Digging Deep: D.J. Swearinger
If there is one player that seems to be drawing more interest, it has to be the second round pick of the Houston Texans, D.J. Swearinger from South Carolina. Swearinger is a player that plays with alot of confidence and looks to be the Texans’ future at the safety position.
We talked to Gamecock Man from the Garnett and Black Attack to talk more about Swearinger and what he brings to the table for the Texans.
What type of player did the Texans get with Swearinger?
Swearinger’s greatest strength is his hard-hitting style. He’s definitely a player in the classic mold of the safety who makes receivers fear for their lives when making a catch over the middle. He’s a ball hawk who made alot of big plays over the course of his career. I’d encourage you guys to look up his pick-six against Arkansas this year or his fumble return against UAB for evidence. He’s also a versatile player with solid coverage abilities, although he’s a bit too stiff to play corner in the NFL and he may be a liability covering slot receivers. Although known for his on-field swagger, he’s also a high-character kid who was a good student and was known as a leader in the locker room at Carolina.
I think he’s better suited for free safety because he’s the kind of player you want roaming the field looking to make a play. He’s versatile though and one of his strengths for the Texans will definitely be that he’s capable of backing up both positions early in his career. He even played a little bit of cornerback in college, although I doubt he could do so in the NFL.
What do you think of this comment about Swearinger from Todd McShay, “He’s going to have to be careful with the way he hits at the next level.”?
I agree with McShay. Swearinger is not shy to go for the brutal bone-cruching hit and he hits high sometimes. He’s drawn alot of penalties over the course of his career and, if I recall correctly, his response to one of them wasn’t that he screwed up, but that the rules were forcing players to get away from the way football should be played. That should give you an idea of his attitude.
Another thing to note in this regard is that he is often a little too physical with receivers in coverage. He’s gotten away with alot over the course of his career that will be called as pass interference in the NFL.
Swearinger made a comment when he signed with S.C. that they would not lose to Clemson while he was there. The Gamecocks went 4-0 during that stretch. Did he always back up what he talked?
I’d say he did, and he took a special interest in beating Clemson. On the subject of his hard hits, he drew a taunting penalty against Clemson this past year after a hard hit against Clemson runningback Andre Ellington. At the time, you wondered if the penalty would cost us. However, it actually seemed to accelerate our momentum in the game. The Carolina-Clemson series during our recent run has been characterized by Carolina’s ability to physically impose upon Clemson, and that play was the one where Carolina began to cower Clemson. The play is illustrative of Swearinger’s style. The aggressive play gets him in trouble sometimes, but he’s also a player who strikes fear into the opposition.
What did Swearinger mean to the Gamecocks’ program?
He’s a player we’ll all remember fondly. He had alot to do with Carolina’s emergence as a top program in recent years. His off-field devotion reflected the team’s new-found commitment to playing for elite status, and his on-field style reflected a new-found confidence for the program. He had a tangible effect on most of our big wins over the last couple of years.
What do you expect from Swearinger moving forward with the Texans in the NFL?
I think he’ll be excellent for you guys. Like I said, his versatility could make him a valuable backup in his first couple of years, while he’s learning the ropes of the league. When his time comes, I think he could be an excellent starting free safety for you. He’ll help you win games and fans will enjoy his style of play.