Do any previous Texans' rookie classes compare to the 2023 class?

Analyzing the instant impact of previous rookie classes for the Houston Texans.

Houston Texans vs Oakland Raiders - December 3, 2006
Houston Texans vs Oakland Raiders - December 3, 2006 / Robert B. Stanton/GettyImages
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The 2009 Class

The 2009 class featured some premier defensive players who helped the Texans achieve their first winning season in franchise history during their rookie campaigns. The biggest contributors from the 2009 rookies included USC linebacker Brian Cushing, Cincinnati edge Connor Barwin, and New Mexico defensive back Glover Quin. Other early contributors from the class were Alabama center Antoine Caldwell and Utah cornerback Brice McCain. 

Cushing instantly became DeMeco Ryans’s running mate in the middle of the defense and won Defensive Rookie of the Year after racking up 133 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, and 4 interceptions. Although he did not start a game in his first year, Barwin was a key rotational piece for the defense as he played in every game while racking up 4.5 sacks and five tackles for loss on the season. Quin started 12 games and played in 15 total while compiling 11 knockdowns in pass defense. Caldwell was a pivotal depth piece as he started three games and played in 11 total. Despite being a 6th-round pick, McCain played in all 16 games across the secondary and recorded an interception. 

The rookies from the 2009 class showed promise early and often. Cushing made the Pro Bowl in his first season while Barwin and Quin would become Pro Bowl-caliber players further down the line. All three were on the Texans’ first playoff team during the 2011 season and would go on to have successful careers.