A little more than year ago, Pro Football Focus declared that Brandon Brooks was the Houston Texans' "secret superstar." Brooks was very good at guard for the Texans' last season and has become a crucial part of the Texans' offensive line, so PFF appears to have been right on the money with their analysis. It should therefore perk your ears up a bit to learn that PFF has bestowed "secret superstar" on Mike Mohamed this year.
Before a concussion ended his 2014 season, Mohamed amassed 524 snaps with 265 of those coming in coverage, 103 as a pass rusher, and 156 in run defense. He finished with a +7.3 coverage grade, the sixth best figure in the league, a -3.8 pass rushing grade, and a -2.0 grade against the run.
In terms of coverage statistics, Mohamed was targeted significantly more frequently than Brian Cushing (11.5% target rate compared to 8.5%) while they both gave up similar yards per coverage snap (.79 for Mohamed versus .73 for Cushing). Both players finished in the Top 25 for both figures out of 57 qualifying inside linebackers. As a tackler, Mohamed was extremely solid all season long. He missed only five of 60 attempts and his 12.0 tackling efficiency was the 14th-best at the position. With the numbers that Mohamed put up, it’s surprising to think that no one saw starting ability in him until this season.
Renner concludes his piece by stating that, despite the Texans investing a second-round draft pick in Benardrick McKinney, Mohamed should continue to get snaps in Houston's nickel and dime packages. While Mohamed's use in 2015 could be determined in large part by whether Brian Cushing can once again be a three-down linebacker, it should comfort Texans fans to know that Mohamed's production last year portends good things for Houston at the position, at least as it concerns pass coverage, going forward.