No running backs taken in the draft?
That's how important defense was to the Texans as they try to make the playoffs for the first time. And that's how confident they are in getting a combination of a healthy Chris Brown, quality undrafted free agents and/or a player in the second wave of free agency to help out Steve Slaton.
Brian Cushing should be a solid player for a Texans' front seven in need of more firepower. Hearing the comments of Gary Kubiak, Rick Smith and Frank Bush makes one realize this is the player they wanted all along. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened had Malcom Jenkins been available, but Cushing was clearly the most coveted defender at their spot.
Connor Barwin will play defensive end and be expected to make a prompt impression as a pass rusher. It's not like he has to have starting chops right away, but he must at least show potential as a situational player. When you consider that he was a tight end and has ability as an OLB, you get the idea that he could contribute.
What both players have in common is energy and versatility. Cushing can play all three linebacker positions and has a great motor. Barwin had the drive to make it through a position change into the second round of the draft.
You might look at picking Antoine Caldwell in the 3rd as a bit of an "upset," but the Texans were quick to point out that it's rare to see an offensive line hold together for the entire campaign like last year's did. Plus, if you're not trying to move forward and improve, you tend to get worse.
And that's what they're thinking in the secondary with safety Glover Quin out of New Mexico. He played corner in college and was the Lobos first cornerback team captain in over a decade, so you know he has leadership skills. He's got good speed and ball skills and, along with Barwin, should be a factor on special teams. Gary Kubiak said late in the day that Quin could play nickelback.
Anthony Hill is a blocking tight end who can also catch when needed. But James Casey is intriguing as someone who can not only play tight end but Wildcat QB slot receiver and who knows what else. Defense rounds out the rest of the draft with CB Brice McCain out of undefeated Utah and Troy Nolan, a safety who will have to really shine to make the squad.