With the hiring of new general manager Brian Gaine, the Texans may be further ahead in the draft process than most teams undergoing front office changes.
Gaine, who spent three seasons with the Texans (2014-16), has a familiarity with the Texans roster from his prior stint with the team.
"We discussed players from the past of where I've been and the current roster and some of the thoughts that I had," Gaine said in his introductory press conference. "Obviously I'd been gone for about eight-to-10 months, just getting brushed back up on how the guys exactly performed this year is the priority No. 1 for me, so that can impact decisions in free agency, in the draft. But that was part of the discussion, just my general familiarity with the roster already. In a way that creates an advantage to get me further down the road as we make our decisions."
Since he arrived, Gaine has prioritized completing player evaluations on the current roster. After determining what the Texans have and where the biggest position needs are, the staff can then decide whether to build in free agency or via the draft. Gaine, who served as Buffalo Bills' vice president of player personnel last year, was heavily involved in the pre-draft process.
"I've seen a very good amount of prospects right now as it relates to our draft board," Gaine said. "So, I feel like I'm ahead of the game in that regard."
With his prior knowledge of the roster and study of the draft prospects, Gaine and the Texans hope to have a seamless transition this offseason. Bill O'Brien and his staff will be coaching the upcoming Reese's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, where Gaine will get another look at prospects.
"This week, especially these three weeks where we can physically see these players in competitive environments at the NFLPA, the East West game, at the Senior Bowl next week, we're going to have a very unique circumstance for ourselves because we're coaching in it," Gaine said. "So, in terms of accessibility and getting to know the players and scouting these guys, physically is one thing, but equally the interview process is critically important. Facing up with these guys to know exactly what their football character is, what their personalities are like, what their personal character's like and to get to know these guys in a different way rather than just doing a school visit."
Since beginning his administrative career in 1999, Gaine has helped guide teams to the postseason nine times: 2001, 2002 and 2004 with the Jets; 2006 and 2007 with the Cowboys; 2008 with the Dolphins; 2015 and 2016 with the Texans and the Bills in 2017, which was Buffalo's first playoff appearance since 1999. Additionally, Gaine played a role in putting together rosters that have garnered 73 Pro Bowl berths and 12 First-Team All-Pro selections.
Check out photos of new Texans GM Brian Gaine's introductory press conference.