Transcripts: Rick Smith and Bill O'Brien press conference


Houston Texans Transcripts** General Manager and Executive Vice President of Football Operations Rick Smith and Head Coach Bill O'Brien Post Draft Press Conference
Saturday, May 2, 2015
(Transcribed by Omar Majzoub)

Rick Smith
(on drafting DT Christian Covington despite his knee injury) "Well, we are very comfortable from a medical perspective with the knee. Obviously, we're versed on the procedure that he went through and feel good about where his rehab is. I had an opportunity to go over and work him out, so we felt comfortable with him. He's a young man, a very intelligent young man, a very intense young man. He comes from good pedigree, of course. Being here locally, we were able to watch him. We think we know what he can add to our football team, so good pick for us, I think."

Bill O'Brien
(on drafting DT Christian Covington despite his knee injury) "Yeah, I agree (with Rick Smith). Our scouts worked him out. (Defensive Line Coach) Paul Pasqualoni worked him out. We felt good about what we saw a few weeks ago and we think that we have a really good vision for what he could possibly do for us, so we're glad to have him on board."

Rick Smith
(on how he feels about the Texans entire draft) "First of all, at first blush, I think it was a very productive weekend. I think our guys did a great job. I've talked before about the preparation and the importance of execution. I think we did that. Today wasn't as exciting and intense as say yesterday or last night was because there wasn't a whole lot of movement like it was on Friday night, but I think we picked good, solid football players that we have clear visions on what they can do when they walk in the door and in the building and how they are going to compete to make our football team. From that perspective, I think it's due in large part to the fact that we were able to really have some real good discussions and evaluations. We had a good idea of what the board looked like, so from that perspective I'm pleased."

Bill O'Brien
(on how he feels about the draft overall) "We feel good. I think that this year we really did a good job of communicating with the scouts and vice-versa, as far as what the vision was for each one of these players that we drafted. We feel really good about each guy coming in here and having an opportunity to really help our team in some way, shape, or form."

(on how he plans to use DT Christian Covington and LB Reshard Cliett) "(Christian) Covington, I think, can fill some different roles for us. One of the roles that I believe we'll give him an opportunity to fill for us would be as a sub-rusher on third down. We know that for sure. We're going to give him an opportunity to come in here and try to help us rush the passer in OTAs and then obviously in training camp and see what he can do there. As far as Reshard (Cliett) is concerned, we really like the fact that he ran well, he's a smart guy. When he came here to meet with our scouting staff and our coaching staff, we were very impressed with his football knowledge, his recollection of his own defensive scheme from college and then his recollection of some of the things we taught him. We saw a very athletic guy that could be used as a potential sub-linebacker and was a smart guy."

(on how much better the Texans could be on special teams coverage) "Well, it needs to be better. We have to be better on special teams. That's one of the things as a coaching staff we really looked at and I think Rick (Smith) put it well when he answered that previous question about some of these guys. All of these guys we had clear visions for. Some of the visions were involving special teams, so we certainly think that these guys can help us, some of these guys can help us on special teams."

(on RB Kenny Hilliard) "He's a big back. He's a first and second down back. He's a tough running back. He's a good teammate. I think the history of success of running backs from LSU is something that's good. I believe that he's a guy that, as most LSU backs, they rotate when they're there because they all come in as high school All-Americans, so they have to learn how to share the load. He's willing to do that, so I think he can come in here and help us as a first and second down back."

Rick Smith
(on the importance of undrafted free agents) "It is. It's very important. Obviously, it's the way that you round out the balance of your roster. That process is going to start here pretty quickly as soon as the draft is over. Bill (O'Brien) talked about the communication between the scouts and the coaches and one thing I will say is I do think it's important- one of the things that were always looking at our process. Were always trying to figure out. We have these debriefing meetings right after the draft and how can we improve. Bill and I did that last year. One of the things that we decided to do this year was to further involve the coaches on the road in evaluations. These young men that we drafted and the other men that were talking about as free agents. The coaches have been out and they have established relationships with some of these players. They were able to come back and really tell us what they thought about these players. That part of the process really augmented the entire thing, specially this free agent process that we're about to start now. It's important. We've found some players that have contributed to our team and we're certainly hopeful to do that again. We're going to do that as soon as we walk off this table."

(on LSU OT La'el Collins not getting drafted) "Just an unfortunate set of circumstances for the young man. A tragic circumstance for the family of the victims and certainly that's the first thing that we think about. Our prayers certainly go out to them. But with the uncertainty surrounding the entire situation, it was just something that we didn't feel comfortable with."

Bill O'Brien
(on the wide receiver group and what he hopes to see out on the field from them) "That's probably the best way to put it. Now we get to go out on the field, especially with the two rookies this weekend and any college free agent that we add, and go out there and see how they run around on the grass. We anticipate after our studies that were going to obviously see a lot of good things in different ways from (Jaelen) Strong and (Keith) Mumphery and we're excited about it. We really feel good about the guys that are here right now. Obviously, DeAndre Hopkins we think is one of the best in the league. I've said that time and time again. With the addition of Cecil Shorts III and Nate Washington, we really think we've solidified that position and we're looking forward to working with those guys starting this week on Monday. It's still a work in progress, but we feel good at this stage about where that position is at."

View photos of the Texans' day three draft picks, including MSU WR Keith Mumphery, USF LB Reshard Cliett, Rice DT Christian Covington and LSU RB Kenny Hilliard.

(on if LB Reshard Cliett will be a good special teams player) "He should be. You know, he should be a good space tackler, which you have to be on special teams. He should be a guy that can be a core special teams player. Again, he's got to go out there and do it, just like every rookie. But we believe, that's why we drafted him, that he can come in here and help us on special teams."

Rick Smith
(on improving the kick return game with undrafted guys) "Yeah, I think anybody who has that ability will come in and have a chance to compete to do that."

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