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May 01, 2015

Houston Texans Transcripts (5/1): Rick Smith and Bill O’Brien Draft Press Conference

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

Friday, May 1, 2015
(Transcribed by Omar Majzoub)
Rick Smith
(on the trades the Texans made) “As the second round began to unfold, Benardrick (McKinney) was sitting there and it was pretty clear that he was the highest rated guy left on the board. We felt like we needed to get aggressive. Bill (O’Brien) will talk about what we think about him as a player, but really excited about him. It was pretty clear that he was the guy that was still there, so we started making some calls and we were able to obviously go up and make that trade with Cleveland. So we went up and gave up a fourth (round pick) and a sixth (round pick). We felt like that was a little rich, so we were able to get a seventh back, thinking that we might be able to package that a little bit later on or get a good player in the seventh round, as well, so we did that. In the third round, the same thing. There’s a guy sitting there that has obvious value. So once again, just trying to be aggressive and adding talent to the football team. I got on the phone again and actually executed the first trade of the Mike Maccagnan era with the Jets. We took that seventh that we had gotten and then also a fifth rounder. Then obviously, the trade of DeVier Posey. I think it’s a good opportunity for DeVier. For whatever reason, his career just hadn’t really materialized the way that I think he had hoped while he was here. We had talked with him prior to the draft and we had communicated to him that we would try to find a situation that was a good one for him. He feels really good about it and I’m sure if you talk to him he will articulate that to you, so we felt good and put him as a part of that package to go up and take Jaelen (Strong). I told you last week that I felt like our preparation was really good. We talked over the last couple of days that everything we had done up to that point really didn’t matter, we had to execute. So far, for two days, I think we’ve done a decent job of executing. We’ve got a big day tomorrow. Our guys understand that, but we do think that our football team is better by the moves that we’ve made so far.”
Bill O’Brien
(on WR Jaelen Strong and LB Benardrick McKinney) “I’ll start with (Benardrick) McKinney. Benardrick is an inside linebacker. He’s got good size, 6-4 and 250 (pounds), good length, an active player, a tough player. A guy that can do a few different things within our defensive scheme, so we’re very excited about having him on board. We were at Mississippi State a few weeks ago and had a chance to sit down with their coaching staff and they raved about him also. We worked him out, had a good work out there and a meeting with him. Jaelen Strong is a big, outside receiver. A really good catch radius. He’s able to go up and do a great job on 50/50 balls, contested catches. We feel like he can run. We feel like he’s best days of football are ahead of him. We’re really excited about having Jaelen, also. I’ll just say this about Pose (DeVier Posey), he worked extremely hard for us. He’s a great guy with an excellent work ethic. He’ll get a good, fresh start there in New York and we just, as a coaching staff, we just want to tell him that we appreciate all his efforts here with us in our first year here on the job.”
Rick Smith
(on testing WR Jaelen Strong’s wrist and finding out he was fine) “We did. We have an excellent hand surgeon here that works with us and he cleared him and we had no issues with his wrist.”
(on WR Jaelen Strong’s confidence and ability to replace WR Andre Johnson) “Well, I like a confident player. I think you got to have confidence and belief in your abilities in order to go out and perform. I don’t know that anybody here is expecting him to replace Andre Johnson. We’re revamping our wide out position. For a number of years, if you thought wide receiver in Houston, you thought about Andre, so it’s natural I think that question arises, but that’s not the expectation in our building. We want him to come in and we don’t want him to be anything other than himself. If he does that and he works hard and he understands that, I think he’s got a chance to be a good football player.”
Rick Smith
(on if they were surprised that WR Jaelen Strong dropped to the third round) “Well I don’t know that he dropped, I think there was a lot of conversation about his value. I don’t know where that conversation was coming from. I think we got him at good value, he’s a heck of a football player, so we were excited to get him there. He obviously was the guy that was the highest rated guy on our board at the time which was why we went and got him.”
(on if they got him where they had him graded) “It was in the area where we had him graded, maybe a little bit down, but those projections and those grades are, they’re subjective of course but we had to value both of those guys, and that was one of the moves we made today is that, we were aggressive, we went and got players but we got players at good value.”
Bill O’Brien
(on if he is worried about ILB Bernardrick McKinney’s strength) “No, I think with all these young players, when they come in here, they all have to start at a certain level. One of the things with all these guys is they have to do a really good job of getting into our weight room, into our lifting program, adding some strength, getting into our nutrition program, eating properly, all those different things. I don’t get concerned about that because I think all young players, I think one of the big adjustments they all have to make when they get to the professional level is the strength level. I know that Bernardrick will come in here and work hard to get stronger.”
(on McKinney being a good contributor on special teams) “No question. I think with his length, he’s a big guy, a big long guy that can run. The expectation will be for him to come in here and help us on special teams and we believe that he’ll do that.”
(on if McKinney is a three down linebacker in their vision) “In our vision, we feel like he can do some things on third down, we think he’s a versatile player. We’re going to start off at the inside position and teach him that position. Then as time goes on, do some things possibly with him on the outside, but primarily he’ll be an inside linebacker. I do believe that he can do some things on third down, but primarily he’ll be a first and second down inside linebacker and then we’ll go from there.”
Rick Smith
(on if he has to adjust his strategy for tomorrow) “Well, I don’t have much ammunition left in the barrel. We’ve got our compensatory picks that are obviously picks that aren’t tradable, so we’ll pick good players at those points then we’ve got our seventh round pick as well. We’ll take them as they come.”
Bill O’Brien
(on if WR Jaelen Strong will come in and compete for a starting spot) “Well, I think all these guys come in as backup players. It’s important for these guys to get off on the right foot, get into the meetings, prepare for the meetings, learn the meetings, the walkthroughs and then go out on the practice field and try to get better every single day. As long as they do that, they’ll all have a shot to play at some point in time. When you talk about starters, we have so many different personnel groups on both sides of the ball, it depends on who we’re playing, we’re a game plan on offense, game plan defense. The expectation will be for these guys to come in and work extremely hard, get better every day on the practice field and help us, no question about it.”   
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