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April 30, 2015

Houston Texans Transcripts: Rick Smith and Bill O'Brien (4/30)

General Manager and Executive Vice President of Football Operations Rick Smith
 and Head Coach Bill O’Brien Draft Press Conference

Thursday, April 30, 2015
(Transcribed by Omar Majzoub)
Rick Smith
(on what stood about CB Kevin Johnson) “He was by far my favorite corner in the draft. When you talk about just a complete football player in our opinion, this guy is an intelligent guy, he’s smart, he’s tough, he can cover, he’s versatile, he plays on, he plays off, he’s got great instincts, and great play on the ball. In Indy, we really liked him in the room. We thought he was a good man and just enjoyed his career. He’s another guy that has a career there. He’s a three-year starter there. I just really like the way he plays football. He’s got good instincts, so we just really liked him. He’s a guy that we had targeted and were just really happy he was there.”
(on liking CB Kevin Johnson more than every other cornerback in the draft) “Yeah, when you can look at pictures and see this guy do everything that we’re going to ask him to do on film and you saw that on tape. That’s not taking anything away from Trae Waynes, we thought he was a great player as well. But when we’re talking about versatility and we’re talking about a guy who we saw do all the things that we’re going to ask him to do and we think he can do it in the slot and we think he can do it on the edge. When you put all those factors together and the way that he plays and how instinctive he is, that’s why he was my favorite.”
(on the impression CB Kevin Johnson left on them in meetings) “Well, he’s from a great family. He’s a young man who made some mistakes early in his college career and I don’t know that he took things as seriously as he needed to and had some academic trouble. Then all of a sudden, he realizes what’s at stake and I like those kind of situations where a guy is a young guy and might not be as mature as he needs to be, but then he turns it around and he did. He goes in and comes back and he starts three years and he graduates. He’s from a great family, so he represents what we like our players to look like. He’s a Houston Texan.”
Bill O’Brien
(on the group of defensive backs with the addition of CB Kevin Johnson) “We’re really happy where it’s at right now. We feel really good about the corner position, specifically after tonight with the addition of Kevin (Johnson). We have two really good veteran corners in Johnathan (Joseph) and Kareem (Jackson) that he can learn behind. He’ll come in and compete right away. Nothing will be given to any rookie, but he’ll be given the opportunity to come in here and compete and we know he’s going to do that. It’s only April, but as far as April is concerned, we feel good about the secondary.”
(on CB Kevin Johnson contributing right away) “Yeah, our expectations for any player that comes into our organization and our program is to compete and have a chance to play. So like, there’s no question that we think that Kevin (Johnson) can come in here and compete. If he does the job on the practice field, he’s going to get an opportunity in the games. That’s why, like Rick (Smith) said, he’s a Houston Texan and we’re really happy about having him on board.”
(on building the defense until the quarterback situation is settled) “You know, ‘until we find our quarterback’ like I just want to make sure that just personally I’m clear on that. We feel really good about our quarterback position. To be honest with you, I’m a little tired of hearing that. We feel good about our quarterback position. These guys are in here competing. They’re learning. They’re doing a good job so far in the offseason workouts. We can’t wait to get out there and start working with them. Like I said, it’s April. We feel like we’ve gotten off to a good start with our team in the offseason program and, like I said, we can’t wait to start working with them once we can get out there on the field.”
Rick Smith
(on if they tried to trade back into the first round) “No, I mean, we’re always talking to teams and whether it was when we were sitting at 16 and talking to clubs that wanted to come back to us. We didn’t, we’re sitting pretty good. We felt really good about getting Kevin (Johnson) and there’s still a lot of good players left on the board.”
(on if they had any discussions about trading down from 16) “I don’t know that we, I mean we talked to multiple teams throughout the entire draft. I don’t know how serious anything was or eminent it was. One of the things that we contemplated was if Kevin (Johnson) wasn’t there, who would we take obviously, and then all of the sudden when he’s there, we felt so good about the pick that we decided to just take him.”
(on if they would have considered drafting Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon if he had been available) “I don’t even speculate that way, okay. We got our guy and we’re happy with our guy.”
(on if they are looking for best available going forward or if they are looking to address need) “We will stick to our plan. We talk about setting a value and taking the players as they come, so we’ll continue to stick with that plan.”
Bill O’Brien
(on what he liked best about CB Kevin Johnson) “Where do you want me to begin? I think Rick (Smith) answered it really well. One thing from a coaching perspective that I liked was his versatility and his instincts. I felt in the study that I did on him and that we did on him, that’s what stood out to us is that, you know in college, he could play on the outside, he could play inside, he could play press, he could play off, he had good length, he was competitive, and he was instinctive. It was obvious that he studied film and we feel really good about his ability to transfer that ability to our league.”
(on his comfort level working with Rick Smith) “I mean, don’t I look comfortable to you? I mean, what do you want me to do? I’m really comfortable. We communicate every day. We talk probably at the very least three or four times a day, whether it’s face-to-face most of the time or text message or on the phone. I consider him a very good friend. I think our process, it takes a while to get to know each other, it’s not like we walked in the door knowing each other for 20 years, so I think that’s part of it too. You get to know him, his family, vice versa, and all those things. I think that as it relates to a year ago to where we are now, I thought our process was really good this year, led by Rick (Smith) and the conversations were good. I thought our coaching staff in combination with our scouting staff did a really good job of communicating and talking things through. We believe in where we’re headed. We have a strong belief in what type of team we want. Like I said, we feel very comfortable.”
Rick Smith
(on his comfort level working with Bill O'Brien) “Yeah, I mean I mentioned that the other day with respect to the process. I would echo what Bill (O’Brien) just said to you about our personal relationship, but our professional relationship is so much more beneficial for everybody because we are able to communicate at a level of depth this year that we weren’t last year. I think that will continue the more familiar that we all are, whether it’s just Bill and I or whether that’s our scouting staff and our coaching staff, I think that was something that was really good this year that we were able to really identify real clear visions for these players. That’s because we are communicating effectively.”
(on if Oregon QB Marcus Mariota and Miami WR Phillip Dorsett being drafted made them feel more comfortable about taking CB Kevin Johnson) “No, we’re not concerned about those moves. We’re focused on what we’re doing right now.”
(on if they try not to tip their hand to other teams when contacting players in the draft process) “Yeah, you know, I think our scouts do such a great job of painting the picture of who these men are, first and foremost. That’s through a lot of conversations with a lot of people. Although we only directly communicated with him a few times, we were in constant contact, I mean we were on the phone with his position coach yesterday. He didn’t know that, and he didn’t need to know that. I feel good about our process, it’s a very thorough process as it ought to be and I talk a lot of times about this process being exhaustive because we are obviously counting on these young men to come in and contribute to our football team. There was nothing that we needed to know about this young man that we didn’t know to feel as comfortable as we do about his addition to our football team.”
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