The Houston Texans could be out both starting inside linebackers from the 2012 season, with Bradie James and Tim Dobbins hitting free agency. Brian Cushing will be coming back off of injury, but many mock drafts still project the Texans taking an insider linebacker with the 27th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Just who that pick will be is another question.
LSU's Kevin Minter and Kansas State's Arthur Brown are two of the top inside linebackers in the draft, according to Dane Brugler of CBSSports.com and Dan Kadar of SB Nation. Brugler projects Minter landing with the Texans, but he also has Brown going one spot ahead at No. 26 overall to the Green Bay Packers. Likewise, Kadar projects Brown to the Texans with Minter falling off the board at No. 19 to the New York Giants.
Both prospects play the position somewhat differently. Brown possesses a lot of speed and athleticism, which is good because he is a bit undersized at 6'2, 231 pounds. Minter can hold his own much better at the line, weighing in at 6'2, 245 pounds. He is a terrific run stuffer, but may not be the same caliber as Brown when comes to make plays elsewhere on the field.
The Texans can't go wrong targeting either linebacker. Both have been falling regularly in the first round of mock drafts. The bigger question may ultimately be whether either player is available by the time the Texans' pick rolls around.