For the third consecutive year, HoustonTexans.com did exclusive 1-on-1 interviews with key figures in the Texans' NFL draft process for our "Draft Pass" video series.
In this segment, Texans head coach Gary Kubiak spoke with Drew Dougherty of Texans TV at Reliant Stadium after the draft concluded on Sunday. Watch video
Drew Dougherty: "What's your first impression of this group?"
Gary Kubiak: "We've got a lot of energy in this draft. I can't help but think about opening day against the Colts. I want to see our locker room with (defensive end) J.J. (Watt), and (outside linebacker) Brooks (Reed) and (linebacker Brian) Cushing in there before the game. There ought to be a lot of energy in there. I feel much better. Obviously we got better as a football team. There was a big emphasis on the defensive side of the ball. We're looking forward to getting to work with them. Hopefully that will happen sometime soon.
DD:"How much flexibility does Watt give the defense?"
GK: "He's going to play the 5-Technique. He's going to play end for us. But come third down, when it's time to go get the quarterback, he can go inside. He can play outside. (Defensive end) Mario (Williams) is still the wild card. Mario's the guy that we can do a lot of things with. We have more versatility now with (outside linebacker) Connor (Barwin) coming back off his injury. Getting Brooks to play outside linebacker also, there's more things for (defensive coordinator) Wade (Phillips) to sit there and work with now. We need to get together and start playing some football, so we can find out what he has. But there are a lot of options there."
DD: "How soon was Reed on your radar?"
GK: "I thought he was a first-round pick. I was surprised he didn't get picked the first day. I sat in my office on Friday, and everything I heard was that he was going to be drafted with the first or second pick on Friday. We're sitting there, and he doesn't go. We start crossing our fingers and we actually talked about moving up to get him. Then we said 'Well, maybe we'll get him anyway.' And the I'll be darned, we get him. We just felt very, very lucky, because they're in a lot of ways, the same type of players in how they go about their business. There's just a little bit of a difference in size."
DD: "Does Reed remind you of any player you've come across?"
GK: "There's been some people. We mentioned (Clay) Matthews (III), but he played with his hand down for the most part. He was a small end at Arizona. But when the ball is snapped, this guy gets off the ball. I think he may have one of the fasted '10's at the Combine, when you're talking about small space. When he finishes, he's violent. When he finishes, he'll not only make our defense better, he'll make (special teams coach) Joe's (Maricano) special teams better."
DD: "Linebackers coach Reggie Herring seemed fired up about Brooks Reed."
GK: "Reggie gets fired up about everything, Drew. That is not a problem. We'll have plenty of energy out there with Reggie."
DD: "What did you think of the trade up to get Brandon Harris?"
GK: "I thought that was a great move by Rick. He was a guy we had targeted. We're sitting there paying attention to what's going on, and there's no doubt in our mind that he should be the next corner off the board. We had a chance to move up. I can't remember if it was 10 or 12 spots. He said let's make sure we get this guy. And then he still recouped some of those choices on the back end so we feel very good about him. Some of our players on the team know him very well and spoke very highly of him."
DD: "What impact will these rookies have for Joe Marciano on special teams?"
GK: "It's gotta have a big impact. Our roster's going to change. We're going to have more linebackers on our roster. Last year, in my opinion we fell off special teams-wise, and it had nothing really to do with what we were doing. It was just that we had five or six key special teams players on our team that all of a sudden became starters because of injury. Like a (tight end) Joel Dreessen. We need depth so that Joe can be more explosive on special teams and give us a chance to make a difference on Sunday."
DD: "How does this affect what you all will do, personnel-wise, with regards to free agency?"
GK: "It's just different. Coming in here Monday morning, our total focus is on free agency and 'where do we go next?' when we do start doing business again. Normally that's all done. And it's all about coaching and getting your team ready to play in the fall. This thing continues to be a very fluid situation and we'll just have to evaluate each day. But the next chance for us to get better is in free agency."
DD: "North Carolina quarterback T.J. Yates studied your offense in college. How often do you hear that?"
GK: "It doesn't happen very often any more in college, because there's a bunch of spread football going on. Those type of things. He just happened to play for a coordinator that came from pro football a couple of years ago in John Shoop who we know very well. For him, walking in our meeting room the first day, whenever that is, and we put in 'Flanker Drive', which is one of our top pass plays in our offense, T.J. will know what's going on. He won't have to ask. So that's a very comfortable situation, and we're very happy to have him."
DD: "At the end of the draft, you pick up a Rice Owl. Your youngest son plays for the team, how much intel did you get from him on Ozougwu?"
GK: "I know the young man, just from watching him practice. Of course, (Rice head coach) David (Bailiff) speaks very highly of him. He has a great motor, and we're going to play him at linebacker. Very, very smart young man. We think he'll be able to handle more than one spot, and I think he'll be a good player for Joe. I know he's excited. A local young man. (Tight end) James (Casey) has done a great job for us out of Rice and we're expecting him to do the same."