The Texans drafted two tight ends in the 2009 NFL Draft, Anthony Hill out of NC State and James Casey out of Rice. Tight ends coach Brian Pariani talked to the media about both selections.
Tight ends coach Brian Pariani
(on drafting Anthony Hill) "Drafting Anthony Hill in the fourth round out of North Carolina State. He's a local kid that played high school here, and we think he had a great career at North Carolina State. What he bring to our offense is he's a run blocker. I thought he did a tremendous job in the senior bowl and in the draft workouts, and also at Indianapolis at the combine. But there's not a lot of career stats that you can say of a tight end of his caliber. When you draft a player like this people are going to say, what about the numbers and those things and what this guy brings. You have to run the ball in this league and this is what this guy does. He will add to the group of (TEs) Owen (Daniels), and Joel (Dreessen) and with Mark (Bruener) retiring you know he will be a good fit for what we want to do."
(on if James Casey will play tight end) "What I think you see in James is you see a outstanding athlete. He can catch the ball and make a lot of plays. When I evaluated him, or we did, you see him play everywhere for Rice, receiver, tight end, H-back. He played running back in situations. What we liked about James is his versatility and in this league you can't have enough tight ends that are versatile. You go back to (TE) Owen (Daniels) when we drafted him out of Wisconsin and as he develops in the system to were he today, even (TE) Joel (Dreessen) coming out of Colorado State so what you get is, you get versatility and I think the more versatility you have the more weapons you have on offense and that helps us as a team. So really he's going to come in and play a lot of spots, but in this offense it is about playing spots. And you see what we do in the games and so I don't think you can have enough tight ends in my opinion in the game today to win. You see more teams going to that and again we are excited bout having a local kid. You know this guy is a tremendous kid also."
(on what he thinks about special teams) "I think any time you come in to do that you need speed and James (Casey) brings speed to the table at 4.65 and those things, so he's going to be on special teams doing that. He has been a long snapper for Rice and Anthony (Hill) has played special teams also so what it does is it gives you value in those areas."
(on if deep snapping with James Casey caught their eye in the local workout) "No it didn't. He was on the list to evaluate as a tight end, and that's the first thing you have to do as a position coach is evaluate him as a tight end to play in this league and we felt he could do that. Obviously he wasn't out to do a lot of blocking at Rice but those are things that can be taught and people that have played in this offense both in Denver and at Houston have learned how to block over time and we think that he will develop to do those kinds of things and help us win."
(on what he has planned for Anthony Hill) "He going to come in and his job is obviously to play in our two tight end package and be a line of scrimmage blocker and pass protector and do those things. Those are the qualities that he brings to the table and it's going to be some great competition for the players we have on the team and also for him to continue to grow in to what we are trying to do as a organization."
(on how he classifies the fourth and fifth round picks) "Yes if you wanted to classify those two picks in the fourth and fifth rounds, correct. That's how you would classify them today, but they are both good football players that have a chance to play in this league a long time."
(on if age was an issue with James Casey) "No I don't think age comes into play in my mind because I think that playing tight end that has to do with maturity and learning again how to play the position and I think that he showed enough things at Rice that he knows how to play the position. He was a quarterback, he was a baseball player. He is a very good athlete, and you see that today a lot of tight ends are good athletes that might have played a different position in college than they are playing in the league today. So no I don't think that it hindered him in being old. I don't, I think it helped him to tell you the truth once it comes to playing in the league. I think you have to be mature mentally to play."
(on the similarities to him and TE Owen Daniels when he was drafted) "The similarities would be being able to make plays in man coverage and help their team in the passing game. I think he was used more in the run game at Wisconsin than James (Casey) was at Rice. James was really a detached player. They did ask him to block and do things on the perimeter, where Owen was doing things at the fullback position and the tight end position at Wisconsin. But, again, I think they bring the mental aspect to the game. The toughness that needs to be played at this level."
(on if he spoke to Connor Barwin about playing tight end) "No I had not spoken to him today about playing tight end, I think we are a little full right now at that position, so we will see how that goes as we get going. But it's great to have great athletes that we drafted yesterday and today to help us win."
(on if feels good as a position coach to get two tight ends) "Yes it does. But the only way to get better as a team, through my experience, is to continue to bring in players to challenge the players that you have. So I think that drafting players not only helps your organization, but I think that Anthony (Hill) and James (Casey) are going to make (TEs) Owen (Daniels) and Joel Dreessen better players, and I think that that's how you win. I think we're to the point now and I've talked to (head coach) Gary (Kubiak) and (general manager) Rick (Smith) were to the point where we want to win and we want to go farther. And I think you can keep bringing in good players. The more you can bring, I think your team is going to get better and better."