Houston Texans 2018 : 10 players who can improve team
By Jair Lopez
The defensive player with the most upside on this list is inside linebacker Zach Cunningham. Finding a starting rookie linebacker in the second round is easier than done. Cunningham was overlooked coming out of college due to his slight frame and poor tackling. However, those are small issues that could be solved with a good NFL strength and conditioning program and good coaching.
When former starting inside linebacker Brian Cushing was suspended for 10 games for his second PED violation in the NFL, Cunningham filled in admirably. Cunningham started all but three games, and he had 90 tackles, one forced fumble and 1.5 sacks.
His emergence in the middle of the defense made it easier for the Texans to part ways with Cushing, and Cunningham’s ability to cover tight ends and running backs is invaluable in a passing league. He had six pass deflections in his first year in the NFL. Cunningham showed in his first season that he has the potential to be a three-down defender with the size and athleticism to be one of the best inside linebackers in the NFL.
The Texans could have one of the best linebacker lineups in the league in 2018 with Jadeveon Clowney, Cunningham, Benardrick McKinney and Whitney Mercilus.