Mike Mohamed showing up early in training camp


The Houston Texans saw something they really liked in middle linebacker Bernardrick McKinney from Mississippis State while scouting for the 2015 NFL Draft. They were sold on him enough to give the Cleveland Browns a fourth and sixth round selection in order to swap their 51st overall pick for the Browns 43rd.

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The move made it seem as though the big linebacker would be inserted as the starter next to returning veteran linebacker Brian Cushing from the start. However, as the training camp opened this weekend someone else was lined up as the second middle linebacker, and he is making it harder and harder each practice to justify putting the rookie on the field with the starters.

That linebacker is Mike Mohamed, who entered the league with a lot less notoriety than McKinney. Mohamed was a sixth round selection of the Denver Broncos in 2011 and managed to enter two games his rookie year.

In 2012 he spent time with three different practice squads as he bounced from Denver, Jacksonville and Tennessee in one year. He only saw time on the field for one game that year, when with the Broncos. In the three games Mohamed was on the field for Denver during those seasons he recorded zero tackles.

When his second season was over Houtson brought the California product in on a futures contract, which he signed in January of 2013. During the following season Mohamed played in eight games and picked up three tackles.

Then 2014 came and head coach Bill O’Brien and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel saw something in the defensive player that others hadn’t seen just yet. He was given an opportunity to play and he impressed all season long.

In 14 games (two starts) Mohamed racked up 68 tackles, deflected six passes and recorded an interception. Not bad for a guy who managed 11 games and three tackles total his first three seasons in the NFL.

Now as the 2015 season approaches Mohamed is making sure his time on the field is not taken away from him without a fight. After the first day of practice, his name popped up on the list of observations made by Texans analyst John Harris of the team’s website.

"7. That said, the best linebacker in coverage on this team remains unchanged – Mike Mohamed. One rep he was matched up on Arian Foster who can beat any linebacker in the league and Mohamed read his movement and cut him off before Foster could break his route where he wanted. Later in practice, Mohamed was one-on-one with tight end Ryan Griffin and knocked away a touchdown completion in the back of the end zone. I know the Texans drafted Benardrick McKinney at the inside linebacker spot but Mohamed isn’t about to take a backseat to anyone with his multiple and varied skill set."

Mohamed wasn’t done turning heads just yet as Harris made another set of observations after the second practice for the Texans this weekend, and once again, the linebacker was catching Harris’ attention.

"11. Cushing’s running mate at inside linebacker with the first group has been Mike Mohamed and I wrote “54 PBU” (pass break up) three times in my notes. I just don’t know how Romeo Crennel can take Mohamed off the field with all that he does in this defense."

Obviously this is only a couple of practices, so nothing is set in stone yet. Still, if Mike Mohamed continues to perform the way he has thus far the Texans will find themselves very stacked at the middle linebacker position. After going through several injuries the last couple of seasons, this would be a great problem for the team to have.

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