Player Projection: Linebacker Benardrick McKinney


The Houston Texans look to expand upon a successful 2014 season where they finished 9-7 under first year head coach Bill O’Brien. As we inch closer and closer to the start of the 2015 season we here at the Toro Times want to take a look at what can be expected from key players on the roster this season.

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Today we examine our first player on the defensive side of the ball, rookie linebacker Benardrick McKinney out of Mississippi State. At 6’4″ and 246 pounds McKinney has the perfect size to be a run-stuffing middle linebacker for the Houston Texans.

He should fit nicely next to playmaking middle linebacker Brian Cushing in the teams 3-4 defensive system. The team moved up in the second round to snatch up the young man who many believed was one of the top interior linebackers in the 2015 draft.

A Look Back

Want to know how athletic the near 250 pound man from the small-town of Tunica, Mississippi is? Check out his “overview” paragraph from his Draft Profile page.

"Started every game and led the team in tackles in 2014 and 2013. Selected first-team All-SEC and second-team All-American in 2014. Selected to Freshman All-SEC Team in 2012 and took a redshirt in 2011. Was starting quarterback for Rosa Fort High School (Miss.) his senior season, finishing with 15 touchdown passes and 7 rushing touchdowns. He also finished with 34 tackles and was the team’s punter."

While he won’t be throwing passes or kicking punts for the Texans, it shows that the rookie is versatile and has an understanding of more than one position, which could come in handy while trying to decipher where to be and when.

McKinney burst onto the scene in 2012 for the Bulldogs as he recorded 102 tackles and one quarterback sack. He finished his collegiate career with 243 tackles (19.5 for a loss) and 7.5 sacks in three seasons.

One thing he never did however, was record an interception. This fact is the reason I can see Benardrick being the “thumper” while Cushing gets freed up to make the game changing plays.

What To Expect

The Texans moved up for a good reason and I personally believe they received their best value for their second round pick McKinney and third round selection of receiver Jaelen Strong out of ASU.

Look for McKinney to catch on fast and make people notice him immediately. He will be a hard hitting backer who can also surprise people with his ability to blitz the quarterback.

I expect him to fit perfectly next to Cushing as a day one starter and be in the middle of everything for the Texans.

Toro Times Bold Prediction For Benardrick McKinney

75 tackles, 3.0 sacks, 2 forced fumbles

Next: Player Projection: Wide Receiver Jaelen Strong