4. Benardrick McKinney, ILB
When linebacker Brian Cushing went down with a torn MCL in Week 1, the Texans didn’t panic. The reason they didn’t was because they had confidence in second year middle linebacker Benardrick McKinney.
That confidence was there for a good reason. McKinney was arguably the best middle linebacker available in the 2015 draft and the Texans moved up in round two to secure his services. He played well as a rookie, but had his share of growing pains.
Now with Cushing out, the team felt like he was ready to be the main guy to communicate on defense as O’Brien gave the play calling duties to McKinney.
He didn’t disappoint on Sunday as he recorded eight tackles and a quarterback sack against the Chiefs. He essentially was the quarterback of the defense and that group looked as good as ever.