NFL preseason preview for outside linebacker, Brian Cushing who was taken as the #15 selection in the 2009 NFL draft class out of the University of Southern California to the Houston Texans.
Number 15 Pick: Houston Texans – Brian Cushing (OLB, USC)
The Houston Texans held the fifteenth pick in the 2009 draft and chose outside linebacker Brian Cushing out of the University of Southern California. Cushing comes in at 6’3” and 243 lbs. Cushing is an all-around blitzer who can attack from almost anywhere on the line. The Texans will be able to have an aggressive defense with the addition of Cushing.
Anyone coming out of Southern California is going to be battle tested… and that’s just in practice. USC is loaded with talent, so to climb the depth chart means you are the real deal. Cushing is no exception. He is a team leader, which is a quality that any NFL team looks for. Cushing can do anything from his position. He can blitz, drop back into coverage, or go after the run. Cushing is also a hard worker, going through nutrition and strength training to avoid injury in his senior season. Despite the hard work, Cushing played a number of games with a cast on his arm. This didn’t deter him though, as he ended the season with 46 solo tackles.
Cushing is very physical defender who looks to impose his will on his opponents. He will hit hard for intimidation and attacks his blockers. This ferocity is blended well with his ability to read the quarterback and make plays on the ball.
His biggest downside is the history of injuries. He will have to learn how to use his body wisely in the NFL. At college he stood head and shoulders above most competitors. He also had a great defensive team surrounding him. The competition will be stiffer in the pros and he needs to learn how to deal with that.
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