What did it mean to have your sons, Jack and Michael, with you during the draft, and how is Jack doing?
"That was cool. I saw last night where a lot of the guys, coaches' and GM's families were represented on the telecast. Colleen and I felt like that was a good way to really thank the healthcare workers and the front-line medical people that are dealing with the Coronavirus, which is – football is so secondary to what's going on in the world right now. So, we wheeled him (Jack) out here and he woke up, which was cool, and Michael loves it. Michael has been in here the whole time listening to all these discussions. Jack is doing great. Jack's day-to-day, every day is a struggle, but he's hanging in there. Thank you for asking."
Before you made that last pick they showed you on TV and you seemed to be agitated. What was that about?
"No, we were messing with the Zoom. We were messing on the Zoom with myself and (Jack) Easterby and all the guys. No, nothing agitated. The camera is on the whole time. I don't know. We were just messing around on the Zoom. We're on the back patio here. We've done a lot of business on the back patio here over the last couple of months."
When DT Ross Blacklock came to visit your facility, did you think at that point he would be someone you take if he was available?
"You're exactly right, we felt like he would be there at 40. We felt like if he wasn't there at 40, we felt there was a good chance he would be drafted in the first round, and went we went to bed last night we were happy because this is a guy that, like you said, he came in to visit us. One of the things that we did with him on the visit is he was in front of the whole coaching staff, and that's hard. There's 20 coaches around the room and he's in the middle there and he answered all the questions and did a great job. Very impressive guy, worked out a little bit. Just a real impressive guy, so we were thrilled to be able to draft him when we did there at 40."
What does that mean to you to be able to get the deal done with T Laremy Tunsil, and could you give us a comment on OLB Jonathan Greenard?
"We've been working hard with L.T. (Laremy Tunsil) over the past, probably I'd say month and a half, to try to get something done. He represented himself. He had a great team of people around him that we also communicated with. One thing that I would really like to make clear is when you make that particular trade where we traded for Laremy and Kenny Stills, in order to work out a contract within the trade, the other team has to allow you to do that otherwise you can't do the trade. We had a choice to make there and we knew one way or the other, whether we did the contract during the trade or post-trade like we did, we knew that Laremy Tunsil was going to get paid because we feel like he is the top left tackle in the National Football League. We went ahead and made that trade to make our team better and we had a good year with Laremy. There's a lot of things that he's going to be more comfortable within our offense this year. He's going to be a better player this year. He played very well for us, our sack total dropped about 20 to 25 from the previous year with him in the lineup. We had a great negotiation with Laremy. He was very honest, we were very honest, very up front. Jack Easterby was very instrumental in the negotiation with Laremy and his team and earlier today we were able to come to an agreement and we're thrilled. We're thrilled to have Laremy Tunsil on our team. He's a great guy, he's really committed to the Houston Texans, he's committed to the city of Houston. He understands how important it is to be out in front relative to all of the things we can do help the community in Houston, so we're thrilled. On Jon Greenard, we studied Jon a lot just like we studied Ross (Blacklock). One of the things that both of these guys bring, Jon brings, is toughness, he brings a football intelligence. He's a humble, he's a hungry guy. I think he falls into that category of dependable, tough and smart. I think Ross falls into that category too. I think we've got two guys that are going to walk into the locker room, they're going to put their head down and they're going to go to work and they're going to know that they're coming into a good football team and they're going to be ready to go."
How much do you think the one year at Florida helped DE Jonathan Greenard in his development?
"I don't know. I guess you'd have to ask him. I'm not sure. I'm sure it helped quite a bit. When you go into a program like that and you were coached the way you were coached and you were a part of the team like, I think that that's always a big part of your experience and your football journey, but I would say that's probably a better question for him. It's a great question, but I'm sure it was a big part of his, like I said, his football journey."
How much can you forecast that making the extension on T Laremy Tunsil was the right move?
"I think it's very important to forecast to the best of your ability. That's where your scouting department really comes into play. I think our scouts do a great job. When Matt Bazirgan and James Liipfert, Rob Kisiel, these guys and all the guys underneath them, they really work hard to not only scout the NFL, the college game, but they also look into the future and kind of give us an idea a year out, two years out, what the draft might look like, what everything might look like. I think when you look back at the moves that we've made relative to that position, I think we've made the right moves. We were able to go out and secure a left tackle in Laremy Tunsil. We had him on a rookie contract, so this year was a good deal for the Houston Texans because we had a Pro Bowl left tackle playing on a rookie contract. We were able to come to an agreement with him today, which is a really good deal for the Houston Texans and if you look at the way the draft went, like you said, it would've been very difficult to draft a great left tackle in the first round where we may have been sitting. We feel good about where we're at and I think that's a good observation, a good question that you have. We work hard to try to stay ahead of the game on those things."
Do you think there could be additions to the secondary with the draft, and what are your thoughts on adding S Michael Thomas and what he can bring?
"We feel like we've done a decent job pre-draft of creating some depth on the roster and in the secondary. When we signed (Bradley) Roby back, we got (Gareon) Conley and Lonnie (Johnson Jr.), and Keion Crossen. Then at the safety position, we've done a lot of work there obviously with Justin Reid already there, but also adding Eric Murray and Jaylen Watkins, and then you just talked about Michael Thomas. We were able to add Michael Thomas, which was really exciting for us, I think. You're talking about a guy that has always been considered one of the top special teams players in the league. He's played very well, he has experience with Brad Seely, Tracy Smith, most recently with the Giants. He played for the Giants, done a good job. Great guy, Houston guy. Lives in Houston, takes a lot of pride, he's really excited about being here. So, I feel god about our secondary, where we are right now, but certainly with the picks that we have left, I would anticipate having a chance to possibly add to that depth."
Is signing QB Deshaun Watson to a contract extension before the season a priority?
"Look, I think any time we can try to get something done with Deshaun would be great, but again, these things take time. I don't want to get into all the details of it. I know there's a lot out there about where we are. We have a great relationship with Deshaun, we have a great relationship with his agent. Very good open lines of communication. Really haven't gotten into the details of anything right now, but obviously we want Deshaun Watson to be the quarterback here for a long time, so we'll see how it all plays out."
How important was it to be able to have in-person visits with OLB Jonathan Greenard and DT Ross Blacklock before in-person visits were suspended?
"Yeah, that was big. To be able to get Ross Blacklock in the building – we had him in the building. We were able to do a little workout with him, we were able to interview him. Really important. Our scouts were able to work with Greenard pre-coronavirus. I think that's very important. I'm looking off to the side right here of the Zoom meeting with you guys is the draft board. That's really what we did. We followed that draft board to a T. As it went down, it's hard to see a lot of good players going off the board, but when we had Ross there after the first round and then we had Jon Greenard there at 90, we felt good about the work that the scouts had done, the work that the coaches had done. We're excited about where we are right now."
How hard is it going to be for this year's rookies to develop considering they won't have the on-field coaching that all other rookies have had throughout history?
"I think it's going to be very hard. I think it's going to be very hard. I think that one of the things that our staff does a good job of over the years is the assistant coaches do a great job of developing players. You think through the years of some of the guys that we've been able to develop – a lot of that had to do with the offseason program, had to do with the fact that you could work with rookies for five or six weeks before training camp and really indoctrinate them to the culture of your organization, of your team, and then also obviously work with them on the field. You're not going to have that. You're going to have to rely on these guys. These two guys that we drafted today, tonight, I really feel that we have two really mature guys that are really going to understand, 'Hey, we better show up in shape and ready to go because we're playing in a defense with J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus, Benardrick McKinney, Zach Cunningham, Brandon Dunn and all the others.' I think these guys know, like, 'We better stay in shape and be ready to go.' I think it's going to be a very difficult season for rookies to just jump right in and be ready to go."
Where do you envision OLB Jonathan Greenard lining up when you're able to get on the field at some point?
"I think with (Anthony) Weav (Weaver) and what we've done with RAC (Romeo Crennel), I think if you're talking base defense, I think he'd probably be at the outside backer, I think he'd be at a SAM. I think he'd be able to play at a SAM. I also think he could go to the open side and play a five-technique. He's got size, he's got strength. Then when you get to sub defense, it's just anywhere. You know what I mean? If we are in an odd front, or an event front, where could he be? Could he be standing up? Could he be walking around? I think at his core he's an outside linebacker, but I do think he can do a lot of different things."
It's early in the draft, but you added to your front seven. How do you think the defense got better after tonight?
"I definitely think we've improved. We're pretty good on defense. We've got a lot of depth in the offseason. Like I was saying the other day when I talked to you guys, we were able to sign a lot of our guys back and then we were able to add some good free agents. It's going to be a tough competition in training camp for a lot of these guys. They're going to show up, they're going to be ready, they're going to be excited. Then we add two guys tonight that we feel are going to add to that we feel will competition. I feel good about the defensive side of the ball. I feel really good about where we're at. We have a few more picks here tomorrow and we'll see how it goes."