With the unfortunate news that longtime starting inside linebacker Brian Cushing is suspended for the next 10 games, the Houston Texans have to scramble the depth chart on defense.
Fortunately, they have a promising replacement in Dylan Cole.
The undrafted rookie from Missouri State will be the next man up in the middle of the Texans defense. Cole played just nine snaps in the opener versus Jacksonville but saw extensive action in the preseason.
Cole is a very different style of player from Cushing, who is a downhill seek-and-destroy bundle of intensity. The rookie is more of a speedster who thrives on lateral range and in coverage.
Theoretically, that makes him a more versatile pairing with Benardrick McKinney, who is quite good between the tackles but is a liability in the passing game. That will take some time, however.
Second-round rookie Zach Cunningham will also see a bump in time, but he primarily plays the outside linebacker spot.
Another undrafted rookie, Brian Peters, figures to make the active roster for the Cincinnati game as a backup. Like Cole, Peters played very well overall in the preseason.