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Scouting central

The Texans' war room has been assembled and the mission has been defined: prepare to pick the best players for the team with first-, third-, fourth-, fifth- and seventh-round selections. The Texans gave up their second- and sixth-round picks because of trades for quarterback Matt Schaub and center Chris Myers.

There is no strict formula that Houston's front office follows in making draft choices (and if they do, it's top secret. One already needs a retinal scan to access to the war room). General manager Rick Smith has said the team must fill needs at cornerback, left tackle and running back. But he also wants to get the best athlete that is available, especially with the team's 18th overall pick.

It's a delicate balance that the Texans are weighing as you read. Last year, the team chose defensive tackle Amobi Okoye with the 10th selection. The Texans had been eyeing Louisville star for some time; however, if running back Adrian Peterson had fallen to 10, they would have selected this year's Pro Bowl MVP.

To help prepare for such weighty draft decisions, Smith relies on director of college scouting Dale Strahm, director of pro personnel Brian Gardner, coaches and college scouts stationed across the country.

Next week, the group will start going through their mock drafts. Smith and company set their draft board before the combine and have been tweaking it as new information arrives. Going through mock drafts helps them to be as prepared as possible…and, of course, accomplish their draft day mission.

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