Texans add depth at LB, TE in fourth


Miami (Fla.) inside linebacker Darryl Sharpton is the third Hurricane to be drafted by the Texans.


This* article is part of our 2010 Path to the Draft coverage presented by FOX Sports Houston*.

With their two fourth-round draft picks on Saturday, the Texans selected Miami (Fla.) inside linebacker Darryl Sharpton and Wisconsin tight end Garrett Graham.

Sharpton, Miami's leading tackler and a second-team All-ACC pick as a senior, went first at No. 102 overall. Graham, a first-team All-Big Ten selection in 2009, was taken 118th.

The Texans have a strong linebacker corps led by DeMeco Ryans and Brian Cushing, but they had only six linebackers heading into the draft. Sharpton (6-0, 230) will have a chance to compete for a backup spot and to contribute immediately on special teams.

"He's a versatile guy, plays MIKE or WILL linebacker," Texans linebackers coach Johnny Holland said. "Compact player, very explosive, I thought he did an excellent job of coming downhill, playing physical. That's the type of play that we like our linebackers to play."

Sharpton joins four other former Miami Hurricanes - wide receiver Andre Johnson, right tackle Eric Winston, center Chris Myers and tackle Rashad Butler - on the Texans' roster. A native of Coral Gables (Fla.), he is the nephew of Rev. Al Sharpton.

Houston now has taken a linebacker in all nine drafts in team history.

"I'm going to bring a lot," Sharpton said. "Every play I play, it'll be really hard and will be 100 miles per hour. I'm going to work hard. I'm just looking forward to getting to Houston and getting to work immediately."

Graham (6-3, 246) was a three-year starter at Wisconsin and had 51 catches for 724 yards and six touchdowns a senior. He follows Owen Daniels as the second Wisconsin tight end to be drafted in the fourth round by the Texans. Daniels, a 2006 draft pick, was a senior at Wisconsin when Graham was a freshman.

"I've followed him quite a bit," Graham said. "He is a great guy to watch and definitely be a great guy to learn under. Up until my senior year, we watched film on him on certain plays and what he did. I definitely picked up on the things that he did and his game and tried to carry it over to mine."

The Texans drafted tight ends Anthony Hill and James Casey last year, but Daniels (ACL), Hill (ACL) and Joel Dreessen (shoulder) are all coming off of surgery this offseason.

Calling Graham a complete tight end, tight ends coach Brian Pariani said that the Texans thought so highly of him that they would have drafted him even if those players were healthy.

"I think any time you can add a tight end of that caliber that can catch the ball and block, you're only adding to what we already have at that position," Pariani said. "We value this player, and I think we can never have enough tight ends."

Follow Nick Scurfield on Twitter at *twitter.com/NickScurfield or find him on the "I'm A Texan Club" at imatexan.com/profiles/Nick_Scurf/.*

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