Houston Texans - AFC South
USC LB Brian Cushing
USC LB Brian Cushing
Posted Apr 27, 2009

Houston Texans - AFC South, 2009 Draft Selections & Prospects

Houston Texans

- 2009 NFL Draft Breakdown and Analysis
1st Round
| 2nd Round | 3rd Round | 4th Round | 5th Round | 6th Rd | 7th Rd

CFN 2009 Draft Central & Team-by-Team Picks and Analysis

The Draft Was ... Potentially scary. With the defensive line starting to get stronger, getting speedy outside playmakers like Brian Cushing and Connor Barwin could wreak havoc in backfields.
Best Value Pick: James Casey, 5th round, 152nd pick. A dream of a field stretching target for a slot tight end spot, he could be a devastating No. 2 tight end.
Biggest Reach: Connor Barwin, 2nd round, 46th pick. Considering Cushing isn't known for his durability, getting Barwin, who's really not known for staying healthy, might come back to bite the team.
They Should've ... Done more for the secondary. Glover Quin had better be special or the safety situation won't be settled. Getting Brice McCain was a nice value selection in the sixth round, but he can't save the secondary.


15 15 1st Round
Brian Cushing, LB USC  6-3, 245

Rey Maualuga got all the glory, but Cushing might be the better pro. While he ran a disappointing 4.64 at the Combine, he was one of the quickest players in the agility drills and came up with a lineman-like 30 reps on the bench. He plays even faster than he times with great range and an easy ability to blow past blockers. The big concern is a ticky-tack injury history that kept him from being a big-name college superstar. He’s also not all that strong in pass coverage and, despite his strength, needs to be on the outside. There’s no questioning his heart or his desire, but he could be unreliable. He’ll be a killer for around ten games a year, but will be dinged up/out for a few games a year.
CFN Value Rank:
First Round    CFN Position Rank: 2
14 46 2nd Round  
Connor Barwin, LB Cincinnati  6-4, 255

Part lineman, part linebacker, Barwin has tremendous speed, running a 4.59 at the Combine, and showing stunning athleticism for a player of his size. He was far, far quicker than Aaron Curry and was just as quick than all the other linebackers outside of Marcus Freeman in the shuttle drill. He’s not all that strong, at least not strong enough to be a regular on the line, and he needs a lot of technique work, but he has the fire and the aggressiveness to make himself better. There’s a high upside as a potentially lethal pass rusher with a little bit of time.
CFN Value Rank:
Third Round    CFN Position Rank: 8
13 77 3rd Round  
Antoine Caldwell, C/OG Alabama 6-3, 300

Caldwell could be a jack-of-all-trades, master of none at the next level. Extremely smart and extremely durable, he was one of the SEC's most reliable, consistent players over the last several years. Versatile, he can play anywhere inside and could end up spending most of his career as a guard. He could even play a little tackle if needed. While he's a good athlete, he's not quick enough to be an NFL tackle for any stretch of time and he'll struggle inside against the better interior pass rushers.
CFN Value Rank: Third Round
   CFN Position Rank: 5
12 112 4th Round
Glover Quin, FS New Mexico 5-11, 205
With excellent speed and good strength, he pushed up 22 reps on the bench at the Combine, he can play corner if needed and will likely spend time being moved around at all the safety spots. He's a good, sound football player with high character and good all-around skills, but he had a hard time staying healthy at the collegiate level and will always be dinged up in the NFL. While he might not be a star, his versatility will, at the very least, make him an invaluable backup who can be used in a variety of ways.  
CFN Value Rank:
Fifth Round    CFN Position Rank: 13
22 122 4th Round (from Minnesota)
Anthony Hill, TE NC State 6-5, 265
With excellent size, great receiving skills, and good upside, he could be a steal if he's able to stay healthy. That's a big if. He's had a variety of problems over the course of his career, including a knee injury, but when he's right, he has the talent to be as good as any tight end in the draft. At the very least he should be a much cheaper Brandon Pettigrew. He'll work hard to stay healthy and will do what's needed to improve, and after good off-season workouts the arrow is pointing up.
CFN Value Rank: Fourth Round
   CFN Position Rank: 9
16 152 5th Round
James Casey, TE Rice 6-4, 235 (3rd year Soph.)
An interesting player, the one-time star baseball prospect for the Chicago White Sox has great athleticism, good smarts, and the maturity. While he's strong in the weight room, he wasn't asked to block anyone at Rice and he's not big enough to be much of a hitter at the next level. Purely a receiver, he's not fast enough to break away from anyone or be used much as a consistent deep threat. And then there's the age factor; he'll be 25 when he starts his career. He'll be a good, reliable mid-range receiver with a hard ceiling on his potential.
CFN Value Rank: Third Round
   CFN Position Rank: 6
15 188 6th Round
Bryce McCain, CB Utah 5-9, 185
Way short but way productive, he was a star for the strong Ute defense for the last four years as both a corner and a kick returner. While he's not all that bad for his size against the run, his money is made on pure blazing speed. In a very slow draft for corners, McCain's 4.33 stands out and he's been clocked by some as below 4.3. He'll never be good against bigger, more physical receivers, but he'll have a place in a secondary because of his range and his wheels.
CFN Value Rank:
Fifth Round    CFN Position Rank: 20
14 223 7th Round
Troy Nolan, S Arizona State 6-1, 210
Too slow to be a starter at free safety and too weak to be a strong safety, he only came up with 12 reps on the bench at the Combine, he has to try to find a role somewhere. Despite his lack of raw skills, he makes plays and is purely a football player who gets the job done. He plays more athletic than he is. A good college player, he simply doesn't have the skills to do much in the NFL if he doesn't show he can make big plays early on in camp.
CFN Value Rank: Seventh Round
   CFN Position Rank: 20


The Draft Was ... Weird early, but good as it went on. Duane Brown would've been a bit of a reach in the second or third round, much less the first, while Antwaun Molden is a very raw corner prospect who's hardly a sure-thing. RB Steve Slaton could become devastating in the Texan attack, while the final four picks, LB Xavier Adibi in the fourth, DT Frank Okam in the fifth, S Dominique Barber in the sixth, and QB Alex Brink in the seventh were all nice, safe choice on productive college players.
Best Value Pick: Xavier Adibi, LB Virginia Tech. 4th Round. A bit too small and a bit too slow, he's still a very good all-around player who could've gone much earlier without anyone blinking.
Biggest Reach: Duane Brown, OT Virginia Tech. 1st Round. Brown could end up being a Pro Bowl performer and this still was a weird pick. It's all about value. Brown's a project who could've been had a round later.
They Should've ... Stayed up high in the first round and gotten an upgrade for one of the need spots. Yeah, Houston needs plenty of players, but it also needs stars. Getting a high-end OT or a top running back prospect, like a Jonathan Stewart, might not have been as practical, but was needed for a franchise in search of wins.


26 26 1st Round (from Jacksonville)   Duane Brown, OT/OG Virginia Tech
The former tight end beefed up to well over 300 pounds without losing much of his athleticism. However, he's not a pure pass protector and had big problems with the better defensive ends. He had a nice off-season and was good on the workout circuit, and he has great upside, but he needs the time and the work to develop. He could be a guard now, or a starting tackle in a few years.
CFN Value Rank: Fifth Round    CFN Position Rank: 12
16 79 3rd Round   Antwaun Molden, CB/FS Eastern Kentucky
Really fast with good size, he has the look of a starting corner, and he proved in workouts to have the strength to match up with any big receiver. While he has the athleticism and the measurables that some of the top corner prospects would die for, he's not a great football player. While someone will fall in love with the size/speed ratio, he needs work before he's a player.
CFN Value Rank: Sixth Round   CFN Position Rank: 22 (as a CB)
26 89 3rd Round (from trade)    Steve Slaton, RB West Virginia
He should've stayed. A speed rusher who always produced gaudy numbers, he gets it into gear instantly and can blast through any hole. The problem is size and toughness in crunch time. He went M.I.A. in some of West Virginia's biggest games and he almost never had to power over anyone. He's a pure space runner who can find the daylight and take off, but he'll have to prove early on that he's the sophomore version and not the 2007 back who was fine, but not as special.
CFN Value Rank: Fourth Round   CFN Position Rank: 12
19 118 4th Round    Xavier Adibi, OLB Viginia Tech
A phenomenal athlete who might be a big undersized, built more like a big safety than a tough outside linebacker, he was tremendously productive and a great running mate next to Vince Hall. He'll get killed by the more physical NFL blockers and he's not going to hit anyone hard, but he has the make-up and the speed to be a phenomenal cog in right system. He has the potential to be a far better pro than he was in college, and he was great at Tech.
CFN Value Rank: Second Round   CFN Position Rank:
16 151 5th Round    Frank Okam, DT Texas
He should've been a lot better than he actually was. A three-years starter for the Longhorns, Okam was fine, but nothing special even though he came up with a really nice senior season. At 6-4 and 335 pounds he's the biggest of the top tackles by far and he knows how to use it. even though he needs to play stronger. The question will be how he plays when the lights go on. Terrific in the off-season circuit, it left many wondering where that player was for four years.
CFN Value Rank: Late Third Round to Early Fourth     
CFN Position Rank: 10
7 173 6th Round  Dominique Barber, FS Minnesota
It's not his fault his team stunk. The brother of Dallas Cowboy RB, Marion, Barber made 174 tackles over the last two seasons as one of the Gophers' only playmakers. He timed a slow 4.68 and he isn't great against the pass, but most of his errors and most of his inconsistencies came from trying to do too much. No one else on that D, especially in the front seven, did much of anything.
CFN Value Rank: Fifth Round 
CFN Position Rank: 11
16 223 7th Round  Alex Brink, QB Washington State
Smart, tough, and experienced, he'll be a great practice player and a fine No. 3 quarterback who'll generate buzz in the preseason every year he sticks around. He's not huge and he doesn't have the most efficient delivery, but he can bomb away and put up good numbers at a high level.
CFN Value Rank: Seventh Round or Free Agent 
CFN Position Rank: 15