Nick Caserio leaning on coaching staff, hoping to play to Texans’ strengths

Feb 2, 2023; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans head coach Demeco Ryans (center) holds a jersey while posing for a photo with owner Cal McNair (left) and general manager Nick Caserio (right) during the introductory press conference at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Caserio leaning on coaching staff, hoping to play to Texans’ strengths

The Houston Texans general manager acknowledged that “the honeymoon period is over” after the hiring of DeMeco Ryans and that the team has “some work to do” to prepare for the upcoming draft.

Speaking as the NFL Combine gets underway, Houston Texans general manager Nick Caserio addressed the team’s plans for the draft, free agency, and more.

Regarding his and the team’s plans for the quarterback position, Caserio did not give a straight answer.

“We’ve had DeMeco (Ryans) and his staff to have an opportunity to look at our team. We know we’re going to add to this (quarterback) position. We have one player on the roster currently. I would say it’s probably going to be a combination of the Draft, two free agency. It could be two, however it goes. We’re going to look at whatever resources we have available to us, try to make the right decision.”

With it being a foregone conclusion the Texans will take a quarterback at No. 2 overall, the likelihood of the team signing a free agent veteran quarterback to help in the development of their young quarterback seems high. It would also make sense that Davis Mills will be traded, as he is not seeking to be made a backup in Houston. He most likely won’t have that say in his next stop either, where he will likely be in a similar role or at best in an open competition.

Caserio also addressed the manner in which size and weight matter when evaluating draft picks, both of which have been common topics of discussion around the top two quarterbacks available.

“In the end, you have to decide what’s important, what do you prioritize. I’m not going to tell you what that is. But what’s important to you and how you build a team. When you look at Philly did, I mean, there’s a good example of how Shane (Steichen) and Nick (Sirianni) built their team and built an offense around what quarterback Jalen (Hurts) did well.”

While you may initially think that Caserio did a terrific Patches O’Houlihan job on this question (dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge), what he is saying is that they will build the offense to suit the needs of the quarterback they take at No. 2. Whether that’s Young or Stroud, the plan is to make the most of what that quarterback does best. The Texans’ previous head coach, Lovie Smith, seemed incapable of doing that.

As far as how the team attacks the draft, in terms of focusing on team needs as opposed targeting the best player available, Caserio made it very clear what his philosophy is.

“It’s not necessarily team needs. It’s more player-specific or player-driven. I think a lot of teams have had success in rounds five through seven, and then post-Draft free agency. So, the same process you use with your early round picks you apply to the end of the Draft as well. I would say we probably allocate as much time and resources to the players at the later end of the Draft than we do at the front end. If you can’t figure out the players in the front end, we have bigger problems, right? We’re not a round-based team. We’re kind of numerically-based where we grade a player for their role, so there’s a role commensurate with their value.”

The Texans create their own draft tiering system by position or proposed role, and use that to determine best available talent, particularly later in the draft and in looking for undrafted free agents to sign.

While so much attention is applied to what the team may do in round one offensively, the team is not ignoring the defensive side of the ball.

“I think there’s a lot of good defensive players that are available in this Draft like there is most years. I think that’s an area or position we’re going to look at. The way DeMeco (Ryans) plays defense, the way that Matt (Burke) and DeMeco want to play defense, do we have the players that fit that style? If we don’t have the players, where are they? Are they in free agency? They have certain traits and characteristics. Let’s go try to find some of them.”

Caserio also expressed that he is not overly concerned about whether or not the Chicago Bears trade down from the top overall spot in the draft.

“I think we’re focused on the Texans. We’re not necessarily worried about what other teams around us are doing. You’re cognizant of that, but ultimately you have to be prepared to pick wherever you’re going to pick. Then, be prepared to pick whatever player. I’d say most teams, not to generalize here, but most teams wherever they pick you probably have three or four guys that you would feel comfortable taking.”

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