10 potential GM candidates for the Redskins if they part with Bruce Allen
In 2006, the Houston Texans needed a change of pace. After four years in the NFL, the team was 18-46. Things simply weren’t working under Dom Capers’ staff and it was time to make a change.
Enter Rick Smith. The team hired him as the GM and kept him in charge for over a decade. And in his role, Smith was able to deliver some playoff appearances for the Texans.
When Smith arrived in Houston, the team was not in great shape. Their former No. 1 overall pick, David Carr, was struggling at quarterback because he took so many hits. They lacked talent on both sides of the ball, and were a bottom-five defense and offense. Smith was tasked with helping to fix that.
His first move to do that was to bring Gary Kubiak to the squad. Kubiak helped to solidify the head coach position and gave the Texans much-needed stability. Kubiak’s presence afforded Smith the opportunity to build up the roster, and that’s exactly what he did.
In the 2006 NFL Draft, many assumed that the Texans would take RB Reggie Bush first overall. Smith, however, saw an opportunity to take NC State defensive end Mario Williams, a top-tier pass rushing prospect. Adding Williams helped the team on defense and gave them a key building block. Bush would go on to have a solid NFL career, but he never lived up to his draft slot.
In 2007, Smith made a move that helped to continue to build the offense. He traded a couple of second-round picks to acquire the services of Matt Schaub. Schaub would help replace Carr and stabilize the team’s offense. And from there, the Texans became a wild card contender.
Over the years, Smith made many other wise choices. He was instrumental in building the defense up with guys like J.J. Watt, DeMeco Ryans, Brian Cushing, Connor Barwin, Whitney Mercilus, and Kareem Jackson being selected under his watch. Additionally, his decision to draft Duane Brown solidified the left tackle position for a decade while Deshaun Watson ended up being a perfect remedy for the team after the ill-fated signing of Brock Osweiler. As a result of these solid drafts, the Texans eventually became a playoff team and a contender in the AFC South.
Smith was eventually ousted by Bill O’Brien’s regime, as the team’s head coach clashed with Smith. He elected to take “a leave of absence” as his wife battled breast cancer and that has extended a couple of years, but perhaps the opportunity to remake another team could lure him out of his pseudo-retirement.
Smith is a very strong candidate who had longevity in Houston and turned the team into a contender with the right moves. He could do the same for the Redskins, especially if his evaluation skills are still solid and he can continue to hire the right coaches.