|The Texans’ second-round draft pick, defensive end Connor Barwin, will be heading to Houston for a press conference at the team’s facilities on Sunday. But on Saturday night, he shared his rookie reaction in this exclusive interview with Scout.com Senior NFL Analyst Ed Thompson.
Ed Thompson: Congratulations on being selected by the Houston Texans in the second round of this year’s draft. Tell me what happened at that moment when the phone rang.
Connor Barwin: I was really surprised. I thought I was going to get picked earlier in the draft, so I was sitting there looking at who was up to pick. There was Houston, then a couple of teams and Chicago. We were thinking that Chicago was where the pick was going to be, because we had talked to (Bears GM) Jerry Angelo and really hadn’t heard much from Houston since the Combine. So I was just really surprised when they called.
Thompson: I saw on your Twitter feed that you were also a little surprised that Cincinnati had passed on you just a few picks earlier. I know you had a good workout with them.
Barwin: Yeah, their Director of Operations, Jim Lippincott, had told me that if I was there at 38, they were probably going to take me. But’s that’s all good, I’m so excited to be going down to Texas to rush the passer. I was just surprised that Cincinnati didn’t pull the card at 38.
Thompson: So when you got the call, who was on the call with you and what did they say?
Barwin: It was their GM, and he was talking, but I couldn’t really hear anything because my family was screaming and ESPN had a plug in my ear. It was the GM, then the head coach and the D-Line coach. They were all congratulating me and telling me that they were very excited, and that I would be down there tomorrow morning for a press conference.
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Thompson: The Texans now have a lot of young talent in their front seven with guys likeMario Williams, DeMeco Ryans, Amobi Okoye and now you and Brian Cushing being added to the mix through this draft. That’s going to be a tough group for teams to make some headway against.
Barwin: Yeah, I’m excited. It’ll be good to go in there and play with great players and people I can learn from. I think we’re going to be a unit who plays fast all the time and gets after people.
Thompson: Did Houston give you an idea of where they see you fitting into their defense?
Barwin: They want me to play defensive end to start. I’ll play behind Mario Williams and I’ll rush the passer.
Thompson: Have you been to Texas very often?
Barwin: I have never been to Texas, so this will be a new experience for me. But they’re bringing down my three brothers and my parents, so it’ll be fun to have everybody down there tomorrow.
Thompson: Anything else you want to pass on to the fans who have been following you during this journey?
Barwin: Just thank you to everybody in Cincinnati for all the love that I’ve gotten these last four years and over the last few months. Everybody in Cincinnati has been great. I had a great career here, I’m going to miss it. But now I’m excited to be in Houston. I’m excited to play professional football, and I’m going to do everything I can to help Houston be a better football team.
Thompson: One last question. Has it sunk in yet that one of the guys that you’ll be pass rushing twice a year is Peyton Manning?
Barwin: (laughs) No, that hasn’t sunk in yet. But I can’t wait until I sack Peyton Manning. That’s going to be a hell of a lot of fun.