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Old 04-04-2011   #1
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Default Rick Smith on his draft preparation

http://www.houstontexans.com/news/ar...2-36e90d8c48fd

Largely, a fluff piece with nothing earth shattering. The only I will pull out is his philosophy about player visits and drafting for need/bpa



Each NFL team can invite up to 30 players to their respective facilities for pre-draft visits. The Texans are looking for the same things in those visits that they were looking for at the Combine.

You’re either checking something out medically or you are just wanting to spend a little bit more time and get a little bit better feel,” Smith said. “If you don’t think you’ve got a good feel on a particular player, then you bring him in and spend a little more time. It’s just, at that point, to validate something that you think you already know, or to clear up any kind of medical issues.”


Smith reiterated on Wednesday that it hasn’t affected how the Texans have set their draft board, and it won’t affect their strategy on draft weekend.

We’ve said for years that you don’t draft for need,” he said. “If you get a need position in the draft, then that’s great. I think that it is a little odd and it’s backwards that typically you’ve filled your team, at least some of the positions of need, via free agency. But this year being a little bit different, it doesn’t change our approach with respect to how we approach the draft and filling the needs on our team.
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Old 04-04-2011   #2
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Default Re: Rick Smith on his draft preparation

That answers alot of questions for me. Thanks.
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Old 04-04-2011   #3
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Default Re: Rick Smith on his draft preparation

I read an article from a former Bears scout talking about the draft process and the amount of disinformation at this point in the process. He said he would vary it up every year. Some years he would only bring in guys they were interested in. Some years he would only bring in guys they weren't interested in. Some years he would only bring in guys, as Smith suggests, they had incomplete information on.

If he was asked about specific players, he would only make positive comments on guys he didn't like and no comment on guys he did like. If asked about a medical concern, it was always a medical concern. If asked about a player's draft projection, the player was always projected a round later.

He also made it a point that this is the way of "experienced guys" and emphasized the importance of having experienced guys in the draft process. So, I don't know how much Smith adheres to this philosophy, but I don't know that I'd take much of it with more than a grain of salt.
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Old 04-04-2011   #4
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Default Re: Rick Smith on his draft preparation

It's downright insulting for the Texans GM to tell us they don't draft for need, when everybody who knows anything about the Texans knows that atleast 2 of their top picks since Smith has been here, Duane Brown and Kareem Jackson, were based much more on need than what the available talent was on the Board when the Texans picked in the first round in each of those 2 Drafts.
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Old 04-04-2011   #5
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Default Re: Rick Smith on his draft preparation

Maybe I'm not following, but doesn't "We’ve said for years that you don’t draft for need" counter the "we build through the draft" statements heard in the past? When building a team, don't you work on areas to improve / needs?
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Old 04-04-2011   #6
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Default Re: Rick Smith on his draft preparation

I don't know the last time I heard a GM or scout or coach not say we draft BPA or mostly use tape as our evalution. In terms of strategy, he has to at least leave the door open for some odd draft pick or so that teams with needs at the same position don't just jump in front of them.
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Old 04-04-2011   #7
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Default Re: Rick Smith on his draft preparation

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Originally Posted by OzzO View Post
Maybe I'm not following, but doesn't "We’ve said for years that you don’t draft for need" counter the "we build through the draft" statements heard in the past? When building a team, don't you work on areas to improve / needs?
Actually, the BPA pure theory says, it is the secondary concern. This has some age to it, but does a good job of getting at BPA theory and kinda why we fans think "wrongly" about how a team approaches stuff.



http://www.gbnreport.com/drafttheories.htm
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Old 04-04-2011   #8
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Default Re: Rick Smith on his draft preparation

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Originally Posted by IDEXAN View Post
It's downright insulting for the Texans GM to tell us they don't draft for need, when everybody who knows anything about the Texans knows that atleast 2 of their top picks since Smith has been here, Duane Brown and Kareem Jackson, were based much more on need than what the available talent was on the Board when the Texans picked in the first round in each of those 2 Drafts.
BPA and need drafting are not necessarily mutually exclusive. I know this is just beating a dead horse around here, but the fact is that different people evaluate players differently. The Texans big board might actually rate a LT at a bit of a premium due to the need, so they push him up the board before the draft, which makes him the BPA at the time. They might consider things like the scheme he played in college (see every CSU player drafted), and give him extra points for that. So while others may see a guy like Brown with raw talent scored as an 89 overall, his prior knowledge and experience of a similar scheme may bump him up to a 92 on the Texans board.

I think that's why they went with Jackson last year and we heard all about the 'most NFL ready corner', because they put a premium on that in evaluating him. So according to their board they went "BPA", while filling a need, but in reality they are drafting based on needs due to the way they evaluate players - if that is in fact how their evaluation process works...
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Old 04-04-2011   #9
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Default Re: Rick Smith on his draft preparation

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Originally Posted by ArlingtonTexan View Post
Actually, the BPA pure theory says, it is the secondary concern. This has some age to it, but does a good job of getting at BPA theory and kinda why we fans think "wrongly" about how a team approaches stuff.

http://www.gbnreport.com/drafttheories.htm
I'm glad you posted this. I remember reading this when I first starting getting into the draft, and it's something that I've always agreed with.

As fans, we're so fixated on filling weaknesses and trying to find quick fixes that it's easy to lose sight of the big picture and that is building the best possible team.

I love the example they use in the BPA description and that is taking the WR. Another reason why I like Julio Jones and would completely support his selection over most other players, including an OLB that's rated lower than him (even though OLB is a bigger need).

I also really believe in the 'build from strength' idea... a reason why I think a JJ Watt or Cameron Jordan could be a very solid selection. If we can build a Super Unit along the DL, it causes such a ripple effect that only helps the rest of the team. We can't just have one elite player that a team focuses on but a Unit that forces the opposing team to game plan around. Having a TE constantly in to help block, or a RB in to block, etc.... that helps our LBs in coverage situations (1 less player to cover) as well as our secondary.
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Old 04-04-2011   #10
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Default Re: Rick Smith on his draft preparation

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Originally Posted by IDEXAN View Post
It's downright insulting for the Texans GM to tell us they don't draft for need, when everybody who knows anything about the Texans knows that atleast 2 of their top picks since Smith has been here, Duane Brown and Kareem Jackson, were based much more on need than what the available talent was on the Board when the Texans picked in the first round in each of those 2 Drafts.
Maybe they think their fanbase is rather....uhm....slow?

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BPA and need drafting are not necessarily mutually exclusive. I know this is just beating a dead horse around here, but the fact is that different people evaluate players differently. The Texans big board might actually rate a LT at a bit of a premium due to the need, so they push him up the board before the draft, which makes him the BPA at the time. They might consider things like the scheme he played in college (see every CSU player drafted), and give him extra points for that. So while others may see a guy like Brown with raw talent scored as an 89 overall, his prior knowledge and experience of a similar scheme may bump him up to a 92 on the Texans board.

I think that's why they went with Jackson last year and we heard all about the 'most NFL ready corner', because they put a premium on that in evaluating him. So according to their board they went "BPA", while filling a need, but in reality they are drafting based on needs due to the way they evaluate players - if that is in fact how their evaluation process works...
To me, that's simply "justifying" a NEED move by moving guys up more slots than they deserve. I'm NOT buying that the Texans don't draft for need...and I expect more of the same this year. In the Texans current state-of-affairs (and our sorry FA results), drafting for need is actually the right thing to do.
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Old 04-04-2011   #11
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Default Re: Rick Smith on his draft preparation

Couple of blogs/articles on BPA and draft theories

http://dallascowboystimes.com/2011/0...-draft-a-myth/

http://www.bloggingtheboys.com/2011/...-1-bpa-vs-need
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Old 04-04-2011   #12
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Default Re: Rick Smith on his draft preparation

If they've been using the draft BPA strategy (which I don't believe), then they need to start using the draft for need strategy because what they've been doing hasn't been working.
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Old 04-04-2011   #13
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Default Re: Rick Smith on his draft preparation

I said something similar in another thread, but I think that the Texans draft the "best player who fits a need" in the early part of the draft (I estimate through round 3). Once 4th round or so hits, that when the picks look more like pure BPA (insert your own TE, CBs who can't play or Colorado State joke).
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Old 04-04-2011   #14
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Default Re: Rick Smith on his draft preparation

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Originally Posted by disaacks3 View Post

To me, that's simply "justifying" a NEED move by moving guys up more slots than they deserve. I'm NOT buying that the Texans don't draft for need...and I expect more of the same this year. In the Texans current state-of-affairs (and our sorry FA results), drafting for need is actually the right thing to do.
Oh, I'm not justifying it, I'm just speculating on how Rick can claim BPA drafting given his track record. We never actually see the big board they use, so it's nearly impossible to contend that they do or don't generally draft BPA.

My point is that evaluations are generally subjective, and there are all sorts of ways to move players up and down your board. A mid-round guard that looks great on paper, but may not do well in run-blocking for a ZBS, might get a lower grade than a guy like Shelley Smith, who has the experience. So really, if a GM says they are drafting on BPA, I believe them to an extent - in the same way I believe Rick Perry when he says he lowered property taxes while in office, but neglects the concerted effort to increase appraisal values across the board.
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Old 04-04-2011   #15
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Default Re: Rick Smith on his draft preparation

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Originally Posted by Ole Miss Texan View Post
I also really believe in the 'build from strength' idea... a reason why I think a JJ Watt or Cameron Jordan could be a very solid selection. If we can build a Super Unit along the DL, it causes such a ripple effect that only helps the rest of the team. We can't just have one elite player that a team focuses on but a Unit that forces the opposing team to game plan around. Having a TE constantly in to help block, or a RB in to block, etc.... that helps our LBs in coverage situations (1 less player to cover) as well as our secondary.

I'm of the opinion that CB, OLB or NT should be our 1st round pick. I'm a firm believer that you select the BPA for a position of need. If #11 is too high to select someone like Phil Taylor, then you trade down to the pick he's worthy of. As for getting equal value for the #11 pick, I've always had an issue with adhering to the point value chart for draft picks. For instance, do you have to get 3000 points for the #1 overall pick if you're able to trade down to #15, get the player you truely want & pick up an extra 2nd or 3rd round pick in the process? I don't think so.

However, your argument is one of the few I've read that makes sense. I like JJ Watt & wouldn't be disappointed if we drafted him at #11. If we're able to get a solid NT like Powe or Ellis in a later round then the line won't have a gaping hole in the middle of it & these stud DE's should be well rested & able to constantly put all kinds of pressure on the offense. That alone would improve our secondary by robbing the opposing offense of 2-3 seconds to make a play. That would be huge. You've made a great point.

As for WR, I can't see any possible argument that would justify the Texans taking a WR with the #11 pick in this year's draft, no matter how good he might be. Our offense has been the #3 offense in the NFL for the last 2 years & has finally gotten a running game that they can count on. The offense doesn't need an impact player as desperately as the defense does.
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Old 04-04-2011   #16
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Default Re: Rick Smith on his draft preparation

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As for WR, I can't see any possible argument that would justify the Texans taking a WR with the #11 pick in this year's draft, no matter how good he might be. Our offense has been the #3 offense in the NFL for the last 2 years & has finally gotten a running game that they can count on. The offense doesn't need an impact player as desperately as the defense does.
I don't think WR is an area of particular need but I do think it could be upgraded and not be considered a luxury. I'd definitely prefer we go defense early and often and I don't look to target a WR in the first few rounds UNLESS it's Julio Jones. I really think highly of him and think he fits exactly what we want in a WR. This is a perfect example of BPA vs. Need, IMO. Say I have him rated a 9 and the best OLB is an 8.

Although our offense has been excellent at moving the ball, we could definitely stand to score more. We've been 3rd or 4th best in the league in yards per game. But the past 2 seasons hovered around 10 overall in scoring at 24 pts. Elite offenses score closer to 30 a game. I don't think we'll truly be elite until we can score "at will" and a Julio/Andre combo with Daniels over the middle and the threat of Foster breaking 200 yard games would take us close to 30pts a game and be truly elite.

Then add in some defensive picks by Wade in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th that could all potentially impact... a veteran FA once free agency opens up, proper coaching by one of the best in the business and our defense, at worst, becomes "respectable" and isn't the leagues 29th worst in pts/game.

I think Julio might be a combination of the "Best Player Available" and "Draft to Strength" drafting mentality. If even available, I'd suspect he'd be the highest rated on my board and, if selected, would create a ton of opportunities for our offense to create mismatches. Defense would have to stay spread out in coverage to deal with Andre, Julio, Walter, Daniels. Could open up even more lanes for Foster.

For the record, I'm not against the BPA method at an area of need at all. I think Duane Brown is a perfect example there and I do like that pick. Like you said, if we could trade down, gain another selection or two and still pick up our targeted player... that would be excellent value.
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Old 04-04-2011   #17
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Default Re: Rick Smith on his draft preparation

I really don't why the Texans (and teams in general) just don't say something like, "we're going to draft the player(s) that help our team the most at this time", instead of coming up with this baloney about we have a philosophy of taking the BPA ? It's almost like it's a PC-type response ?
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Old 04-04-2011   #18
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Default Re: Rick Smith on his draft preparation

I am of the opinion that if I have information that a player has better stats than the guy you were targeting and he is still on the board then you draft that guy unless you feel you have a good enough to coach up the player who might just need a little extra help.
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Old 04-04-2011   #19
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Default Re: Rick Smith on his draft preparation

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Originally Posted by IDEXAN View Post
I really don't why the Texans (and teams in general) just don't say something like, "we're going to draft the player(s) that help our team the most at this time", instead of coming up with this baloney about we have a philosophy of taking the BPA ? It's almost like it's a PC-type response ?

Well, the next questions will be

"How does the team determine which player will help more?" (We will take the one we think is better).

"What if there are have players at two positions that you like, how does the figure out which one to pick?" (We will take the one we think is better).


In a lot of ways, it is easier to tell the lie that everybody is familair. No extra explaining is needed and asker just moves on to the next question.

BTW, you are right to judge Rick Smith's actual philosophy by his drafting actions, since every NFL team takes BPA (let them tell it).
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It doesn't just seem like I was talking down to people, I was. (Runner 8/4/09).
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Old 04-04-2011   #20
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Default Re: Rick Smith on his draft preparation

The problem with drafting the BPA is that you can go for years without addressing your "need" positions. Never have understood that phiosophy. If for example you go into the draft needing a RB, CB and OT then for crying out loud draft the best one available when it's your turn to pick! Don't pick a LB cause he's the BPA when you're stacked at that position!
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