More Defense for Texans in Cushing
Brian Cushing (Ric Francis/AP)
Brian Cushing (Ric Francis/AP)
Posted Apr 25, 2009
Charlie Bernstein

With an offense ranked in the league's top five, the Texans will likely wait until day two to fine tune some of their positions on that side of the football. We will now take a closer look at a player that was on Houston's draft card when it's their turn to pick at 15.

Numerous mock drafts linked USC outside linebacker Brian Cushing to the Texans with the 15th pick, and for once, the mocksters had it right. Cushing may not have the flare and name recognition of his collegiate teammate Rey Maualuga, but he could be an even better football player. The 6'3", 243 lb. Trojan has prototypical size for his outside linebacker position and he has amazing skill and agility that the Texans scouts and coaching staff got to see at the Senior Bowl.

As a senior, Cushing recorded 66 tackles, 10 TFL, 2.5 sacks, six passes defensed, one forced fumble, one quarterback hurry, and an interception, which helped earn him first team all-Pac 10 honors. Cushing has very good straight-line speed, excellent strength, and can play inside or outside, just like both of his USC teammates.

"We push each other every single day and we love coming out here and competing," Cushing said of playing with both Rey Maualuga and Clay Matthews. "Just like the practice field back in Los Angeles. Just put us anywhere and we'll play."'s College Football News had this scouting report on Cushing written right after the NFL Combine-

Post-Combine Skinny:
Known for being extremely athletic on the field, the 4.74 appeared to be shockingly slow. However, he destroyed the short drills as he flew through the cones and was lightning fast in the shuttle. Throw in the 30 reps in the weight room and he came up with the workout to match what the scouts are going to see on game tape.

Fast. Really, really fast . Can play any linebacking position in any style . Can be used as a pass rusher from any angle.

Negatives: Durability. He has been banged up throughout his USC career . Won't be more athletic than NFL players . Not a huge producer.

Although the team has a bevy of talented linebackers with DeMeco Ryans, Zac Diles, Xavier Adibi, and newcomers Cato June and Buster Davis, Brian Cushing will likely step in and start from day one and could pave the way for a switch to the 3-4.

Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie is a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports and Sirius NFL Radio, and has been featured on the NFL Network. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.

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