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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Mark Lane

Texans looking for ‘smart, dependable’ players in the draft

James Liipfert is working with his third different coach in as many seasons as assistant director of player personnel and college scouting director.

What Liipfert has noticed about new Houston Texans coach DeMeco Ryans is that there isn’t much nuance when it comes to the type of player that he wants to add in the 2023 NFL draft.

“I think it’s a pretty straight forward approach,” said Liipfert. “He wants his type of people that play a certain brand of ball, whether offense, defense, or special teams. From what I can gather from him through these first couple of months, he’s particular about the type of person. He’s particular about the way they play.”

According to Liipfert, the process that Ryans has laid out for the personnel staff is not that labyrinthine.

“We want a Houston Texan to play a certain way moving forward,” Liipfert said. “I don’t think it’s a particularly complicated player or process that he’s trying to put us through. ‘Give me guys that play their behinds off, they’re good people, and let’s go from there.’ I think that’s a good place to start for any player, any team.”

As Liipfert and his staff work through the game tape and timing numbers from workouts, including the NFL combine, pro days, and all-star games, two traits have to resonate for all prospects.

Said Liipfert: “It’s on me and on my staff to find the best ones that fall under those two buckets, smart, dependable, all the other things that we value.”

As with the entire operation inside NRG Stadium, the presence of Ryans, who was a Pro Bowl linebacker for the Texans from 2006-11, has infused energy.

“With DeMeco, I can’t say enough good things,” Liipfert said. “I’m so fired up. He’s been great to work with. Combine, he was excellent. I think our players are really going to enjoy playing for him, so, I’m very excited.”

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