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Barwin signs with Texans


Defensive end Connor Barwin is expected to line up as a situational pass rusher opposite Mario Williams this season.

The Texans have signed their second-round draft pick, defensive end Connor Barwin. Barwin is the seventh of the Texans' eight draft picks to sign with the team, leaving first-rounder Brian Cushing as the only pick left unsigned.

Barwin (6-4, 256) signed his contract this morning and walked across the street and on to the Texans' practice field just before 9 a.m., about 30 minutes after the Texans' first training camp practice started.

"It meant a lot," Barwin said of participating in the first practice. "I missed OTAs, so I really didn't want to miss any more practices in training camp. This is really the important stuff. To be out here, with everybody and the rest of the rookies, I thought was really important."

Barwin, the 46th overall pick in the draft, missed OTAs because of Cincinnati's late graduation date. His only practices before training camp were during the Texans' three-day mini-camp in mid-June.

"I think I took a step back missing OTAs, but I rebounded at minicamp and kind of got up to speed," he said. "So I think I'm at the same level as every other rookie."

{QUOTE}If he makes up enough ground in training camp, Barwin could see the field early as a situational pass rusher this season. The Texans drafted him with the intent of lining him up opposite Mario Williams on passing downs and moving Antonio Smith inside to tackle.

Barwin, 22, ran a 4.66 40 at the combine and led the Big East with 12.0 sacks as a senior last year. He earned All-America and All-Big East Conference honors and was named Cincinnati's Most Valuable Player. He spent his first three seasons at Cincinnati at tight end, catching 38 passes for 539 yards and four touchdowns in his career. He also blocked five kicks on special teams and recovered three fumbles.

An all-league basketball player in high school, Barwin also walked on to the Cincinnati men's basketball team. The Detroit native played in 39 games as a backup forward. His versatility makes him a prime candidate to be an impact special teams player as a rookie.

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