April 16, 2014

Rookie Mini Camp Notes: Day 1

bubble

With two sessions on Friday, we took in the first session of the Houston Texans Rookie Mini Camp at the Methodist Training Center. Practice was moved inside the “bubble” because of heavy thunderstorms in the morning. There were plenty of new faces in the Texans uniforms including draft picks, rookie free agents and tryout for both rookies and veterans.

 

Camp Notes Day 1

- Notable veterans working out for these three days, runningback Deji Karim (5-8 209 lbs.) and cornerback Terrence Wheatley (5-9 185 lbs.)

- DeAndre Hopkins showed his skills on day one, especially catching the football. He made a spectacular one-handed grab that he plucked out of the air with ease. Hopkins showed some crisp route running and ability to separate at the top of routes to create space for the quarterbacks to throw him the ball. He looks like a day one starter and the early impression makes him look like the right selection at the #27 overall pick.

-  Alan Bonner is bigger that what we expected at 5-10 and 193 lbs. Bonner is well put together and has some good ability to get in and out of his breaks while running routes. He has the build to be a NFL wide receiver, he will be one we will watch moving forward.

Brennan Williams and David Quessenbery are big offensive lineman with bright futures with the team. Both are players you want off the bus first at the opposing stadium. Williams is an athletic tackle who moves with ease and can get to the second level versus linebackers. Playing at North Carolina has helped Williams make the transition with the Texans and looks like he has a head start with the similarities with the zone offenses ran by the Texans and North Carolina.

- Rookie safety from Ohio State, Orhian Johnson is a tall imposing safety who is one of the most gifted players out on the field these next three days. At 6-3 and 215 lbs. Johnson has quick feet and speed to cover sideline to sideline as a free safety. He will intrigue as camp goes on and looks like one of the early players to watch in camp.

Dennis Johnson, Runningback, #28

Dennis Johnson, Runningback, #28

- The running back situation looks like it will be a dog fight when training camp arrives, but Dennis Johnson and Cierre Wood impressed early. Johnson (5-7 196 lbs.) can fit through tiny creases and catch the football out of the backfield, smaller in stature Johnson looks game ready with an impressive build. Wood (5-11 213 lbs.) reminds us some of current Texans running back Ben Tate with the downhill one cut running style that is necessary for this zone offense. Both rookies will be ones to watch especially with an open position on the 53 man roster at runningback.

- Cornerback A.J. Bouye (6-0 186 lbs.) looked good in coverage and held his own going against Hopkins. Bouye had a pass breakup, but his long frame allows him to play physical, the rookie from Central Florida started camp off well.

D.J. Swearinger, Safety, #36

D.J. Swearinger, Safety, #36

D.J. Swearinger was impressive with his leadership skills and directing traffic from the safety position. He was lining up players while taking care of his own business on the field. Swearinger has some early respect from his teammates on the field and is vocal enough to get the defense going. During drills Swearinger has quick feet with good hip movement, and fans are going to like what he brings to the team.

- 1st year tight end Jake Byrne looked good as a Texan in his first official practice. Signed shortly after the end the 2012 season, the blocking tight end, showed he had a good grasp of the offense and caught plenty of passes. Byrne is 6-4 and 260 lbs. and he also showed the ability to set the edge in the run game. (Without pads)

Chris Jones looks like a younger version of former Texans nose tackle, Shaun Cody. Jones has a quickness with his hands that is impressive, and when he hit the football dummies it made a loud enough noise to hear inside the practice bubble. He also has some nice footwork and will have to work on defending the run as training approaches.

The Texans have a total 56 players out at rookie mini camp for the next three days. 17 are on a tryout basis with Case Keenum, Phillip Supernaw, Delano Johnson, Nick Mondek, Jake Bryne, Cameron Collins and Keith Browner as the Texans 1st year players allowed to practice with the team.

 

You can follow Patrick on Twitter.  He is the Editor of State of the Texans.

 

 

 

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