INDIANAPOLIS -- Observed and heard at the NFL combine on Friday:
J.J. Watt serves as a role model: Friday afternoon, Texans' defensive end J.J. Watt tweeted these three words: "High motor guy." He didn't explain it, but that designation is one he's talked about in the past with some annoyance, as if Watt's "motor" is all there is to him. Obviously, the two-time defensive player of the year, who garnered 13 overall MVP votes this season, was much more than that. He'd be pleased to know that one of the most talented defensive linemen at the combine looks to his game for ideas. Southern Cal defensive end Leonard Williams watches a lot of Watt. "He’s very versatile, like I see myself," Williams said. "When I see the film, I see how the coaches try to make mismatches, like they do for him, at USC. I try to pattern myself after a lot of things he does." It's a lofty and worthy pursuit.
What of Kendrick Lewis and Brooks Reed: We've talked a lot about Kareem Jackson, who is a high priority for the Texans defensively. The Texans have four other players who started last season set to hit the market. Two of the most prominent are outside linebacker Reed and safety Lewis. Lewis had an outstanding season for the Texans, playing on a one-year deal. He's not a guy the Texans will rush to sign, but one they'd love to have back at the right price. The Texans have had meetings or set meetings with many of their pending free agents, but haven't started negotiations with Reed. The clock is ticking, and their pause might mean Reed hits the market, which would increase the chances the Texans lose him. General manager Rick Smith made it clear yesterday that just because a player gets to free agency, that doesn't mean the Texans don't want him back. Tight end Garrett Graham is an example of that. He re-signed with the Texans last March 13.
Not lacking for confidence: Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston opened his Friday news conference by acknowledging his mistakes, but then had a couple of exceedingly confident lines. He said he wants to win the Super Bowl next year. He also said, "A lot of people thought I was fat, but I look good and I know it!" Winston's demeanor stood in stark opposition to the more subdued Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. While the soft-spoken Mariota chose humility, Winston was exuberant. They're both qualities that can work in a quarterback, and how they fit on a team depends on the makeup of that team and its coach. These players both should be well out of the Texans reach, but they provide an interesting contrast.