Will the Texans rely on Lovie Smith’s past college coaching experience for 2021 NFL draft?

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Mark Lane
·2 min read
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The Houston Texans don’t have a first or second-round pick in the 2021 NFL draft. As such, the team will have to overturn every stone on mid to bottom tier players in order to maximize their value at every pick, starting with No. 67 overall in Round 3.

One asset the Texans’ college scouting department has is a former college coach on the coaching staff in defensive coordinator Lovie Smith. From 2016-20, Smith was the head football coach for the University of Illinois, and was able to at least see Big Ten players up close for five seasons.

“There’s great football there throughout, and four or five years in college football, I do know a lot of the players,” Smith told John Harris on “Texans TV” published April 13. “It’s pretty neat really. A lot of the guys I’m evaluating now, some of my own players and a lot of guys that I coached, even through free agency.”

One example that Smith used was of newly signed cornerback Desmond King. Smith was able to see at least one season out of King when he was a cornerback for the Iowa Hawkeyes in 2016. However, now that Smith has caught back up with King in 2021 with the Texans, he is able to see how he developed as an NFL defensive back playing with the Los Angeles Chargers from 2017-20 and then nine games with the Tennessee Titans in 2020.

“I remember all these guys I coached against,” said Smith. “I knew them then. And now I see also how they’ve developed as an NFL player. I think that helps me an awful lot, too. But that is neat to be in a situation where I do have some insight.

“You always trying to get insight on players, and I feel like, not just me, but there’s some others on our staff coming from the college game can help with that.”

The Texans may need to rely on this insight, especially if they are unable to acquire more picks in the top-100 for April’s draft.