The Houston Texans came up just a hair short of the postseason in ’09. Now, after assiduously fortifying the roster in every phase, they’re envisioned by a wide majority as a sure playoff competitor and even a dark horse Super Bowl contender for 2010.
Cornerback Dunta Robinson was a major attribute in aiding the Texans’ secondary, but was released in the offseason after having spent his first six seasons with the team.
Contrary to public opinion, I believe the release was the right move for the Texans. The following chart shows Robinson’s statistics over the years in Houston.
2004 Stats: 16 Starts, 16 Games, 87 TAK, 6 INT, 3 FF, 3 SCK (Rookie Year)
2005 Stats: 16 Starts, 16 Games, 88 TAK, 1 INT, 1 FF, 1 SCK
2006 Stats: 16 Starts, 16 Games, 82 TAK, 2 INT, 1 FF
2007 Stats: 9 Starts, 9 Games, 34 TAK, 2 INT
2008 Stats: 6 Starts, 11 Games, 38 TAK, 2 INT
2009 Stats: 16 Starts, 16 Games, 64 TAK, 1 FF
While injuries did come into play, and he was matched up against elite receivers, his numbers and overall performance clearly went south.
So now the question remains, who will take his place? This assignment uncovers the top five candidates to fill his shoes.
No. 5: Fred Bennett, CB
Like Dunta Robinson, Fred Bennett had his best year in his rookie debut with 62 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 2 forced fumbles in 8 starts.
His performance has seen an obvious decline, but he’ll still have one last opportunity to emerge as a solid, meticulous valued team contributor.
No. 4: Dominique Barber, FS
Dominique Barber improved his status last season receiving six starts by filling in for injury-prone free safety Eugene Wilson.
Barber reeled in 33 tackles and one interception. He shows signs of great potential ahead, as he enters his third season in the league.
He won’t start right away, but he’s sure to pick up some playing time, and could easily exceed expectations with exceptional growth.
No. 3: Glover Quinn, CB
Fourth-round pick Glover Quinn comes off a marvelous rookie year with 68 tackles in 12 starts. While his turnover column was empty, he’s been molded extremely well and has the skills set to unleash absolute havoc in his sophomore season with new additions.
No. 2: Bernard Pollard, SS
Bernard Pollard has served up 300 tackles, 7 interceptions, and 6 forced fumbles.
He’s already been given the infamous titles, “The Bonecrusher,” and “Patriot Killer,” and is one the most feared safeties in the league.
Pollard comes off a stellar first year with the Texans, and looks to have an incredible 5th season with aided help in the secondary.
No. 1: Kareem Jackson, CB
Rookie and first-round pick Kareem Jackson is the top candidate to seal the major abyss created with the release of Dunta Robinson.
He has excellent leadership, quickness, toughness, a winning mentality, and the experience in a pro system to quickly become an ample influence and brilliant asset in Week 1.
Other Possible Candidates
Jacques Reeves, Antwaun Molden, Eugene Wilson, second year veterans Troy Nolan and Brice McCain, and rookies Sherrick McManis and Nick Polk are the remaining possible, but unlikely candidates to fill Dunta Robinson’s shoes.