Texans go DB, DB, QB in Rounds 4 and 5


Virginia Tech cornerback Rashad "Roc" Carmichael was sitting in the bleachers watching his brother's spring football game when he got the call: He was selected in the fourth round of the NFL draft by the Texans.

"My mom saw me get excited," Carmichael said. "She knew. She started crying and knocked the phone out of my hand."

The Texans started Saturday's final day of the draft by trading picks. They sent their fourth-round pick (105th overall) and sixth-round pick (178th overall) to the Washington Redskins for a fourth-round pick (127th) and two fifth-round picks (144 and 152).

After taking Carmichael in the fourth-round, the Texans chose Idaho safety Shiloh Keo with the first of their fifth-round picks. They finally moved to offense by taking North Carolina quarterback T.J. Yates with their second pick in the fifth round.

"I actually got to talk to the Texans at the Senior Bowl and the combine," Carmichael said. "They checked me out and said they were interested and that they had a young secondary, the kind I could come in and fit in."

Since becoming a full-time starter for the Hokies in 2009, Carmichael (5-10, 182) allowed only 31 pass completions out of 131 attempts to his area. He deflected 16 passes and had 10 interceptions, returning two for touchdowns.

Carmichael got pointers this offseason working out in Florida with cornerback Kareem Jackson, the Texans' No. 1 pick 2010. He said that he's ready for the next step in his football career.

"I play football, special teams, kick return, whatever the coach needs me to do," he said. "That's how I was brought up. Especially at cornerback but if they need me at safety, I'm ready for that, too."

Keo (5-11, 219) had 358 career tackles for the Vandals and also expects to get a chance at returning kicks in the pros. He set a school record with 585 yards in punt returns.

He got a taste of being a Texan when he was coached in the East-West Shrine game by Phillips.

"I feel like he's more of a laid back coach, and I love that," Keo said. "There's times when he'll get after it, too. I'm just looking forward to playing under him."

Keo thinks his versatility was a reason the Texans elected to pick him.

"I can play everything," he said. "I'm ready to come up in the box. I'm ready to be deep and play centerfield. I'm versatile in my game and I'm ready for all positions."

Keo said that he kept raising his hand to volunteer to return kicks at the East-West All-Star game.

"They didn't believe I could return the ball and I got out there in the East-West Shrine game and made some great returns," Keo said. "I think that's another reason why they decided to go with this pick.

"(Phillips) asked me if I played everything, and I said, 'Yes, sir, I'll even snap the ball."

Yates (6-4, 220) was the first offensive player drafted by the Texans this year. A four-year starter at UNC, he's the school's all-time leader in passing yards (9,377) and completion percentage (63.2).

"Very productive career, very calm in the pocket," Texans offensive coordinator Rick Dennison said. "We like what he did in college."

Yates led North Carolina to an 8-5 record in a turmoil-filled 2010 season, including when they had 13 players suspended for the first game of the season against LSU.

"That was one of the telling things," Dennison said. "He did a great job, particularly in the situations when he moved the team down. The last game he had, the two-minute drill, he did a great job, he was very calm…. He took some hits in the previous year when he had some young guys playing in front of him. So, that's one of the things, to be mentally tough, particularly at that spot."

And Yates will arrive in Houston with a built-in advantage, as he's already watched plenty of tape on the Texans' offense.

"This past offseason in Carolina, we watched a ton of Texans film from a few years ago because we were running a lot of the same offensive schemes and stuff," Yates said. "Our offenses are extremely similar. It's fun to watch that stuff on film and see yourself as well as what Matt Schaub does on the field. I feel like I'm pretty prepared going into this offense."

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