Nick Scurfield (2:32:05PM): Thanks to everyone who's already sent in questions. Looking forward to a great chat and a great 2010 draft. Before I get started, I'd just like to send a reminder to everyone to check out our 2010 Path to the Draft page presented by FOX Sports Houston for all of our draft coverage this weekend. I'll be blogging live throughout the draft from Reliant Stadium, and we'll be streaming live press conferences after each pick.
For those in Houston, the Texans' draft party begins tonight at 6 p.m. Parking and admission are free.
Now, let's get to the chat.
Nick Scurfield (2:36:00PM): Sorry about the delay. Just ran into Texans director of college scouting Dale Strahm at my desk and had to chat for a minute. He's really excited about the draft tonight- he and the rest of the team's scouts have been prepping for this day for close to a full year. I promise, no more delays. On with the chat...
Dan Sukala - Spring, TX, US: Would the Texans take T. Mays from USC if he is there? I have not heard much about him since the combine. Is his stock falling?
Nick Scurfield (2:38:10PM): It's funny, if Mays had come out last year, a lot of people were thinking he wouldn't even be available for the Texans at the 15th pick in the first round. But after going back to USC, he's now being projected in most mock drafts to go late in the first round, and perhaps in the second. Some people think Mays might project better as a strong safety, and the Texans already have Bernard Pollard at that spot, so we'll see.
Tim Barnhill - baytown, TX, US: who do you think the texans will take with the 20th pick? why? and how much of a impact will he have his rookie year?
Nick Scurfield (2:41:45PM): Tim- this will be my third draft to cover since I've been with the team, and it's the most excited I've ever been because it's so hard to predict the pick when the Texans are all the way down at No. 20. There are always players that people think will go early who fall, and there's almost always a surprise early pick or two. Most analysts think the Texans are going RB or CB in the first. But Rick Smith said on Tuesday that the Texans expect their first-round pick to be a starter and impact player, so whoever they take should have a big role right away.
Ryan - Spring, TX, US: If you had to pick between Ryan Matthews or Earl Thomas in the 2010 NFL Draft. Which one would you pick Mr. Scurfiled?
Nick Scurfield (2:15:15PM): I actually had an e-mail exchange with Paul Kuhrasky of the ESPN.com AFC South blog on this very question the other day. Paul was making the Texans' pick for the final HT.com mock draft, and he took Mathews although he said he thinks that the Texans should take Thomas over Mathews if Thomas is available. Thing is, most people don't think Thomas will last that long, including Kuharsky - and including me.
EmJay Sena - San Jose, CA, US: The Texans need to walk away from this draft with both secondary and running-back help; everyone knows this. Personally, I think that Toby Gerhart would be the perfect fit for us in the second round at #51 overall. Is this a possibility, and have the Texans paid specific attention to him?
Nick Scurfield (2:51:43PM): The Texans have been paying close attention to hundreds of players, but they don't talk about specific guys before the draft. Since the Texans are expected to take an RB early - even though Rick Smith and Kubiak have never taken one before the 3rd round in Houston - you'd have to think Gerhart is a guy who could be possible if the Texans don't go with an RB in the first round. Great production at the college level and ran faster than a lot of people expected at the combine.
Jessie - The Woodlands, TX, US: What do you think we'll be focusing on this draft? It seems like we really need to bolster the secondary this year with an intimidating presence such as an Earl Thomas, Joe Haden, or Kareem Jackson type. Yet from what I've seen we're projected to draft Kyle Wilson who in my opinion isn't quite the impact player we need coming from the WAC. At Boise St. a case could be made that he never faced an offensive powerhouse so how can we know that we'd be getting a real player and not just a medium sized fish from a really small pond?
Nick Scurfield (2:55:45PM): Well, Boise State did play against teams like TCU and Oregon, not exactly doormat programs. Rick Smith said in his Tuesday presser that the Texans aren't necessarily looking for a certain type of physical CB to replace Dunta Robinson. They want physical players like they added last year with Cushing, Pollard, etc., but they also want to add playmakers - guys who can make plays with the ball in their hands on offense, and guys who can get turnovers on defense.
Joseph - Cypress, TX, US: Dear Nick, It must be a pretty sweet gig to follow the Texans' every move. How did you get the job? Have you always been a big NFL fan?
Nick Scurfield (2:57:50PM): Yes, I'm a lucky guy. I worked in the football offices at USC while I was a student there and got an internship with the Texans out of college, and it went from there. Always loved the NFL and loved writing, so I'm very grateful to have the opportunity. Thanks for asking.
Dwayne Fletcher - Tyler, TX, US: Do you think the Texans will draft a back-up Quarterback to Matt Schaub
Nick Scurfield (1:58:14PM): They have Dan Orlovsky as his backup. He's young and has a lot of the same physical attributes as Schaub, and he was a priority free agent signing last year, and they signed John David Booty in January. But they did draft Alex Brink in the seventh round in 2008 as a developmental guy, so it wouldn't be a complete shock to see something like that happen again if the right player was there late.
Will - Durham, NC, US: Nick, If you had to put a percentage on the odds of the Texans trading off their #20 pick tonight, what would you put that at. Also, if they would trade, would they trade up or down?
Nick Scurfield (1:59:13PM): I'll refrain from putting a percentage on it, but there's definitely a chance it happens. Rick Smith said on Tuesday that he's always open to that possibility and has been working the phones around the league to gauge interest depending on how the draft unfolds. But this is a deep draft, and the Texans are confident they'll get a good player if they stay at 20. I'd guess a trade down would be more likely than a trade up, judging by the Texans' recent history and the success that they've had with late-round picks, which they could acquire more of by moving down.
Terri - Dickinson, TX, US: Hey Nick, I'm pretty excited about the draft party tonight, who can we expect to be there?
Nick Scurfield (2:08:21PM): It should be a great time. I haven't seen a confirmed list of players yet, but there will definitely be Texans players there signing autographs for fans, and I know that Eric Winston and ND Kalu will be on-site doing the SportsRadio 610 broadcast with Marc Vandermeer. Texans Ambassadors including Giff Nielsen and JJ Moses will be there, too.
Joseph - Cypress, TX, US: Dear Nick, NFL.com has a great article posted which ranks the greatest undrafted NFL players of all time (link below). With names like Kurt Warner, Adam Vinatieri, & Jeff Saturday, this article really got me thinking about how so many "great players/Hall of Famers" were either undrafted or drafted in later rounds. What are some things that the Texans can do to help them find some hidden gems that other teams may pass up? http://www.nfl.com/draft/story?id=09000d5d816fb4f0&template=with-video-with-comments&confirm=true
Nick Scurfield (2:08:40PM): Rick Smith had an interesting comment about this the other day, saying that they hope to find starters in Rounds 1-3, and then later in the draft, they tend to look for some kind of physical attribute or athletic trait that might allow one of those players to develop into a starting-caliber player. They've done that with guys like Glover Quin (4th), Zac Diles (7th) and David Anderson (7th) in recent years
Steve - Pearland, TX, US: Do you think there's any chance that Joe Haden is going to fall to #20? I know he seems to be plummeting on a lot of boards. Would the Texans try to move up and snag him if he's available within 2-3 picks of #20?
Nick Scurfield (1:15:33PM): Two months ago, I would've said no way, but his stock has been in flux since he ran the 40 at the combine. I actually did see a couple of mock drafts this week that had him sliding to the 20th pick, but I'd be a little surprised if he's there. I think the Texans are more likely to trade back than trade up in Round 1, but you never know what might happen.
Matthew Morales - Houston, TX, US: Do you think there is any chance of us getting the best RB(Lagarrette Blount) in the draft ?
Nick Scurfield (2:11:21PM): He's an interesting prospect- loads of talent, but also off-field concerns stemming from that incident after the Boise State game. Character is always important to the Texans, so I'm not sure if that'd be the likeliest of picks. But if they like him, what they do will probably be dictated by whether or not they take an RB early.
Dwayne Fletcher - Tyler, TX, US: What are the Texans'most needed positions to draft for?
Nick Scurfield (1:19:32PM): Bob McNair said RB, interior OL, interior DL, CB and S were areas the team could improve in during a press conference in February. Since then, the Texans signed Wade Smith to compete for a starting spot at guard and center..
Joseph - Cypress, TX, US: Dear Nick, I think it is great that the Texans will have so many primetime games in the second half of the 2010 season. Especially since, historically, this is when they are at their best. However, I notice that the Texans will only have 4 days between facing the Titans on Nov. 28th and then playing the Eagles on Dec. 2nd. How will the Texans be ready to face the Eagles, in Philly, after having just faced our #1 rival at home?
Nick Scurfield (2:11:46PM): Kubiak mentioned that might be a challenge, but they've had a Thursday game before (2007). The good thing is they've got an 11-day break after that game before the MNF game against the Ravens. And the bye week is before the other primetime game, the MNF game at Indy.
Donny - Spring, TX, US: Do you think a saftey or corner is more important with first pick....don't you think rb can wait till round 2?
Nick Scurfield (1:23:59PM): That's been Smith and Kubiak's philosophy in the past- even when they were in Denver, the earliest the Broncos ever drafted a RB was in the 2nd round (Clinton Portis). They've had a lot of success with plugging late-round guys into their scheme. Kubiak is determined to improve the team's 30th ranked running game, there are big question marks on the roster at RB and zone blocking guru Alex Gibbs is now in Seattle... so that's why some people think their mindset of drafting a running back might change this year.
Matthew - Houston, TX, US: Is it possible for the shanahans to trade us picks? somehow? how do you see it playing out? do you think we will trade up or down at all?
Nick Scurfield (1:26:54PM): I don't see the Texans moving all the way up to No. 4 unless the Shanahans want to give Kubiak a serious discount. After that, the Redskins don't have a pick until the 4th round, and I think they only have 4 picks overall.
James - katy, TX, US: I saw that McClain has said Clausen may fall out of the first round. How is that possible for such a great player from the best program in the Country (Notre Dame)? He is a pro-style QB and many say the most NFL ready.
Nick Scurfield (1:29:26PM): I take it you're a Notre Dame fan? Haha. Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News, one of the best in the business, has Clausen falling all the way down to No. 30 in his final mock today. Clausen has 3 years of experience in a pro-style offense and has had elite QB coaching since he was in elementary school, so he might be a nice value that late in the first.
Eli - BRYAN, TX, US: Are the Texans players just as excited and ready to whoop the snot out of the Cowboys during the regular season as I am. All my friends are Cowboy fans and i need something to keep over there heads for the next 4 years!!!
Nick Scurfield (2:12:13PM): Can't wait to see the atmosphere at Reliant Stadium during that game. What's interesting is that the Texans also play the Cowboys at Reliant a month before that game, in the third week of the preseason. If things turn out well for the home team, that's a whole lot of bragging rights for you
Ali Nazim - Houston, TX, US: Are the Texans doing anything to get a experienced Running Back? I think with the tough schedule ahead they will be needing that towards the offensive Arsenal.
Nick Scurfield (1:32:54PM): Most of the top veteran backs have already signed elsewhere, and the Texans prefer to sign up-and-coming players in free agency. The Texans like the potential they have in Slaton, Foster and the rest of their backs, but a young and hungry guy could be just what they need to round out the offense.
Nick Scurfield (1:34:24PM): I'll be here 'til about 1:45 since we had some techinical difficulties slowing down the chat earlier. Thanks for all the questions; keep sending 'em in...
Andrew - Magnolia, TX, US: Is there any prospect that was projected going high in the draft that may fall down to the Texans at #20?
Nick Scurfield (1:36:12PM): Joe Haden and C.J. Spiller are two who I've seen falling to the Texans in mock drafts around the web. Earl Thomas is another, though that'd be a shocker to me. Most people expect those three to be gone...
Isaac Lewis - houston, TX, US: Would it be alright if the Texans took Taylor Mays at the 20th pick?
Nick Scurfield (2:02:02PM): Most projections have him going a little lower in the first round. That'd be a surprise pick since most people have the Texans taking a corner or running back, but he has an incredible size/speed combo for a safety.
Ross - Dickinson, TX, US: Hey Nick,you are great with this team. I appreciate all of the hard work you put in. Since the draft is in a new format how much of a difference do you think it is going to be having a day in between the first round and the second round?
Nick Scurfield (1:43:19PM): Thank you very much. I think there could be a big difference. Teams are going to have a chance to regroup and assess their boards after the first round Thursday and third round Friday. When they see certain prospects still available, there could be a lot of manuevering up from teams who want to grab highly-rated players that they think shouldn't still be on the board.
Mike H - Sandusky, NO: What did Strahm say to you at your desk?
Nick Scurfield (1:43:48PM): I wish I could tell you. I'm sworn to secrecy...
Eli - BRYAN, TX, US: So is there any inclination of who we are taking in the draft tonight. I think cornerback is a real high priority. we can always take a back in later rounds.
Nick Scurfield (2:03:13PM): Whoever the Texans draft, they'll want someone who can contribute right away and hopefully be a starter. Rick Smith said on Tuesday that the team is looking for playmakers on both sides of the ball, and he reiterated that the team places a high emphasis on character and players who do things the right way. He also said that a corner doesn't necessarily have to be an extremely physical player, but that the top physical attributes they look for are speed, his hips, how well he can cover, etc. He didn't give any indications on specific players.
Jairo - Pasadena, TX, US: Hey Nick! You think Tebow will go in the 1st round?
Nick Scurfield (2:15:49PM): Personally, no. But I think somebody will make a move on him in the second round.
Joseph Paige - Houston, TX, US: I think Rick Smith is more interested in DBs that can cover well in Zone and recognize routes. He mentioned he wasn't interested in someone physical, but in someone that can create turnovers. I wouldn't be surprised if we go after another DT in the first three rounds to improve Pass Rush or free up the DEs. What are the chances of a Trade for a young Veteran CB at the second round if we're confident in our current starters? All of our DTs drafted have been starters is why I say this.
Nick Scurfield (1:50:53PM): Interesting theory. Considering that recent trades of guys like Santonio Holmes and Ted Ginn netted only 5th-round picks in return, it'd be a bit surprising to see the Texans give up a 2nd-round pick for a veteran CB if that's what you're asking.
Donny - Spring, TX, US: Personally I think this year in the draft is no diff than the last few...go defense and get one of those good safetys that will be there..maybe earl thomas is there then it's a no brainer...but you also have chad jones...Major Wright...do you think they wold take that caliber of player with first pick? Also do you feel we should stay def. again with 1st. Thanks
Nick Scurfield (1:54:45PM): Defense was definitely the emphasis last year, with 3 of the first 4 picks on that side of the ball. Jones and Wright are talented players, but I don't see them going in the first round. I think if the Texans have a guy they love available at 20, like with Cushing last year at No. 15, they take him. If they believe they can trade back and still get the player they want, like with Duane Brown in 2008, that'd be entirely plausible as well
Nick Scurfield (1:56:26PM): That's it for today's chat. Thanks for stopping by and for all the great questions. Check back with us later today and all weekend as we cover the draft from Reliant Stadium, and check out the "Draft" section on HoustonTexans.com for more information on the Texans' draft party.