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2017 Houston Texans Training Camp Preview: Looking At The Linebackers

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Today we take a look at the Texans linebacker situation heading into training camp.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Houston Texans Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The linebacker position for the Texans has probably never looked as healthy as it does heading into this season. Benardrick McKinney emerged last season as one of the best inside linebackers in the NFL and was backed up by the veteran (and often times crazy) presence of Brian Cushing. The Texans added former Vanderbilt LB Zach Cunningham via this year’s draft which will hopefully secure the position’s future over the next few seasons. That being said, there are a few things to look at regarding the position heading into camp.

Two LB’s or Three LB’s?

The Texans defense has been lauded over the past few seasons for it’s versatility and ability to shift between schemes on a dime. The addition of Zach Cunningham has added another wrinkle of whether or not the Texans will move towards a 4-3 base defense in order to accommodate all of their ILB talent. If there isn’t a switch, the question becomes how much playing time will Cunningham see during his rookie year? Perhaps a good indicator might be the snap numbers for the Texans third ILB last year, Max Bullough, who saw 23% of the teams total defensive snaps along with over 50% of the total special teams snaps.

How good can Benardrick McKinney be?

McKinney’s breakout campaign last season was a luxury to the already stacked Texans’ defense. The question regarding McKinney going forward is what his ceiling might be. In particular, his skill as a pass rusher has been a unique trait. Of all the players who have 100+ total tackles last season, McKinney lead them all 5.0 sacks. Considering this is it worth asking the question ‘‘Will Benardrick McKinney be the best player on this defense at the end of this season’’?

That’s all for today’s camp preview folks, what do you guys think of the LB position heading into this season? How much do you think Zach Cunningham will play this season? What do you think Benardrick McKinney’s ceiling is? Let us know in the comments below.