Texans inside linebacker Brian Cushing ranks 28th among defensive players. Per ESPN Stats and Info, Cushing's seven interceptions since 2009 lead all linebackers.
Cushing returns this season after recovering from an ACL tear in October. When lost, he was the defense's unquestioned leader. He returns to a contract year, as the Texans have talked about extending him, but haven't made any real progress toward it. If no deal is reached by the start of the regular season, Cushing will play out the final year of his contract before the team revisits the issue.
He might have been ranked higher but for his injury.
The lists were compiled from the votes of 63 experts from ESPN.com, ESPN TV, ESPN Radio, ESPN Insider, ESPN Stats and Info and ESPN's regional sites. Former AFC South Grand Poobah Paul Kuharsky was among the voters.