Texans get defensive in draft

April 26, 2009 9:12:26 PM PDT
The Houston Texans addressed their biggest needs in this year's draft, picking up linebacker Brian Cushing in the first round and beefing up their secondary with three picks on Sunday. [SPORTS BLOG: Get the latest news from the Eyewitness Sports team]

Houston started the day by drafting Antoine Caldwell, an offensive lineman from Alabama, in the third round with the 77th pick.

The versatile four-year starter saw time at all but one position on the line in his college career.

"I think I'll be really comfortable playing center or guard," Caldwell said. "I think the key to that is knowing all of the positions. At Alabama I knew what everybody had to do ... (having) a good knowledge of the game allows you to play fast and play any position."

He spent the most time at center, getting 34 of his 48 career starts at the position. Caldwell was part of a line that allowed just one sack in 806 pass plays during his final 23 games.

The Texans expect to use the 6-foot-3, 309-pound player as their swing lineman on game day because of his versatility.

Alabama used some zone blocking last season, which should help Caldwell adjust to Houston's zone blocking schemes.

"We think he can make the transition because he is a quick, agile guy and he can play all three of those spots," offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said. "He does have some snap and some power that makes him very versatile."

He is Houston's third pick in this year's draft after the team took Cushing with the 15th pick and Cincinnati defensive end Connor Barwin in the second round.

The Texans had an extra pick in the fourth round thanks to the trade that sent backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels to Minnesota. Houston got some help in the secondary with the 112th pick, drafting physical New Mexico cornerback Glover Quin.

Quin said he could also play safety if the Texans wanted to use him that way.

"I'm a defensive back and one thing I pride myself on is being versatile," Quin said. "So I want to come in and work as a corner and if I need to move to free safety ... (I'll) do whatever I have to do to help the team."

They continued adding players to the secondary in the later rounds, drafting speedy Utah cornerback Brice McCain in the sixth round and safety Troy Nolan of Arizona State in the seventh.

The Texans added North Carolina State tight end Anthony Hill with the 122nd pick and stayed with tight end in the fifth round, picking up James Casey of Rice at No. 152.

Casey is a bit older than most NFL rookies at 24 years old after spending three years in the White Sox farm system.

"It's unbelievable," said Casey, who lives less then five minutes from Reliant Stadium. "This couldn't have worked out any better."

      Send us your sports story tips | More sports stories
Texans page | NFL standings | NFL scoreboard | Texans stats


Load Comments