If there is one element I would love to see the Houston Texans add this off-season it would be an outside receiver. But when I took a deeper look, I realized this team has a bigger need for a quality linebacker.
This is very easily put together for those of you unaware. We’ll start with everyone OTHER than Brian Cushing, move onto Cushing and then my pick.
Bradie James is 32, a free agent unlikely to return, and no better than average. While James offers sustainable services against the run, his pass-coverage abilities are less than desirable. Tim Dobbins and Darryl Sharpton are serviceable fill-ins, but nowhere near starting material.
Brian Cushing is basically Houston’s version of Ray Lewis, but is coming off of a terrible ACL tear.
Here’s a comparison of Houston’s defense with and without Brian Cushing.
|The Cushing Effect||
With Brian Cushing
Without Brian Cushing
|Total Points Allowed||
|Total Yards Allowed||
Now we can’t completely blame the Texans decline on Cushing’s ACL tear considering they were also without Jonathan Joseph for a while, but in the same vein, Brian Cushing’s absence was certainly felt.
The Houston Texans rely heavily on their linebacker corp. from a defensive scheme point of view. These backers are required to be just as good at stopping the run as they are defending the pass—more so than usual.
This is a team that utilizes a lot of single coverage on the outside, a lot of variant dime packages that require specific matchups and this all surrounds the linebacker position in one way or another.
If the Houston Texans were to acquire another high profile ILB to pair up with Brian Cushing—not to mention learn from him—they would easily transition an already talented group into an elite defense.
One prospect I really believe can help Houston do this—and more—is LSU’s Kevin Minter.
Minter isn’t the deeply feard Ray Lewis type of backer, the Texans already have that guy in Cushing. Instead, Minter is an elusive defender who utilizes his speed and agility to make the necessary plays on the field.
Instead of taking a defender head-on, he tries to elude. Rather than disrupt a route-runner or aggressively “ball-hawk” he utilizes an angled approach to disrupt the play.
I think the Houston Texans need a compliment linebacker to Brian Cushing, not the same TYPE of player. With polar opposite backers patrolling the second level—above average backers mind you—the Houston Texans take another step forward to being a complete defense.
Kevin Minter is that puzzle piece the Houston Texans are missing.
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Next up, the Indianapolis Colts.
|NFC North 2013 team Needs:||GREEN BAY PACKERS
|NFC East 2013 Team Needs:||PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
NEW YORK GIANTS
|NFC South 2013 Team Needs:||ATLANTA FALCONS
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
|NFC West 2013 Team Needs:||ST. LOUIS RAMS
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
|AFC North 2013 Team Needs:||BALTIMORE RAVENS
|AFC East 2013 Team Needs:||NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
NEW YORK JETS
|AFC South 2013 Team Needs:||INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
|AFC West 2013 Team Needs:||DENVER BRONCOS
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS