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Houston Texans

Kubiak and Smith wrap draft

After a relatively quiet Saturday, the Texans dove head first into the NFL Draft Sunday by selecting five players. Texans general manager Rick Smith and head coach Gary Kubiak wrapped up the pair's first draft together Sunday afternoon and were pleased with their draft class.

"It's been a busy day and it's been a productive day," Smith said Sunday. "We're excited. We had a good two days."

Sunday started the way many thought Saturday would start for the Texans, with a trade down. Houston swapped picks in the fourth round with the New Orleans Saints and added a fifth round selection in the process.

After moving from 107th overall to 123rd, the Texans selected cornerback Fred Bennett of South Carolina.

Bennett will look to be the latest solid defensive back to be plucked from South Carolina following Houston's own Dunta Robinson and Sheldon Brown in recent years.

In 48 games for the Gamecocks, Bennett started 33 contests (30 at strong-side, three at weak-side cornerback) and finished his South Carolina career with nine interceptions.

"We started the day by adding a corner in Fred Bennett who we feel good about," Smith said. "He's a six-foot guy who can run a sub 4.4 (40-yard dash). In this league and our division, you need to have big corners who can run downfield.

"We've had some success with corners from South Carolina already so we feel good about him."

In the fifth round, Houston added more depth to its secondary by selecting former Stanford safety Brandon Harrison with the 144th overall selection. Harrison was a two-year starter for the Cardinal and lettered three times.

{QUOTE} He played in 33 of 34 possible contests his final three seasons. During 2006, Harrison split his time at cornerback and safety displaying range and playmaking abilities that any team can use in their secondary, including the Texans.

"The one thing that intrigued me about him is that he played some cornerback last season," Kubiak said. "He's very versatile, played a little bit of everywhere, a very smart player and you can't have too many guys like that because those sorts of guys are asked to do a lot of things.

"Versatility is the key with him, I think."

With the pick acquired from the Saints, Houston added some help to the offensive line by selecting offensive tackle Brandon Frye out of Virginia Tech with the 163rd overall selection in the fifth round.

Frye started 11 games at left tackle for the Hokies in 2006 and has displayed some unique athleticism, being clocked in the sub-5.0 range in the 40-yard dash.

"I think athletically, you could have matched (Frye) up with any tackle in this draft," Kubiak said. "It's a matter of repetitions so hopefully this kid's career is going to take off when he gets those repetitions and that's fixin' to happen."

In the sixth round, the Texans chose a player for the interior of their offensive line by selecting former Longhorn Kasey Studdard.

Studdard, a team captain in 2006, started 38 consecutive games for Texas and received All Big 12 honors his senior year. When he arrives in Houston in a few weeks, he'll have at least one familiar face to talk to.

"I've known him since he was a baby," Kubiak said. "Of course I played with his dad and I know his family very well.

"What we're getting with Kasey is a player with a tremendous passion to play the game. He's won numerous awards (at Texas) and they all pertain to playing the game hard and that's the type of people we want to surround ourselves with here. I think he's going to have an excellent career."

The Texans finished their 2007 draft class by selecting linebacker Zach Diles from Kansas State. Diles racked up 92 tackles for K-State in 2006 to go along with 3.5 sacks.

Texans coaches and scouts got a first-hand look at Diles when Kansas State was in Houston in December for the Texas Bowl and they liked how Diles handled himself.

"I had a chance to watch a few of those practices and watch the kids handles themselves at that time and this kid was extremely impressive," Kubiak said.

The Texans continue to work the phones as Smith said Sunday that Houston will look to add eight to 10 rookie free agents in the coming days.

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