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Nick’s Notes: Texans rookie mini-camp

Posted May 12, 2013

Quick notes from Texans Insider Nick Scurfield on DeAndre Hopkins, D.J. Swearinger, Case Keenum and more from the Texans' rookie mini-camp.

The Texans wrapped up a three-day, five-practice mini-camp for rookies and first-year players on Sunday.

Quick notes from the weekend:

1. DeAndre Hopkins looked every bit like a first-round draft pick. The Clemson wide receiver caught seemingly everything thrown his way, with at least one highlight-reel one-handed grab on all three days of practice. That included Sunday, when he caught a lofted deep ball from Case Keenum down the left sideline with his left hand while his right arm was being held by a defensive back who was on his back as Hopkins made the catch falling to the ground.

2. Texans coach Gary Kubiak had consistently high praise for Hopkins, the No. 27 overall pick in the 2013 draft. “He’s special,” Kubiak said Sunday. “Ball skills are extremely special. Very long; long arms. Big hands; you saw the catch he made out here today. He’s going to help us early, and we know that, and that’s why we brought him here.”

3. Second-round pick D.J. Swearinger also had a nice three days, highlighted by a savvy pick-six on Saturday morning. The South Carolina safety plays with a ton of confidence and clearly enjoys himself on the field, and it says something about his overall skill set that a player known for big hits shined in a non-contact setting.

4. Both of the Texans’ third-round picks were limited by injuries. Outside linebacker Sam Montgomery from LSU strained his back in the first practice on Friday morning. North Carolina tackle Brennan WilliamsSaturday morning knee injury was more serious, but Williams (and the Texans) fortunately escaped without any major damage.

5. Fourth-round pick Trevardo Williams “was exactly what we thought,” Kubiak said Sunday: “Tremendous speed. He can really run.” Kubiak said the UConn outside linebacker “is a little ahead of Montgomery,” who struggled with stiffness in his back, and that “settling them down at one spot, letting them compete, will be the key.”

6. Wide receiver Alan Bonner, a sixth-round pick from Jacksonville State, consistently flashed throughout mini-camp. He’s only 5-10 but is a barrel-chested 193 pounds and seems to play with a lot of strength and confidence. “His best day was this morning,” Kubiak said Sunday. “A ton of ability. It’s going to all be mental, making a change, what we ask him to do.”

7. Rookie mini-camp afforded Keenum a chance to be the leader of the group, seeing as he was one of seven Texans veterans who were eligible to participate and the only quarterback with any NFL experience. He didn’t disappoint.

8. Kubiak liked what he saw from all four of the Texans’ undrafted rookie running backs – Pittsburgh’s Ray Graham, Arkansas’ Dennis Johnson, Cincinnati’s George Winn and Notre Dame’s Cierre Wood – and  veteran Deji Karim, who tried out at mini-camp. One of them has an excellent chance to be the Texans’ third running back in 2013. Kubiak said Sunday it will come down to special teams play and that the Texans will take three of them to training camp.

9. The Texans had 89 players on the roster, leaving room for one more. They had 17 players in for tryouts, including Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein. Others included Notre Dame punter Ben Turk, the nephew of former Texans punter Matt Turk, and Nebraska nose tackle Baker Steinkuhler, the son of former Houston Oilers offensive lineman Dean Steinkuhler.

Twitter.com/NickScurfield

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