Houston (CBS Houston) – Linebacker Benardrick McKinney produced well as a rookie and teammates think he can be a key piece in this year’s Texan defense.
McKinney enters his second year in the NFL after appearing in 14 games and starting 11 as a rookie. In those 14 games McKinney made 35 tackles and one sack, but many think that’s just the beginning.
“I think he can be definitely great, he’s showed signs of it last year and he has to continue to build on that. Being a young player and just studying film and being in the right places at the right time,” Whitney Mercilus said.
If anyone knows about making a leap it’s Mercilus, who had seven more sacks last year than the season before.
McKinney doesn’t have the numbers of Brian Cushing, the star power of Jadeveon Clowney or the improvement of Mercilus, but with all the attention elsewhere McKinney has a chance to shine.
It’s one thing to have the respect of teammates at your position, but to also grab the attention of new quarterback Brock Osweiler, who you battle on a daily basis, is a great compliment.
“B-Mack is a special player. He’s physically imposing too. When you line up across from him on the field, you know where 55 is at,” Osweiler said. “He’s extremely talented, very athletic. He can stop the run game, he can plug holes, he can shed blocks, but he can also cover backs out in space.”