Darryl Sharpton shows athleticism, play-making ability

When the Texans drafted  linebacker Darryl Sharpton in the fourth round, they hoped the rookie would provide depth and excel on special teams.

Sharpton has been so good he has been playing backup to Zac Diles on the weak side and backup to DeMeco Ryans in the middle, where he played at Miami.

Sharpton is 5-11, 248 pounds, but he’s fast and athletic. He showed that when he made a diving interception in the third quarter at Arizona on Saturday. End Connor Barwin pressured QB Derek Anderson, who was forced to throw off balance. Sharpton also showed good hands, and his pick led to a Texans field goal.

“It’s good to see young guys like that make plays like that,” Texans coach Gary Kubiak said.

Ryans watched Sharpton make several good plays.

“He’s done great,” Ryans said. “He’s been a Mike linebacker calling the defense. He’s doing a good job of handling it.”

Barring injury, Sharpton doesn’t figure to start as a rookie, but being able to back up at both positions and be the kind of special-teams demon Joe Marciano loves makes him even more valuable.

As he showed against the Cardinals, Sharpton also is strong at the point of attack. Because he’s short he gets good leverage. Because he’s strong he anchors well and is tough to knock off his feet.

“And he’s going to get better and better,” Kubiak said.

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