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Texans draft Alabama CB Jackson

HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Texans need a cornerback to start immediately.

Alabama’s Kareem Jackson is ready for that challenge.

The Texans selected Jackson with the 20th overall pick in the NFL draft Thursday night and said they plan to plug him right in on the right side of their defense.

“He played for Nick Saban,” Houston defense coordinator Frank Bush said. “He played in a complex system, so picking up our stuff shouldn’t be a real task for him. But we’re going to give him every opportunity to be a starter for our football team and contribute.”

Jackson isn’t daunted by the thought of being thrown into a starting role as a rookie.

“I think I can step in,” he said. “I’m a quick learner.”

The Texans needed a cornerback with the offseason departure of Dunta Robinson to the Falcons. Jackson is the first cornerback taken in the opening round by Houston since Robinson was chosen 10th overall in 2004.

The departure of Robinson, who was the best player in Houston’s secondary, left a big hole to fill for a team that faces Peyton Manning and Indianapolis twice a year and has only beaten the Colts once.

Bush said Jackson was more attractive than other cornerbacks available, including Boise State’s Kyle Wilson and Devin McCourty of Rutgers, because of the level of competition he saw in playing for Alabama’s national championship team last season.

“He had some opportunities to go against the Floridas of the world and play against Arkansas and all those other type teams, whereas some of those other kids don’t play against that competition,” Bush said. “So we felt good about this guy being able to make the next step because he’s played against a lot of the same guys he’ll be playing against at this level.”

The Texans, who are coming off their first winning season, liked that Jackson comes from a program that has had a lot of recent success.

“We like winners in this building and we’re trying to get more winners on our program,” Bush said.

Jackson started each game last season for the Crimson Tide and finished with 49 tackles. He appeared in all 41 games in his three-year career at Alabama and finished with 159 career tackles and had 29 pass deflections.

The 5-foot-10, 196-pound Jackson joins a young defense led by middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans, who also starred at Alabama.

“I didn’t get a chance to play with him, but I watched him there with the Texans,” Jackson said of Ryans. “He’s a great player and I’m very excited to be on the same side of the ball with him.”

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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Date: 4/22/2010 10:50 PM

Slug: BC-FBN–Draft-Texans,1st Ld-Writethru

Headline: Texans draft Alabama CB Jackson

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BC-FBN–Draft-Texans, 1st Ld-Writethru,0459 Texans draft Alabama CB Jackson 2020 Eds: ADDS details. AP Photo NY212 usac/roaming login/dzeliochi fasst4731 By KRISTIE RIEKEN AP Sports Writer HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Texans need a cornerback to start immediately. Alabama’s Kareem Jackson is ready for that challenge. The Texans selected Jackson with the 20th overall pick in the NFL draft Thursday night and said they plan to plug him right in on the right side of their defense. “He played for Nick Saban,” Houston defense coordinator Frank Bush said. “He played in a complex system, so picking up our stuff shouldn’t be a real task for him. But we’re going to give him every opportunity to be a starter for our football team and contribute.” Jackson isn’t daunted by the thought of being thrown into a starting role as a rookie. “I think I can step in,” he said. “I’m a quick learner.” The Texans needed a cornerback with the offseason departure of Dunta Robinson to the Falcons. Jackson is the first cornerback taken in the opening round by Houston since Robinson was chosen 10th overall in 2004. The departure of Robinson, who was the best player in Houston’s secondary, left a big hole to fill for a team that faces Peyton Manning and Indianapolis twice a year and has only beaten the Colts once. Bush said Jackson was more attractive than other cornerbacks available, including Boise State’s Kyle Wilson and Devin McCourty of Rutgers, because of the level of competition he saw in playing for Alabama’s national championship team last season. “He had some opportunities to go against the Floridas of the world and play against Arkansas and all those other type teams, whereas some of those other kids don’t play against that competition,” Bush said. “So we felt good about this guy being able to make the next step because he’s played against a lot of the same guys he’ll be playing against at this level.” The Texans, who are coming off their first winning season, liked that Jackson comes from a program that has had a lot of recent success. “We like winners in this building and we’re trying to get more winners on our program,” Bush said. Jackson started each game last season for the Crimson Tide and finished with 49 tackles. He appeared in all 41 games in his three-year career at Alabama and finished with 159 career tackles and had 29 pass deflections. The 5-foot-10, 196-pound Jackson joins a young defense led by middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans, who also starred at Alabama. “I didn’t get a chance to play with him, but I watched him there with the Texans,” Jackson said of Ryans. “He’s a great player and I’m very excited to be on the same side of the ball with him.”