EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is part of HoustonTexans.com's 2010 Path to the Draft presented by FOX Sports Houston.
On Tuesday during Senior Bowl week in Mobile, Ala., Texans general manager Rick Smith spoke with Drew Dougherty of Texans TV about talent evaluation, coaching changes and more. The following is a partial transcript of their conversation. To view all of Part I, click here.
Dougherty: When you're at a Senior Bowl practice, what sort of things are you doing?
Smith: It's a great opportunity for me to see these guys up close. See how they interact with coaches. See how they take coaching. What their bodies look like. We obviously have a weigh-in on Monday morning and that's an opportunity to get a real good view of what a guy looks like physically and his body composition. You're looking at all those things. Our scouts have different positions they're assigned to. There's a South practice and a North practice each day, and I try to take one side of the ball and focus on a couple different position groups each day, so that over the course of the week I get a chance to evaluate each position.
Dougherty: What's impressed you the most about this group at the Senior Bowl?
Smith: Like every year, you look at the class and what you want to see over the first couple days of practice is: How quickly can they assimilate to an NFL-style practice. You're looking for competitive people. You're looking for guys competing, whether it's in a 1-on-1 drill, or whether it's just an individual drill, you want to see guys compete at this level. When the stakes get raised, you want to see that it doesn't get too big for them. At the end of the week, you're looking for a guy who can step up when the opportunity presents itself, and take advantage of it and make some plays.
Dougherty: Have you ever totally written a player off, or really gotten more interested in a player, based on what you've seen in a Senior Bowl practice?
Smith: You try not to. You try not to make impulsive judgments like that. Certainly there are some things that players can do in these games, or in practice that they flash and make you say 'Whoa! I need to go study that guy,' or 'I thought this was what I saw on tape, but he showed me something different today.' So it's a part of the evaluation process. I'd like to think that nothing that you're going to see in a couple days of practice or in a game, again, won't be more of what you value in the total evaluation than what the guy does as a football player.
Dougherty: Closer to home, Greg Knapp is the new quarterbacks coach. How come, and what led you to that decision?
Smith: That's an addition that I'm very excited about, as I am about Rick Dennison's hire. Both those guys have experience in our type of offense, and of course Rick having worked with us in Denver, is very familiar with what we do and Gary's philosophy in what he wants to implement and run his offense. Greg Knapp is a guy that comes from the same system and has coordinator experience in this league. Multiple times he's worked with quarterbacks, so both those guys are going to add tremendously to our offense and I'm excited about their additions.