*At the conclusion of June's minicamp, HoustonTexans.com huddled with the team's position coaches to get their respective thoughts on the projected starters. This is the tenth 'Coaches Commentary' in a series of articles that will go through the roster, position by position. This piece focuses on the club's nine draft picks, starting with second-rounder
S D.J. Swearinger
2nd round (57th overall)
University of South Carolina
“The first thing that comes to mind with D.J. is instincts. Certain things with good, young players, you won’t have to tell them. He’s that way. He just kind of feels his way through and falls into making plays effortlessly. That’s special. You can tell when a young guy has those kinds of instincts that he’s going to be a good player.
He’s a fun kid to coach and he’s a very confident guy which really helps. He believes in himself. When you watch his college film, the first thing you see is he’s a physical player. That won’t change. Being around the kid, he has no problem being physical.” –Defensive backs coach Vance Joseph
3rd Round (89th overall)
University of North Carolina
“Brennan we were excited to get. He’s a bigger tackle playing the right tackle spot from North Carolina and we’re excited to get him in. Unfortunately he got hurt early in camp so he wasn’t able to participate in OTAs, but we’re excited to get him in the rotation.
We originally drafted him with the idea he could challenge at that right tackle spot and provide depth as he develops. He’s a little more physical presence than some, was a very physical player at North Carolina. He has good athletics which is always important for us. He’s got that length and that attitude that we really like.
Brennan likes to operate in the run game and is able to work to the second level real well which is imperative for our scheme. I think he’ll be a great fit, it’ll just be a matter of time.”-Offensive line coach John Benton
3rd Round (95th overall)
Louisiana State University
“The characteristics of the young man are this: he’s big, strong, powerful, explosive individual.
As far as the run game, he has that play strength that you need to play early in this league. I think he’ll blend in well as far as the run game and setting the edge in our package.
He’s an explosive player, like I said; the play strength will help him make the transition quicker than later. . I don’t think he will have any problem transitioning into this league early.”-Linebackers coach Reggie Herring
4th Round (147th overall)
University of Connecticut
His play strength is really good, which is really important to me if you’ve heard me speak before. The transition to this league with the play strength, but the one thing he has that the rest of them on the board don’t is he’s fast, period.
The guy can fly, and the transition to this league without knowing any technique or fundamental skills on rushing the passer in this league, if you are fast, you have a chance to be successful early before you even learn any techniques. Fast is important.
Speed is very valuable in our defense, and that’s what he’s got, and that’s why I’m emphasizing that.”-Linebackers coach Reggie Herring
6th Round (176th overall)
San Jose State
“David’s another guy we really liked all the way leading up to the draft. I can’t believe we got both David and Brennan (Williams). We had both targeted and ended up with both of them so it was a good deal.
David’s really a great scheme fit with a great first step. He’s playing tackle for us now, but he has the kind of athletics and body type that we could move him around. He could end up at either guard spot or tackle. He’s gotten a lot of work at tackle with the injuries to Newton and Williams and has done very well.
He’s athletic, he’s still growing into his body a little bit, and I think there’s room for some added bulk and strength there. He’s already an explosive mover. He’s a very serious and a very committed young man. David’s been a pleasant surprise this spring.”-Offensive line coach John Benton
6th Round (195th overall)
“Alan is from a small school but he has some talent, he has some skills. He’s not afraid of competition. He’s a very confident young man but there is a learning curve for him, and he’s just got to continue to stay focused and do the little things.
I think when the light comes on, if he knows what to do he can go out and compete and play and help us. He has good hands, he explodes off the snap and because of that explosiveness, defensive backs have to respect that.
I think he’s a very confident guy but, at the same time, I don’t think he’s overconfident. He’s going to have to learn that he’ll have some highs and some lows and some ups and some downs, but he’s going to have to work through that and be a positive player form that standpoint.” –Wide receivers coach Larry Kirksey
6th Round (198th overall)
“So far Chris has got a long ways to go. He’s a guy that works hard. Isn’t the quickest or the biggest guy around but was the defensive MVP in the MAC last year with 12 sacks.
He’s just a grubber that just keeps going and slips of a block here and slips off a block there. He’s got his hands full to end up making the ball club but he’s come a long way in OTAs initially.
We see him as being a combination guy at nose and end both. We like the guys that can play all three positions because it makes them more valuable. If you’re able to suit up six guys for the game, you have a guy that you can move over.” –Assistant head coach/defensive line Bill Kollar
6th Round (201st overall)
University of Connecticut
“The thing that excites me about Ryan is I think he’s a tough-minded kid like Owen (Daniels) and Garrett (Graham). I don’t think he backs down to a lot of things that will happen on the field.
I think he has great receiving skills, his hands are great, he’s got a big radius. He’s a taller, longer type player. I think he runs really well for a big kid. He can get bigger, too. It’s still untapped potential.
You’re just dealing with a good athlete. and hopefully this system will fit him. There are a lot of things that he brings to the table, and I think he’s ahead of the curve.”- Tight ends coach Brian Pariani