In 2009 at the NFL Combine, linebacker Brian Cushing went through drills and impressed the Texans and other NFL teams.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is part of HoustonTexans.com's 2010 Path to the Draft presented by FOX Sports Houston.
The 2010 NFL Scouting Combine is upon us and the Texans will use the week in Indianapolis to evaluate prospective players.
"Evaluate" actually is a very loose adjective to describe what the players go through at Lucas Oil Field. They're measured for height and weight, they go through rigorous interviews, their medical histories are reviewed and updated. If they choose to do so, the players bench press 225 pounds as many times as possible, run the 40-yard dash, go through agility drills and much more.
The Texans will be there in full force, with general manager Rick Smith, head coach Gary Kubiak's coaching staff and the scouting department in attendance. Meeting with the players gives them a chance to gauge first-hand what they think of each prospect.
It all starts on Wednesday, Feb. 24, when the offensive linemen, tight ends, kickers and special teamers go through their medical exams and interviews. Offensive skill position players arrive the next day, followed by defensive linemen and linebackers on Friday, with the defensive backs getting there Saturday. Each group goes through four days of work.
Texans owner Bob McNair said in a press conference earlier this month that the team would look to bolster the interior of both the offensive and defensive lines, the running back position and the defensive backfield spots. He didn't say specifically whether they'd do some or all of that through the draft, but keep a lookout for players at those positions, and especially watch out to see how the following guys perform this week in Indianapolis.
Earl Thomas, S, Texas: The Longhorn safety is a great athlete who picked off eight passes in 2009. He's so proficient in coverage that he's a reliable nickel back and even capable of filling in at corner. Many mock drafts (although it's still early in the process) have the Texans snagging Thomas.
Taylor Mays, S, USC: A big hitter, some had Mays projected as a Top-5 pick if he'd entered the 2009 draft. But he remained a Trojan and after what some thought was a lackluster season, he took a step back in the eyes of NFL personnel. When we talked with him in Mobile, Mays said he wants his game to resemble that of the late Sean Taylor's.
C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson: Spiller likely won't slide to the 19th or 20th spot, because the former Tiger is a threat to score a touchdown every time he touches the ball.
Mike Iupati, OL, Idaho: The man-mountain performed well during the week of the Senior Bowl. He played guard during his collegiate career as a Vandal but experimented at the right tackle spot during the week of practice in Mobile. His versatility is definitely attractive.
Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State: Wilson was impressive during Senior Bowl week in Mobile and was one of the premier defenders on a team that went undefeated in 2009. He's one of the top corners in the draft.
Dan Williams, DL, Tennessee: Some mock drafts have Williams being snagged by Houston in the first round, and the former Volunteer didn't disappoint during Senior Bowl week. He's a tough interior defensive lineman to block.
Everson Griffen, DL, Southern Cal: The former Trojan is training with Mays, Spiller, Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen and Arrelious Benn of Illinois as part of the "Nothin' but Freaks" group. Griffen was disruptive at USC on the outside.
Make sure to stop by HoustonTexans.com during the week of the Combine, as we'll provide updates, videos, podcasts and more from Indianapolis in our quest to keep you updated on the Texans this offseason.
For more, visit our 2010 Texans Draft Central page here.