Originally posted on Fox Sports Houston  |  Last updated 4/24/12
Like most NFL General Managers, the Texans' Rick Smith was coy about the team's intentions for the 2012 draft which begins Thursday night. And Smith said despite the Texans' obvious needs at wide receiver and along the offensive line, Smith and his staff do not vary from creating a board based solely on the value of players. "You really gotta believe me when I tell you this," said Smith. "We don't stack the board based on need. The fact that we had transactions (prior to the draft) really has nothing to do with the board." If the Texans chose to pick an offensive player in the first round, Georgia Tech receiver Stephen Hill is a possibility and if it's a defensive player, Whitney Mercilus of Illinois is a possibility. Mercilus, 6-4, 261, is a linebacker who led the nation in sacks and forced fumbles last year. While Smith didn't tip his hand in terms of how the Texans value specific players, he did say Wade Phillips' scheme can always use linebackers. "One thing about this defense is you need linebackers," said Smith. "You need depth at linebacker. You need as many guys as you can find that can rush the passer that are athletic. It helps you on special teams. We'll continue to find players that fit that system." The Texans have selected a defensive player in the first round in the past three drafts and in seven of the past eight drafts. Despite all those selections going to the defensive side of the ball, Smith would not rule out taking another defensive player in 2012. "It's this year's draft and we rank it the way this year is," said Smith. "If you're influenced by anything that you've done in the past I think you might make a mistake." Smith does have a philosophy that the first three picks should make an immediate impact. "I think you ought to look for starters with your first three picks," he said. "Your first round pick should be a guy that can come in and impact your team immediately. But when you talk about the second and third rounds, those are guys that you think are really good football players and you should expect that they come in and play at some point in their development." In addition to discussing the draft, Smith said he continues to talk with the agent for free agent kicker Neil Rackers. "We're going to look to put the best kicker on our football team," Smith said. "If that's a young guy, if it's Neil, if it's another veteran, then that's what we'll do. But we are very interested in bringing Neil back and talking to Neil and his representative." Rackers visited with the Redskins this week.
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