Versatility Counts for Something
Time to compliment the complementary players. In a draft believed
by some experts to be a bit subpar to the overall talent of recent
draft classes, the Texans still found a way to address their needs
on both sides of the ball. Well, all but one at least, as needed
depth at running back was ignored. Otherwise, the 2009 NFL Draft
for the Texans could be capsulized by the versatility of many of
the first round, the Texans declined offers to move down and selected
outside linebacker Brian Cushing with the 15th pick. The first of
three Southern Cal linebackers selected on the draft's first day,
Cushing adds a slobberknocking attitude to a Texans defense in need
of some toughness.
up to the draft (and really since his time in high school), Cushing
has been a target for steroid rumors. None of those rumors have
stuck, leaving Cushing's profile as being a very health-conscious
weight room devotee, one who has his menus catered daily by a personal
nutritionist. He has the skillset necessary to stay on the field
all three downs, and his intensity both on and off the field will
demonstrate the sort of work ethic coaches admire.
Texans bolstered their pass rush in the second round, selecting
Cincinnati defensive end Connor Barwin with the 46th overall pick.
Projected to be a situational rusher at right end, Barwin's versatilty
caught the eye of the Texans. A former tight end, Barwin has the
athleticism (4.59 speed and a 40.5" vertical) to move all over
the field for the defense.
off the festivities on Sunday, the team turned to the offense and
chose Alabama center Antoine Caldwll in the third round. Caldwell
continues the theme of versatility, having played all but left tackle
on the offensive line. His value to the Texans will come when he
tutors at both the center and guard positions early in his NFL career.
two picks in the fourth round, the Texans selected cornerback Glover
Quin of New Mexico and tight end Anthony Hill of N.C. State. Though
he will start the offseason as a corner, many scouts were believed
to have interest in Glover as a possible free safety. And Hill,
who has recovered from a torn ACL in 2007, is the sort of blocking
tight end the team needed to replace Mark Bruener, though there
are thoughts that with a few extra pounds, assistant head coach
Alex Gibbs might be converting Hill into a tackle.
the fifth round, the Texans didn't have to look far for James Casey,
a tight end from Rice. In college, Casey was Mr. Versatility, having
played as many as nine positions for the Owls. A multi-sport athlete,
Casey delayed his college career for three years following his selection
by the Chicago White Sox in 2003.
Texans returned their focus to the defense in the sixth round, taking
cornerback Brice McCain of Utah. Further proving the belief of general
manager Rick Smith that a team should never ignore the position
in any draft, McCain brings with him sub-4.3 speed and an ability
to return kicks.
drafting concluded for the Texans when they chose Troy Nolan, a
free safety from Arizona State. An aggressive, ball-hungry centerfielder,
Nolan will probably need to prove his worth as a special teamer
first to make the final roster this season.
the Texans addressed some glaring needs on defense and the offensive
line, they failed to select a running back to help share the load
with Steve Slaton. Veterans Chris Brown and Ryan Moats remain on
the roster, but the team might regret not having addressed the position
with an earlier pick in this year's draft.
the Texans will likely be quite pleased with this year's class.
While it may not deliver the same results as prior draft classes,
the versatility offered by many of this year's selections will give
them a better shot at longevity in the league.
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