not just walk in, let's go have a steak and then come back and shake his hand and tell him, 'Hey, if you're there at No. 13, we're going to draft you.' We're not doing that."
Instead, Caserio and the Texans have the prospects travel all around the building.
"What we're going to do is, 'Okay, you're going to meet the position coach,'" Caserio said. "'You're going to meet the coordinator. Defense install, we're going to see if you can retain that information. We're going to talk to you about maybe an experience you had on your team or maybe an example of diversity,' and see if they can articulate some thoughts. What's their overall understanding, overall awareness, and say 'Alright, maybe there's some other things, maybe some risk factors,' that doesn't necessarily eliminate the player."
Meetings with strength and conditioning staff, the nutrition staff and others will follow. In some instances, those sessions can yield interesting information.
"When they go in to talk to Lovie, they're on their best behavior," Caserio said. "When they're not talking to Lovie and maybe they're somewhere else with a different staff member, they give off a different vibe or a different message. So, then you sort of corroborate the information like, 'Wait a minute, he was this way, but over here he said a different thing. Well, maybe there's a gap. We've got to try to fill that gap.' It's not like playing 'gotcha', but it's just trying to make sure we have enough checks and balances in place."
It's all, according to Caserio, a chance to get a complete look at who the prospect is as a player and a person, and how they'll fit in the framework of the team.
Caserio and the Texans have 11 picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, including two in the first round. The Draft begins Thursday night in Las Vegas, and the team will hold a free Draft Party for fans here in Houston at Miller Outdoor Theatre.
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