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Texans Go LB Brian Cushing with First-Round Pick

Looking to help out the defense with a big-name player, the Texans in the first round went with linebacker Brian Cushing from USC. The linebacker had 3 sacks last season for USC to go along with 73 tackles. In 44 career college games, he has 178 tackles and 8.5 sacks.

Here’s the lowdown on Cushing from Draft Countdown:


Ideal size and bulk…Good athleticism…Adequate speed…Extremely versatile…Reliable tackler…Excellent strength…Tough…Intense and very competitive…Decent pass rusher with a burst to close…Changes directions well…Good range…Able to shed blocks and work through traffic..Good special teamer…Smart…Hard worker…May have upside.


Durability is a major concern…Does not play up to his workout numbers…Marginal instincts and can be late to react…Does not have fluid hips…Too aggressive at times…Struggles to match up in coverage…Does not have great hands… Might not have a true position.


Could project inside or outside in either a 4-3 or 3-4 defensive scheme…Was a highly-regarded recruit coming out of high school…Only started 16 games his first three years at Southern Cal…Missed nearly half of his freshman season with a shoulder injury and was held out of some of the following seasons spring drills while recuperating…Sat out most of spring practice in 2007 with a strained hamstring then had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee…Also missed extensive action during the 2007 season with an ankle injury…Broke a bone in his right hand in 2008 and played with a cast but didn’t miss any games…Has played defensive end, outside linebacker and inside linebacker for the Trojans…Manufactured athlete who should test well but isn’t that impressive on film and often looks like a defensive end in a linebacker’s body…Is overrated as a pro prospect but has the talent to start at the next level if he can somehow find a way to stay healthy.

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