Rick Smith at Texas A&M pro day
The coaches and general managers say too little, and everyone else says too much. It makes it hard to nail down just what the Texans will do with No. 1 in addition to their other 10 picks.
Now that the procession of pro days is mercifully drawing to a close, the “draftniks” can stop treating them like a buddy telling you about his trip to Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro. We know, dude; just after you saw the most luscious bod ever she was followed by a dozen more, each hotter than the last.
Let’s be grateful there isn’t a 12-pack of prospects that can cause as much gushing as we have heard coming from the Johnny Manziel extravaganza at Texas A&M and the Jadeveon Clowney spectacular at the University of South Carolina. Arian Foster’s attempt to sell stock based on his future earnings may have bombed out, but somebody, somewhere is trying to figure out how to turn Clowney’s Hall of Fame probability into an investment instrument.
Bleacher Report’s own Chris Roling said it best:
Wait, we're using "Jadeveon Clowney" and "Hall of Fame" in the same... I'm done.
— Chris Roling (@Chris_Roling) April 2, 2014
What Houston does with the first pick may not be as important as what they do in the rest of the draft. Despite the gaping hole at quarterback and the necessity to inject some life into the anemic pass rush, there are other positions crying out for attention.
In order, they are nose tackle, inside linebacker, right offensive tackle, defensive end, slot receiver, running back, slot corner, outside linebacker and left offensive guard. That is nine picks for nine positions. Because the Texans hold the rights to Mr. Irrelevant, the 256th and final spot, their 11th pick is almost certain to offer no relief.
Since six of their 11 picks come in the fifth round or later, the Texans’ draft expertise will be put to the test. Unfortunately, there is a shortage of qualified participants.
Outside of general manager Rick Smith, defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel and Director of Pro Personnel Brian Gaine, there is no one else who has been on the front lines of an NFL draft. O’Brien never rose higher than offensive coordinator in the NFL. Jim Bernhardt, Director of Football Research, appears to have no experience in professional football whatsoever.
Khaled Elsayed of Pro Football Focus (subscription required) recently put Rick Smith under his Draft Grader microscope. While a numerical value was not assigned to Smith in the usual PFF style, he seemed to come out slightly on the plus side.
The Texans will need him to bring his “A” game to New York if they are going to make the most of their surplus of selections. Someone else on the staff is going to have to come through with some perceptive insights to make Smith's job a little easier.