Texans CB Kareem Jackson, the club's first-round draft pick out of Alabama, was installed as a starter in the club's May OTAs, and he fared well.
"We've got a long way to go, but I like his size, he has good size (and) strength and is very well-coached," head coach Gary Kubiak told Houston reporters earlier in May. "He acts like he belongs."
Jackson's ability to quickly step into the lineup for the Texans is essential after the team elected not to re-sign CB Dunta Robinson and targeted a cornerback with the No. 20 overall pick.
The way we hear it, the 5-10, 196-pound Jackson, the second corner selected in April's draft, would have to play horribly not to be starting opposite of second-year pro Glover Quin in Week One. He would be the franchise's latest first-rounder to start right off the bat; SLB Brian Cushing did so last season, and eight of the nine first-round picks who preceded him in Houston were in the starting lineup in their first-ever NFL game.
Quick development from Jackson would take some of the stress off a defense that will be without Cushing for the first four games of the 2010 season as he serves a suspension for violating the NFL's policy on anabolic steroids and related substances. Cushing tested positive for hCG, a fertility drug sometimes used by steroid users wanting to restart testosterone production. Cushing appealed the positive test and has said he did not "inject or ingest" any banned substances.
In Cushing's absence, Danny Clark and Xavier Adibi will compete to start on the strong side. Clark, signed after Cushing's suspension was announced, played for Houston in 2007 before moving on to the Giants, where he made 26 starts in two seasons. Adibi started five games as a rookie in 2008; in one such start, he notched 15 tackles in an impressive performance at Indianapolis. However, his role dwindled last season as Cushing took over on the strong side and Zac Diles moved to the weak side. Adibi provides a quicker alter native to the strong, experienced Clark as the Texans try to sort out how to replace the valuable Cushing.
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