Houston Texans General Manager Rick Smith addressed the media Tuesday as the team prepares to enter the war room for the 2015 NFL draft. I attended today’s press conference and several things stood out to me about Mr. Smith’s comments in regards to the approach that he will take to this year’s draft:
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Safety D.J. Swearinger appears to be on the trade block: When asked about the rumors of the Texans being involved in talks to potentially trade Swearinger, Smith was non-committal, however when asked about extending the contract of linebacker Whitney Mercilus, Smith was very clear and direct in the fact that the team wants Mercilus to be a part of their future.
He did not say anything to indicate that Swearinger was in the team’s long term plans, Smith simply stated that “We make it a practice to not discuss negotiations publicly, whether that’s with an agent, a player or whether the team is pursuing trade opportunities”. Smith The fact that Smith did not rule out a Swearinger trade in my opinion leaves the door wide open for a possible deal during the draft or even afterwards.
"“We make it a practice to not discuss negotiations publicly, whether that’s with an agent, a player or whether the team is pursuing trade opportunities”."
The Texans appear to be very high on Tackle Derek Newton. Smith spoke about Newton’s play last season and highlighted the fact that he performed better than expected when called upon to play guard, and he is someone who they expect to be on the rise and will be a part of the teams future. Most would seem to think that the Texans were lukewarm on Newton so hearing that was a bit of a surprise.
The 16th overall pick can very well be traded. Smith made reference to the fact that he feels “comfortable” in a situation where there are multiple players are on the boards that they are interested in.
Additional diligence was done by the research team this year. They were more detailed in getting medical and security backgrounds on players and Mr. Smith spoke about that in the press conference.
This year’s draft will be very interesting for the Texans this year and although they have been very quiet about their plans, I suspect that behind the scenes they are working on several moves that will shape the roster in the vision that was outlined for the season. I expect the Texans to be one of the most active teams in the draft as well as the post-draft free agency period.