Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing is impressed with the progress of third-year linebacker Benardrick McKinney and praised his ability to mentor younger players, according to John McClain of The Houston Chronicle.
“I think a lot of guys ask him questions now and expect a lot of things from him,” Cushing said of McKinney. “That just comes with the years that you play. Now, going into his third year, people kind of expect those things from him.”
McKinney, who played his college football at Mississippi State University, was originally selected by the Texans in the second round (43rd pick overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft.
Cushing says that McKinney’s increase in maturity is very noticeable.
“He’s matured tremendously since his first year in the league,” he said. “His communication, everything. We’ve kind of worked side-by-side for three years now, and it’s been nice to have that kind of steady (weak side) WILL linebacker next to you.”
McKinney had a terrific sophomore season in 2016, registering 129 tackles and five sacks.
“Before, that was a bunch of guys coming in and out (of the lineup) trying to kind of get that camaraderie and that fluidity among the linebackers, and now we have it,” Cushing said.
Cushing is entering his ninth NFL season, all of them coming in Houston.
He played his college football at the University of Southern California and was originally selected by the Texans with the 15th overall pick of the 2009 NFL Draft.
He made the Pro Bowl during his first NFL campaign after posting 133 tackles, four sacks and four interceptions.