For the third consecutive year, HoustonTexans.com did exclusive 1-on-1 interviews with key figures in the Texans’ NFL draft process for our “Draft Pass” video series.
In the fourth and final segment, Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips spoke with Drew Dougherty of Texans TV on Thursday night of the draft after the Texans selected defensive end J.J. Watt in the first round.
Drew Dougherty: “This is a pretty exciting night for you. Talk about the first reaction when you guys got to turn in that card (for Watt).”
Wade Phillips: “I think ‘yes’ was the first reaction. But no, we were all excited about it. Everybody says in the draft, you know, ‘We can’t believe the guy was there’ and all that stuff, but we were looking for a real good football player that played tremendously hard, and this guy is that.”
DD: “Yeah, he’s got a lot of great effort. But you talked about he’s a really disruptive force on defense.”
WP: “Oh, yeah. He forced more fumbles than anybody they had on their team. He had more sacks. He had more hurries. He had more blocked kicks. Second-leading tackler on their team, and he knocked down I don’t know how many passes. So the guy is a real productive player.”
DD: “Initially, what sort of role do you think J.J. Watt can have on this defense in 2011 and beyond?”
WP: “Well, defensive line is what he plays. He’ll play at defensive end. He can be kicked down inside some on your third-down rush if you need him to. But he’s also a good pass rusher on the outside.”
DD: “How soon did you guys have him targeted? Was it January or even before then?”
WP: “I think the process takes a while to evaluate all of them, put them in the right order. I was really impressed with – Rick Smith and his staff really did a great job of that, and it was pretty easy to say, ‘Hey, this guy’s here and this guy’s there.’”
DD: “How refreshing was this whole process for you compared to other drafts in your career?”
WP: “Well, everybody has their own opinions in any draft that you go through, but I just think the organization, the way they organize it and the way we discussed each player, was really helpful in making a good pick.”
DD: “Take us down to the war room when the pick was actually made. Aside from you saying ‘yes,’ what was the rest of the reaction there from the rest of the scouts?”
WP: “Same way. I think everybody, well I know everybody, was excited. I said it was an organizational pick because everybody was behind it.”
DD: “How impactful will Watt be on the rest of the guys on the defensive line, and what sort of maneuvering do you think it allows you to do with guys like and Mario Williams?”
WP: “Yeah, you can move those guys around some, which I think will really help. Because the more you move people around and give them matchups, that’s what you want. And so we’ll be able to do that, and I think especially with Mario.”