Two days, seven rounds and seven players later, head coach Gary Kubiak and general manager Rick Smith felt very good about their 2008 draft. Kubiak and Smith talked about how they met the Texans' needs and improved the athleticism on the team.
General manager Rick Smith
(on the Texans draft picks) "Well first of all, on Wednesday when we got together I told all of you that I was expecting that I would feel real good at this time today. And that's held true. I'm extremely excited about the draft class that we have been able to put together. The only thing you are able to control in this process is your preparation. It had felt like we had had a really outstanding draft preparation process, and I think it worked out for us. The last couple of days, we felt good about the acquisitions that we have made. We feel like we have added some positions of need. We feel like we have added a couple of players who can make plays. I'm just excited about the whole class and excited about the way the whole thing kind of feel into place. Specifically, when you talk about the class, we talk about (T) Duane (Brown) and in the third round we get a corner (Antwaun Molden) who is a six-foot, 200-pound guy who could run a 4.4, vertical jump over 40 inches and is just an extremely athletic kid. He can do all the things we ask our corners to do."
"With the extra pick that we acquired after moving back in the first round yesterday, to get a guy like (RB) Steve (Slaton), this guy can make plays with the ball in his hands. That's an element that we didn't have at the running back position, the speed element and the versatility. So we really feel good about him. In the fourth round, a kid out of Virginia Tech, (LB) (Xavier) Adibi, he is an athletic, fluid athlete with long leverage and good speed. We talked about it the other day, that one of the things we wanted to do was increase the athleticism at the linebacker position. We really feel like he is an excellent athlete for the position.'
"With the big kid from Texas (DT Frank Okam), another dimension that we didn't have on our football team. When you talk about what (RB) Steve (Slaton) brings to the running back position, you add an element to our team. Frank Okam adds this element to our team we didn't have as a big massive man with quickness in his body and a very intelligent kid. A lot of these guys that we have added, as you start to get to know them, you're going to find out that they are very intelligent young men and all good character kids. In the sixth round, a very good football player, (S Dominique) Barber out of Minnesota. Played in the Big Ten Conference. I have an affinity for the Big Ten Conference and the football that we play up there. This kid has good bloodlines and is a competitive kid. We talk about him being a box safety because he doesn't have the exceptional speed, but he's got good speed and can run and can cover and he's an aggressive tackler. Anytime you can add a good football player, as we look for value in that part of the draft, certainly we feel like we added some value there. Finally, with the quarterback (QB Alex Brink), not a lot of talk about this kid because he is up in the Pacific Northwest but we really like what we see out of him. We think that he has the chance to develop into a quality NFL quarterback.
"I was hoping to feel this way as we were leading up to this weekend and certainly feeling really, really good about this class. I am excited about handing the baton back over to him (head coach Gary Kubiak). In the offseason, we worked hard with the draft preparation and now we get to put them all out there on the grass here in a couple weeks in mini camp and let these guys get back to work. I feel good about it. I feel good about our football team. I think we have made some strides and some progress and I am ready to watch those guys go to work."
(on feeling fortunate to fill so many needs) "I do because in the offseason, we talked about what we needed, as we looked at our football team in January and areas we felt like we needed to address. We feel like in free agency, in the draft we addressed many of them and we continue to build depth and add playmakers to the team."
Head coach Gary Kubiak
(on where RB Steve Slaton is going to fit in) "We see him as kind of a change-up kind of guy. He's got home run ability as far as his speed. He makes a lot of big plays. There's a place in the National Football League right now for what people describe as third-down backs, guys that can catch the ball out of the backfield do those types of things. So, he's got that dimension. He's a very smart young man. This kid had 1,700 yards two years ago, playing very good football. We know he's a great kid and we know he'll catch up with us real fast as far as what we do. We just think he gives us a little bit of a speed element that we may have been missing."
(on the trade and getting the extra selections) "I think when you look at the two kids we were able to get with those two picks, it certainly solidifies our draft. As a young football team, as I talked about yesterday, anytime you can do that, especially when we are trying to build this team through the draft and get these young quality football players in here, with the two kids we were able to add, we feel extremely fortunate about that."
(on the character of the guys that were drafted) "I think this thing all started with me and Rick (Smith) and going back to these younger players that we have. You start to think of (LB) DeMeco (Ryans) and (DE) Mario (Williams) and these kids, (TE) Owen Daniels, not only the type of players they've been since they have been here but the type of character they have. When we looked at these guys and evaluated them, we take a lot of stock in how this kid is going to fit in our team. It's like the (T Duane) Brown kid; we have a couple of guys on our team that we talked to that know him very well. No doubt, he is going to fit in extremely well with our football team. Going and getting (C) Chris Myers for a sixth-round pick, who is fixing to line up with one of his best buddies in (T) Eric Winston. I think that's important. These guys have to want to play good. They all have the same thing at stake, and when they are close it gives you a good chance to be even better."
(on DT Frank Okam) "When you look for things that give guys chances to maybe become better, you look at athleticism, you look at slots, you look at character, what the guy is made up of and then we brought him in on a visit. We talked to him about some of the things that maybe some other folks didn't see in him. We certainly feel like he has the makeup to be an excellent football player. He is a big man with a great quickness and the long leverage and good speed. He will be hard to push around. He is a very intelligent young man. I think he took the LSAT for law school. This kid has the makeup to be a good football player, and we think he will. With (defensive line coach) Jethro (Franklin) and (senior defensive assistant) Frank (Bush) working with him and getting after him pretty good, I think he has the makeup for football and he is committed to being as good as he can be and I am excited to watch him."
(on why he wanted a quarterback with the seventh round draft pick) "Well, I'll tell you what kind of happened. Quarterback in the draft, you're either going to go very, very high and go get the so-called guy you have earmarked. After that what you're looking for is guys that you think down the road that may have the opportunity to develop into a solid NFL quarterback. Rick (Smith) and I had this conversation the other day, if we're so fortunate to move back and we do pick up a couple extra picks, if this young man sticks around until late in that draft, well, this would be a great opportunity and a great try. This guy played in a great conference. He played in the Pac-10. This guy knows what it is to be chased by very good people. He'll get rid of the ball. So all that stuff, he's way ahead in that standpoint. He's very, very smart. I'd like to try, and he's a great young man and I'm looking forward to working with him."
(on what he's most excited about in terms of getting the baton back from Smith) "It's funny, because the NFL has got its stages. Rick's been busting his tail with this draft and that's what we've been doing for the last six or seven weeks every day. Now we walk out of here today and come in tomorrow morning and start setting our depth charts and then worry about which guys we are going to go into camp with and we are going to set our rosters. I'll start getting out on the football field and putting it all together. The key thing now is to take these kids and get them involved with our guys and get better as a football team. That's what we've got to do. So we are staring at about a month and a half of strictly football, and then give them a little break in the summer and go back at it."
(on what struck him the most about this draft class) "The greatest thing is that we not only were able to get a player that we desperately needed to move forward, I think is a very good key as a part of this organization with (T) Duane (Brown) and the future of this organization. Rick (Smith) was not only able to do that, but also add to the football team with picks. That's what we had to do. We had to continue to add depth to our football team to continue to get more competitive on the practice field. When we are competitive on the practice field, our team can't help but get better. There are a lot of guys that are going to try hard to make this football team this year, and when things go that way you are making progress."
(on addressing the defensive end position) "We are going to put these guys out here in a couple of weeks in training camp. One of the things we talked about last year and haven't talked about as much this year is that you just can't do it all in one offseason. We certainly had some areas that we thought we wanted to address, but that particular area we weren't able to get. We are going to continue to look at that and we are going to coach these guys that we have right now and see what we have when come out of mini-camp."
(on selecting undrafted free agents) "Once that seventh round ends, we will be able to contact free agents. What I have to do is get back downstairs and get with all of our scouts and coaches and create a priority list to look at the roster and talk about us getting back together tomorrow. We really have to do a little bit of that tonight and look at the depth chart to see where we are a little light."