Texans have "ton of respect" for Benardrick McKinney entering Year 5

Benardrick McKinney has grown in many ways since his NFL debut in 2015.

He’s more of a leader.

He played in his first Pro Bowl this January.

And he still possesses three very important traits, according to head coach Bill O’Brien.

“Smart player, tough player, dependable player,” O’Brien said of the inside linebacker. "He's one of our better players and leaders. He has a real good grasp of our defense.”

McKinney finished with 105 tackles, five tackles for loss and seven pass breakups and an interception in 2018. His heroics earned him a trip to Orlando and the Pro Bowl. The recognition was deserved, in the eyes of his position coach Bobby King.

"I think the world and kind of the country has caught up to the player he is,” King said. “He's been a good player for a while. I've known that, this team and this city has known that."

Even though he’s been one of the leaders on the defense since shortly after arriving his rookie year, McKinney still feels odd calling himself a veteran.

“That's crazy, man,” McKinney said. “Sometimes I just catch myself thinking like 'Dang, five years.'”

Defensive end J.J. Watt’s been McKinney’s teammate for all five of those years, and he said he loves playing with him.

“He has to be all over the field, he has to play the run, he has to play the pass, he has to get the call in after every play, he has to coordinate everything and make calls,” Watt said. “So, I have a ton respect for that position and I have a ton of respect for B-Mac and the way he plays it.”

McKinney and the Texans just concluded minicamp, and will be back on the practice fields in late July at Texans training camp in Houston.

Check out the best shots shots from Day 2 of veteran minicamp. Presented by Houston Methodist.

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