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Smith knows the team will be under close scrutiny to make the right calls on Thursday, too.

“We did fall short of our goals last year,” Smith said, “and we’re that much more committed to making sure that as we put this team together for the 2011 season, that we get as strong a group of players together as we can, so that we don’t fall short again.”

The Texans have twice traded first-round picks on draft day (in 2005 and ‘08). Last year, Houston traded several picks on draft day and ended up acquiring running back Ben Tate, linebacker Darryl Sharpton and cornerback Sherrick McManis.

Smith wouldn’t rule out making more deals this year.

“We go into the draft with the intent of improving our team as best we can,” Smith said. “Whether that’s just picking the player that fills a spot for a need we have, or making a trade that might enhance our ability to get a better player, or increase our number of players, we’re going to be open to it.”