Post-Draft Outlook:BEST PICK: The Texans like OLB Brian Cushing because he was a four-year starter at Southern California who became a team leader and plays with the kind of intensity and energy they want on defense. He'll play on the strong side. He's tough against the run but fast enough to learn to cover. A closer look at the Texans' picks: Round 1/15 -- Brian Cushing, OLB, 6-3, 243, Southern Cal...The Texans liked the USC linebackers -- Cushing and Clay Matthews -- and when the 15th pick arrived, both were still available. Cushing was the target of defensive coordinator Frank Bush since the college season ended. Bush says Cushing will compete with Zac Diles for the starting job on the strong side. He has the versatility to line up even on the edge and rush. The Texans love his athleticism and work ethic, and he is expected to make an instant impact. - by The Sports Xchange
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Draft Scout Brian Cushing News
09/11/14 - ILB Brian Cushing is still rusty after so much inactivity. He played two series in preseason. He had five tackles against the Redskins, including one hit on the quarterback. As he continues to get healthy, his performance should improve.
09/10/14 - ILB Brian Cushing is still rusty after so much inactivity. He played two series in preseason. He had five tackles against the Redskins, including one hit on the quarterback. As he continues to get healthy, his performance should improve.
09/01/14 - SILB Brian Cushing played two series in preseason, so he'll be rusty, but he's 100 percent after undergoing season-ending surgery in 2013.
08/25/14 - LB Brian Cushing played against Denver, his first appearance since suffering a torn lateral collateral ligament in his knee and a fractured fibula in his lower leg against Kansas City last season. He played two series.
"It was exciting to be back," Cushing said. "I feel good. I was glad to get some reps. The more reps I get, the better I'll be. I expect to make plays when I'm on the field. I felt good about making the calls. I had the mental part down."
Cushing had one tackle for loss and a penalty for illegal hands to the face.
08/15/14 - ILB Brian Cushing passed his physical, was removed from active/physically unable to perform and returned to practice for the first time since the seventh game of last season.
He was limited against the Falcons, though.
"It felt great (but), it's a very small step, and September 7 will be the big step," Cushing said about the regular-season opener against Washington. "Just being back out with the team is the most important thing. Obviously, I'm going to ease my way back into it. It feels good to get back out here and practice football. You can only do so much in the classroom.
"There's a major difference between practicing and playing. I'm in really good shape right now, but there's football shape, and I've got to get there."
Last year, Cushing suffered a torn lateral collateral ligament in his knee and a fractured fibula against Kansas City and was lost for the season. It was the second consecutive year he suffered a season-ending knee injury.
"It's been a tough past two years, but I feel like the worst part is over," he said. "It was tough not being out here. You have a new staff, and you want to show them what you can do and what your value is to the team, so that was put on hold a little.
"I don't know if I have to prove who I am (to) them or myself. I'm just a competitive guy, and I want to prove I can help the team and do a good job. That's really important to me, something I focus on a lot."
Cushing isn't expected to play against Atlanta.