Michael Conroy/Associated Press
The undrafted free agent, Max Bullough, out of Michigan State isn't a five-tool player so to speak, but what he does, he does very well. For him, that thing is run defense.
Bullough was part of a very stout run defense last year that allowed just 86.3 rushing yards per game. The two-time team captain was a huge reason why the Spartans were so successful in that area. What Bullough lacks in great speed or athleticism, he makes up for with great instincts and technique to make plays in the hole.
Nolan Nawrocki of NFL.com, who had Bullough as a fourth- or fifth-round pick, believes he can be successful in the NFL.
Keys and diagnoses quickly, understands run fits and spills willingly. Physical -- good take-on/tackle strength between the tackles. Pursues hard. Good tackler when he's able to square up ball carriers. ...
Big, tough, experienced, durable, competitive Mike linebacker who was a heart-and-soul type for the stingiest defense in college football. Like a coach on the field, Bullough is a throwback talent whose instincts and technique will have to compensate for athletic limitations for him to win a starting role.
He lacks some of the measurables you look for from the position, so it's no surprise that he didn't wow scouts at the predraft workouts, but he's a player who plays better than what the numbers say—just put on the tape.
Bullough is physical, he's a sure tackler and he is rarely out of position and reacts quickly enough to make up for his lack of speed or elite athleticism.
Since he's not a physical freak like Jadeveon Clowney, what he does well won't show up during minicamp or OTAs when they're running around in shorts. Once the pads are put on, what he can bring to the table should become obvious.
Bullough has clear limitations, but he could become a great specialty player for the Texans. He isn't athletic enough or fast enough to cover tight ends in coverage, but he'd be very useful as a situational run defender.
The Texans don't have a no-doubt, every-down inside linebacker next to Brian Cushing, so I think their best option is to rotate players depending on the situation until one emerges.
On first-down, short-yardage situations, or any run situation for that matter, Bullough should be on the field. On definite passing situations, Jeff Tarpinian should be on the field. Otherwise, Brooks Reed and Akeem Dent will rotate at the position.
On top of being a great run defender, Bullough is also a guy who should excel on special teams. That versatility should allow the undrafted free agent to make the roster and receive playing time.