Which Houston Texans Rookie Will Have The Biggest Impact in 2015?

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Sep 20, 2014; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs linebacker Benardrick McKinney (50) tackles LSU Tigers running back

Kenny Hill

iard (27) during the third quarter of a game at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Benardrick McKinney – ILB

Who is he? – McKinney is a big, prototypical inside linebacker. He is very good in run support and has a nose for the ball. His coverage skills still need work, but he should be very effective defending the run. He is a punishing tackler and should be an effective blitzer.

How does he fit? – McKinney is going to take the second ILB spot, next to longtime veteran Brian Cushing. Cushing may or not be with the team next season, so McKinney will be expected to learn quickly and take control of the defense himself. With Cushing’s history of being plagued by injuries, McKinney may get more playing time than expected, even though he already should start more games than either the person drafted ahead of him and the one after him.

What will he do this season? – As mentioned above, McKinney will start next to Cushing on the inside of the linebacking corps. He should play at least on first and second down, but might come off the field on passing situations.

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