- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter
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Three of the four teams in the AFC South are coming off weekend minicamps for their rookies. It's a time of year when virtually everything that comes out is positive. The teams had different levels of media availability. But as best we can, we’ll review the primary players and themes out of those camps today, starting with the Houston Texans.
The top pick:
Coach Gary Kubiak thought receiver DeAndre Hopkins made a great first impression and that Hopkins and sixth-round receiver Alan Bonner give the Texans a chance to improve yards after the catch, writes Tania Ganguli of the Houston Chronicle. “Right now, it’s really a matter of settling him down mentally and learning what he’s doing so all the skill keeps taking over where it’s not a bog-down process,” Gary Kubiak said. “It’s going to be a big six weeks for him.”
The No. 2 pick:
D.J. Swearinger had a “savvy pick-six” at a Saturday practice, per Nick Scurfield of the team’s website. Out of his main observations from rookie camp he wrote, “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." Additional talk of Swearinger via Scurfield here.
Kubiak always heaps praise on his quarterbacks, and second-year man Case Keenum was the lead dog at this camp and got that treatment from his coach, says John McClain. Kubiak and Keenum both liked what they saw from Collin Klein who was at camp on a tryout basis, says Ganguli.
Running back opportunity:
Behind Arian Foster and Ben Tate, there is room for a third running back. Four undrafted backs know there is a chance. In addition to Dennis Johnson, George Winn, Cierre Wood and Ray Graham, the Texans also brought in Deji Karim, who scored a return touchdown against them for the Colts last year, for a tryout over the weekend, says Ganguli.
Small schools, big hopes:
Klein is not the only former Kansas State quarterback among the team’s undrafted rookies, says Ganguli. Justin Tuggle was behind Klein and moved to linebacker. Now he’s trying to earn a spot with the Texans.
Sam Montgomery had some lower back tightness after bad weather forced the first workout inside the practice bubble on artificial turf, said Dale Robertson. Hopkins and Bonner dealt with some cramps Friday at their first outdoor practice but returned the next day. Third-round tackle Brennan Williams suffered a knee injury but an MRI showed it to be not surgical and he should be back to work in a week, says Ganguli.
Brett Coomer of the Chronicle has a slideshow from the camp.
Outside the mainstream:
Three of the four teams in the AFC South are coming off weekend minicamps for their rookies. It's a time of year when virtually everything that comes out is positive.