The Houston Texans concluded their three-day rookie minicamp at the Houston Methodist Training Center over the weekend. The roster consisted of nine 2022 NFL Draft picks, 12 college free agents and 10 tryout players. Here are four things we learned:
1. Minicamp is like back-to-school and final exams rolled into one
Head Coach Lovie Smith likes to think of rookie minicamp as more of a rookie "orientation" as players get acclimated to the facility, meetings and schedules but it's also a major cram session.
"Practice-wise, it's an orientation," Smith said. "We're teaching the guys our drills. The early part of practice out there today, we wanted to go through testing and get a baseline of where all of our incoming guys are. What we're trying to accomplish with our practices, with camp as a whole, I mean meetings. As I tell the guys, it's like finals week into two days. We're trying (to get) them to cram as much information as possible. Monday when they blend in with our veterans, they don't want to hear about them being rookies. We're not going to stop, go back."
2. Motown sets the mood
Smith started off practice the way he starts off most of his mornings, with some old-school Motown music.
"I wake up every day to music," Smith said. "I'm a music guy, to say the least. You can tell I'm probably a little bit more towards Motown than rap music, that's probably easy to see. But you kind of start practice off the same way just about everywhere I've been. Thursdays, "Keep on Pushing" by The Impressions. That lead singer, Curtis Mayfield, that's where we start things off."
Smith likes introducing younger players to music of the past and he promised he isn't getting rid of rap and R&B music.
"It was good," DB Jalen Pitre said. "Coach Smith switches it up and is very versatile. I love hearing different genres of music. It was some good taste on the playlist today."
3. Learning from Lovie
LB Christian Harris says he is excited to learn from Smith, who has a history of coaching linebackers who have had success in the NFL. In his 41 seasons of coaching experience, Smith has coached players to 53 Pro Bowls and 17 AP First-Team All-Pro selections.
"Just hearing about the history of the linebackers that have been in this similar defense and have had success like Derrick Brooks and Lavonte David," Harris said. "I mean those are two guys I've watched a little bit. I think in my spot and my role, whatever they want me to do, I feel like I can have a high success rate with that and be very successful, so I want to keep that going."
4. Metchie making progress
WR John Metchie III, a second-round draft pick (44th overall) out of Alabama, was at practice on Friday and is making progress in his recovery from last year's knee injury.
"He's not 100 percent yet, but in time he will be," Smith said. "I don't have that timetable set yet, but in the upcoming weeks we'll be able to tell that a little bit more. For us, he is going to play this year. It's all, as much as anything, about the mental preparation, them catching up, getting in the playbook."
5. Eight is great
Harris has enjoyed being reunited with his Alabama teammate Metchie. Both wore No. 8 in college. Now, they'll both have to wear a new number (No. 8 is taken by DB Terrence Brooks) though they both chose to keep an eight in the new jersey. Harris will wear No. 48 and Metchie is now No. 88 as the two begin the next chapter of their football careers.
"It's exciting," Harris said. "It's truly a blessing to be able to be here. We actually both wore number 8 in college. It's crazy to see it all play out but it's definitely a blessing."
The Texans resume their offseason program on Monday with OTAs (organized team activities) beginning on May 23. Mandatory veteran minicamp will be held June 14 through June 16 at the Houston Methodist Training Center.
Check out some photos from the first day of Houston Texans Rookie Minicamp.