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Houston Texans

Kubiak, Smith wrap up draft


After the Texans drafted Arizona State safety Troy Nolan to put the finishing touches on their 2009 draft class, Texans general manager Rick Smith and head coach Gary Kubiak addressed the media to wrap up an eventful weekend.

General manager Rick Smith
(opening statement) "We just wrapped up what we consider to be a couple of productive days. We're very pleased with the additions to our football team. We have added some very good football players and good men that are going to fit into our locker room, which is something that we always talk about and think about. These guys are going to add toughness (and) athleticism to our team both offensively and defensively. We followed up yesterday with some solid picks today. We're excited about this class. Obviously, we have to wait until they get here, until they assimilate, until they get out onto the field and start to produce in the fall for subsequent years. What we have today, we feel good about – their ability to fit in our team need-wise, position-wise, ability-wise. We're excited. We feel like we got some quality and quality athletes in this draft."

Head coach Gary Kubiak
(opening statement) "Yes, I agree. We're just very fortunate on this second day to add some depth to our football team. They're some guys that, once again, we think have a chance to be impact players for our team very quickly. All fine young men. So, we're looking forward to getting them in here and getting going on May 18."

General manager Rick Smith
(on if they considered drafting a running back) "Yes, we did. Another thing that we said is that we're going to let the process run itself. If there are players that are available when we have opportunities to select, we're going to take them. That opportunity at that position never really materialized for us today, and we didn't (draft a running back). Another thing I've said a lot is that there is a number of ways to add players to our team, and certainly free agency and the draft are the two major ways to do that. We had hoped that we could have gotten a back out of the draft this weekend. But I also said the other day that we didn't really feel like we had to come out of this draft with anything, because I think there are other ways that we can solve that issue. We just felt like where we picked today, when we had those opportunities, we had good players at other positions that were a better value and those are the guys that we took."

(on drafting TE James Casey for his athleticism) "Yes, that's exactly right. We had this guy rated a heck of a lot higher on our board. The conversation then turns to, 'We have the opportunity to get an outstanding football player.' Do you continue to address your needs or do you stop and say, 'Hey, this guy has way too much value to pass up on'? His story, what he's made of and what he's about, the success that he's had as a man and as a football player, and his versatility – there's just so many things about him that we really like. I'll let Gary talk about that. We just felt like we could add so much to our football team, and that's why we decided to make the pick."

{QUOTE}Head coach Gary Kubiak
(on fifth-round selection TE James Casey) "He's just very versatile. We know he can play tight end. Obviously, that's where everybody in this league was taking a look at him, and we're no different. I also think he can play some fullback for us. He can go outside – he caught 111 balls last year, if I'm correct. And I know he's a very smart young man, so there won't be any load that we can give him mentally that he can't handle. So we're just very pleased, surprised that he was there. It makes us more athletic as a football team, and he gives you a lot of options. When you have tight ends on your team that can play special teams, he gives you a lot of options on gamedays. We're just very pleased to get this. You guys all know what type of a young man he is."

(on shoring up depth on defense) "It was very important. We were looking specifically, from a defensive backs standpoint in this draft, for somebody who we felt like could play the nickel position and that became a big factor for us as we went and got (CB) Glover Quin. Then, later in the draft, we were able to pick up (CB) Brice McCain. A lot of people were looking at the other cornerback from Utah. Throughout the draft, as we watched him, we noticed this young man on the other side and the type of football player that he was. To come out of it with two, you never have enough corners in this league. To come out of the draft with two guys who look like they also have some flexibility makes it even better."

Head coach Gary Kubiak
(on if this draft has helped removed the expansion team label) "Well, I hope we've been removing that. But we can keep getting better on defense. We can get more athletic, tougher on that side of the ball, more physical on that side of the ball. Then, obviously, that is what we try to do with the draft, looking for impact players. We had two of them here today in (LB) Brian (Cushing) and (DE Connor) Barwin, two guys we think can make big-time impacts very quickly. Our guys out there are looking for some help, some guys to make them better. That's what we're trying to do right here. You never know what's going to happen, but we're going to put these guys to work real fast and our track record proves we're going to play these guys very quickly and these guys won't be any different. We expect them to contribute."

(on if CB Glover Quin will move to free safety from corner) "No, we plan on playing him outside. We like the fact that he can go in and play the nickel position, so I think that is where he's going to go from the start."

General manager Rick Smith(on whether or not they were trying to improve special teams) "I think that the more you can improve athleticism overall with team speed, by nature, by definition, you improve your special teams. I think that is a byproduct of better position players. The more depth you have on your football team, I think, that just improves your special teams units. So, that's what we try to do, and that's just a byproduct of continuing to try and add more athleticism and speed to our football team."

Head coach Gary Kubiak
(on if TE James Casey is a candidate to long snap) "He's definitely a candidate. Yeah, he struggled in Indy (at the NFL Scouting Combine). Some guys came up to him and gave him some pointers and tips on how he can get a little better. Within the two-week period from Indianapolis to when we had him here in the (Methodist Training Center) Bubble, he improved dramatically. And we've got one of the best all-time snappers in the business in our building right now, so we'll put (assistant coach) Bruce (Matthews) to work with him and see if we can get him to take another step."

General manager Rick Smith(on if they accomplished their defensive needs and they would rate their draft) "I don't know what we would rate it. I think we're pleased with the process. I'm very pleased with the way our guys worked. I thought we came together as a group, and I mentioned the other day that I thought our scouts did an outstanding job and I thought as the coaches came into the process that they jumped in and I think it just worked. I feel very good about our picks. I think we have solid picks. I think we've addressed some needs, and so from that standpoint, I think we all are fairly happy with what transpired over the last couple of days. From the standpoint of the defense, I think our job is to continue to improve this team, and this is a big opportunity. The draft is a big chance for us to add value to our football team and that's what we tried to do this weekend, and I think we at least accomplished that so far. We'll see what happens."

Head coach Gary Kubiak
"I agree with Rick. What we set out to do on both sides of the ball, we got those things accomplished as far as where we were looking for the impact-type players. One of the things that I'm very pleased with is all these kids that we're looking at here… a lot of good careers. Not a lot of one year-type players. There are guys in here that have had good college careers, very productive careers, and those guys have been the guys that have really panned out for us and played extremely well. So we're expecting this group to come in and lend a hand just the same."

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