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Houston Texans

Okoye anxious to prove himself

Draft weekend is busy for every player eligible to be chosen, but for a top pick, the two days that highlight the NFL's offseason can be quite a whirlwind. The Texans first-round pick, Amobi Okoye, found out first hand over the past two days.

"I had no idea where I was going to get picked yesterday," Okoye said of his draft-day experience. "I think it was probably one of the craziest drafts in history and I was just waiting to find out.

"It was a goal of mine to be in the top 10 and that's what happened, so I'm happy, I'm satisfied and I'm ready to just move on now and keep on doing good things."

Shortly after being chosen by Houston, Okoye and his family were booked on a flight to Houston. After arriving at 10:00 p.m. last night, Okoye was chauffeured to a local hotel for what was probably a solid nights sleep after one of the busiest days of his life.

Things fell just right for Houston and the Texans were able to add one of the top defensive players in the entire draft, despite having to wait until the 10th overall pick Saturday.

"We had Amobi rated as our top-rated defensive football player," Texans defensive coordinator Richard Smith said. "There are a lot of great players up there, but for his position he has a lot of abilities that you look for in a defensive tackle. He has great body balance, great change of direction, great ability at his position.

"He's able to flip his hips, which means he has the ability, if you train him well, that he has the ability to be a inside pass rusher which we need on this team. Also with that, his youth and intelligence, he'll have no trouble picking up our scheme."

At just 19 years of age, one might think that Okoye's learning curve may be a little longer. Think again. Okoye started school at the age of two and has been facing challenges his entire life.

"I'm going to approach it the same way I've pretty much approached everything since my younger, younger days being that I started school early and I've been facing challenges all of my life from high school to college and it's just another step, it's another one to overcome," Okoye told reporters Sunday. "I love challenges and I'm ready for it. We're just going to have to wait and see where this goes."

{QUOTE}The Texans are hoping the wait is not long. Houston needs to have a better pass rush in 2007 than it did in 2006 and Smith believes Okoye will be a key component to his defense harassing the opposing quarterback.

"When you go back to last year, a lot of times to able to get a sack we had to call pressure," Smith admitted Sunday. "Anytime you get caught in those situations, those are not good. With Amobi here, hopefully that improves our rush."

With Mario Williams and DeMeco Ryans already leading a young defense, the Texans seem to have created a three-headed monster on defense for many years to come.

Okoye knows that like Williams and Ryans before him, he will have all the eyes of Houston upon him when he takes the field. He's ready for the challenge and even at 19, doesn't seem to want to shy away from the spotlight.

"I think I'm going to bring a lot to the team," Okoye said. "I'm a very team oriented person, so I'm ready to show everybody what I have and what I'm willing to bring.

"I'm going to bring everything I've got, I'm not going to leave anything behind. You're a first round pick and everybody's looking up to you for something big, especially my family, so I'm representing a lot of people. I'm willing and ready for this upcoming season to show what I've got."

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