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Five takeaways from GM Nick Caserio at the NFL Combine

Exciting time for the team. Exciting time for the organization. Exciting time for the city. Just try to keep building on some good days here and keep stacking a few things together. GM Nick Caserio

Houston Texans General Manager Nick Caserio met with national and local media at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis on Tuesday. Afterwards, he also held an informal Q&A session with members of the local media. Here are five things we learned from Caserio at the Combine.

1. Working with DeMeco Ryans
DeMeco Ryans is finishing up his first month on the job and will make his Combine debut as a head coach on Wednesday. Both he and Caserio have been able to iron out important business from filling out the coaching staff to gearing up for the NFL Combine and free agency.

"He's very open-minded," Caserio said. "We've had a lot of open communication. There's been a lot of dialogue. We actually met as a staff yesterday offensively and defensively and went through their evaluation. We gave them some free agents to look at. We wanted to hear the staff's thoughts, DeMeco has his thoughts, I have my thoughts and we're really going to try and blend everything together here as we're going through. He's been great. Everything I heard or knew about him beforehand has come to fruition."

While Ryans and Caserio are in Indianapolis, the rest of the coaching staff will remain in Houston to get up to speed on the team and work on scheme.

2. QB draft chatter
The Texans currently own the No. 2 and the 12 overall picks in this year's draft and many are speculating if a quarterback will be drafted with one of those two selections. With Davis Mills currently the only QB on the roster heading into 2023, Caserio made it clear the Texans would be adding a QB (perhaps two) through whatever means necessary.

"I would say it's probably going to be a combination of the Draft to free agency," Caserio said. "It could be two, however it goes."

3. Trading up to No. 1?
If quarterback is the top priority, the Texans could select one at No. 2. But, what if another team leapfrogged the Texans to trade with Chicago and snag a QB at No. 1? Caserio isn't concerning himself with that right now.

"You're cognizant of that, but ultimately you have to be prepared to pick wherever you're going to pick," Caserio said. "Then, be prepared to pick whatever player."

4. Free agency
The Texans currently have $37.1 million in cap space heading into free agency, quite a turnaround from the past two seasons since Caserio was hired. However, more cap space doesn't necessarily mean a shopping spree in free agency, according to Caserio.

"Our philosophy hasn't changed," Caserio said. "We're trying to add good players however we do it. There's a cost associated with every player. This is the time to evaluate the market and see where players fit. You all have followed the league for long enough. How many times a year or two after free agency, there's the greatest free agent signing ever and then in a year they're cutting the player? I don't think we want to be in that situation because it's not a good use of resources and capital. We try to make good decisions, trying to add really good players to our team that can help us. We're not going to change that in terms of what our philosophy is."

5. Player interviews at the Combine
Teams previously could interview 60 prospects at the NFL Combine, but now are limited to just 45 players. With just 15-20 minutes allotted to each, Caserio says the Combine interviews are really just a starting point in getting to know players.

"We try to focus on the underclassmen just because we haven't had any interaction with them," Caserio said. "So it's really the first opportunity for us to sit and have a conversation with other players. A lot of the senior and other players, we've had an opportunity at East, West, Senior Bowl or wherever it is. The underclassmen, it's the first opportunity to actually sit with them."

The 2023 NFL Combine runs from Feb. 27 through March 6 at Lucas Oil Stadium.

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