Houston Texans camp: who to watch on defense

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Dec 14, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne (87) can not come up with a catch as he is defended by Houston Texans linebacker Mike Mohamed (54) at Lucas Oil Stadium. Indianapolis defeats Houston 17-10. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The middle linebacker spot got a huge boost during the draft when Houston moved up and snagged Mississippi State linebacker Bernardrick McKinney in the second round. The bruising linebacker will most likely be a starter for the next decade in the NFL and he will interesting to keep an eye on to see just how quickly he can assert himself into the starting lineup next to entrenched starter Brian Cushing.

If McKinney is unable to get into the lineup it may not be due to his own shortcomings, but rather a possible big leap from Mike Mohamed, the linebacker who recorded 68 tackles and one interception in only two starts and 14 games during the 2014 campaign.

Mohamed, 27, has been in the NFL for four years now. He spent his first two seasons in Denver before coming to Houston in 2013. He came into last season with 10 games and three tackles under his belt, but finished the year being called a guy who can do a little of everything by HoustonTexans.com analyst John Harris.

"He’s won’t flash with blazing speed but he runs well. He’s not a physical specimen but he consistently wins against bigger players. He is one of the most versatile players on this roster. He just needed a chance and after being on four different teams’ practice squads in three seasons, he finally got his shot last year to prove what some of us have known for a while. He finished the season sixth on the team in total tackles and missed the final two games of the season. Not to mention, he only started two games, but when he was on the field, he made an impact, whether it was on first down or on fourth down on special teams."

Harris says he had noticed how the linebacker has had a nose for the ball dating back to his days at Cal and all he needed was a chance. Now we can enjoy watching him compete for a chance to beat out a highly drafted rookie during camp for more playing time.

Next: How safe are the safeties?