Benardrick McKinney is a current Inside Linebacker for the Houston Texans. McKinney is a young gun, as he is currently 24 and has already excelled as his play looks like he is a seasoned veteran. He was drafted in Second Round (43rd Pick Overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Texans after playing his college ball at Mississippi State. Benardrick was redshirted his freshman season, then went on to make his debut and play in all 13 games in the 2012 season.
Upon completing the 2012 season at Mississippi State, McKinney finished the year with a total of 102 tackles (45 solos). After a glorious 2012 season, Bernardrick went on to start the next 2 years during his sophomore and junior seasons. After the end of his sophomore season and junior seasons, McKinney finished each year with a total of 71 tackles (42 sophomore season, 35 junior season solos). These total tackles during the college football season further solidified Bernardrick as a top tackler in the nation during his 3 years at Mississippi State. He finished his career at Mississippi State with 243 total tackles (122 solos). McKinney was also projected a first-round draft talent following his junior due to his tackle rate and stellar play at the Linebacker position.
Since being drafted in 2015, Benardrick went on to play in 14 total games and started 11 games his rookie season. He finished his rookie season with a total of 63 tackles (37 solos) and 1 sack to go along with those totals. Then came along the 2016 season and the sophomore slump was nowhere to be found with Bernardrick as a new animal was unleashed and a flashback of his stellar Mississippi State days were starting to show. I am not saying his rookie season was bad at all, but he was a different animal out there during his second year and the improvement was evident. He took a big step up and became one of the leagues top tacklers in his sophomore season. He finished the 2016 season with a total of 129 tackles (79 solos) and had 5 sacks. He was awarded Second-Team All Pro Honors as he was the only Inside Linebacker during the 2016 season to have at least 100 tackles and 5 sacks. This was a very big honor for a young and very good Inside Linebacker that the Texans honestly got as a steal in the second round!
After drafting Brian Cushing in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft, despite a few injury plagued seasons, he has been the face and leader of the Linebacker core for the Texans. Nothing against Cushing, but I now feel Bernardrick McKinney is stepping up to number 2 in charge and he will dethrone the top spot once Cushing is gone. Granted Cush plays the Mike Backer and Bernardrick is an Inside Backer, they both are considered very good NFL Linebackers. They are a nice duo when they are on the field together and both lead the Linebacker corps like true leaders. McKinney, in my opinion, is only going to get better and will become one of the top inside linebackers in the NFL for a while. I trust him leading the Texans’ Linebackers, as he is a new beast and a beast that is here to stay. He is a force for any team to be reckoned with and will only go on to cause havoc for offenses this year as the season inches closer.
Photo Credits: Saturday Down South
Die-hard Sports fan/nerd born and raised in Houston, TX! I love any Houston team and mainly follow the Texans, Astros, and Rockets. Follow my twitter @TFoRTLeW. I also run a sports podcast with my good friend Noah!