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Texans Should Approach Draft With AFC’s Elite In Mind

BY PAUL GALLANT, SportsRadio 610
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(credit: Paul Gallant)

(credit: Paul Gallant)

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With the NFL Draft just days away, Texans general manager Rick Smith addressed the media Tuesday.

And? Pretty much said nothing we didn’t already know.

He stressed the importance of building a draft board based on value as opposed to need. He also said his draft board has already been finalized. And he emphasized how essential it is to remain disciplined to that strategy on draft day.

“When you set your board, you set your board according to value and where you see it, player’s abilities and capabilities to perform,” said Smith. “I think if you go into the situation trying to rank and value your players based on need, I think that just opens you up for the potential of making mistakes.”

Still, you can’t completely throw need out the window. Especially seeing as the Texans offense seriously needed some other play-makers down the stretch. Or anyone who could get to Tom Brady during their 41-28 season ending defeat in January. Couldn’t a couple of rookies who fit that bill push the Texans to the next level next season?

“I don’t know if any team is quote en quote ‘one player away’,” said Smith. “My job is to be forward thinking and I’ve got a big-picture view of not only next year, but the year after and the year after. I’ve got to manage the salary cap that way. I’ve got to manage the roster that way. And that’s what we try to do. So you try to just exercise that discipline and not get caught up in that type of scenario because I’ve got a broader view.”

That’s a fair approach. But this Texans squad may have a limited window, especially with the dawn of the Andrew Luck era in Indianapolis. What happens if Gary Kubiak and Matt Schaub falter in the divisional round for the third straight season? Or worse?

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. Heads could potentially roll if the Texans go another year without breaking down the door. If that happens to either of those aforementioned and oft-criticized two, the team will definitely take a step back. At least in the short term. It’s time to strike while the iron is hot.

I have no problem with Rick Smith’s draft strategy, or with forward thinking. He’s had a good draft record over the last few years – with the exception being at defensive back (We haven’t seen many good things out of Brandon Harris, Roc Carmichael, and Shiloh Keo). Drafting the best available player has seemed to work out fine.

Still, football is a game of chess. And to beat your opposition, you need to repair your weaknesses – and attack those of your enemy – as quickly as possible. After self-evaluating themselves, you’d assume the Texans’ know their problems very well. But adding immediate impact talent at a few positions could put them in good position against the AFC’s elite.

Baltimore may be the defending champs, but their off-season mass exodus has them trending downwards. Beating the Colts and winning the AFC South is priority one. Finding a way to beat the Patriots and Broncos is the next step.

Interestingly enough, those three teams are quite similar. All three have talented quarterbacks (Luck, Brady, Peyton Manning). And they have pathetic secondaries. Bolstering the pass rush and passing attack in the first three rounds could do wonders in 2013. Outside linebackers. Defensive linemen. Receivers. Tight Ends. Check, check, check and check.

I asked Smith if looking to attack the weaknesses of rival teams was part of the Texans draft strategy.

“It ought to in the sense that as you build your football team, if you want to achieve the goals that we’ve set for ourselves and win a championship, that the first way to do that is through your division,” said Smith. “You look at those teams and you see how you match up against those teams and how you play well against them.”

It sounds like it is. But actions speak louder than words. We’ll see on Thursday.

Get in contact with Paul Gallant on Twitter – @PaulyGRadio – or on Facebook – Paul Gallant: SportsRadio 610.

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