Friday, May 16, 2014
Texans rookies trying to fall in line
By Tania Ganguli
"When the rookies get here, they just get in line, keep their mouths shut and follow the lead," Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien said two days before the draft.
Then the Texans made some marquee draft picks, taking the most talented player in the draft, the best guard in the draft and a defensive tackle in the third round who some thought could go late-first and on whom the Texans had a second-round grade.
How did they all feel, coming into their first rookie camp, playing with undrafted rookies and tryout players?
Just like their coach expected them to feel.
"We’re behind," said Jadeveon Clowney, the first overall pick in last week's draft. "We came in behind and the other guys got the upper hand on us, so really we have to learn the playbook. ... Keep your mouth shut and learn. We don’t know what we think we know, basically. We got a lot of vets. Hats off to them guys, they’ve been there. We have to learn from them and take it all in."
The rookies were squashed into the middle of the locker room, occupying temporary blue metal lockers away from the walls where veterans get to be. Some, like fourth-round quarterback Tom Savage, have to share a locker.
It's a reminder that they have to earn their way onto the team. They will start that process in a few minutes during their first practice of rookie minicamp.
Defensive tackle Louis Nix III won't even say it's set in stone that he's been drafted onto an NFL team yet.
"I mean, not yet because I’m still in the transition stage," Nix said. "We got these bad lockers. Once I get on this wall and get a chance to actually play, if I get a chance to play, then it’ll be surreal."