HOUSTON -- The most impressive rookie during the Houston Texans organized team activities, rookie minicamp and minicamp was free safety D.J. Swearinger, the team's second-round draft pick from the University of South Carolina.
He didn't make a lot of mental mistakes. He was always around the ball, whether playing deep or around the line of scrimmage.
When Ed Reed and Danieal Manning are starting, Swearinger will come off the bench and play around the line of scrimmage. He could participate in 50 percent of the defensive snaps.
"It's been excellent," coach Gary Kubiak said about Swearinger's progress. "In a lot of ways, he's operated like a starter from the standpoint of how much dime we're playing. He's very confident. You can see how he handles himself. He feels like he belongs, and he does.
"The fact that Ed's not out (following hip surgery) here really accelerates the process. I think that it's going to be a good thing for him in his career."
Of the four undrafted rookie running backs the Texans signed, Dennis Johnson from Arkansas has been the best. He's quick and shifty and seems to have adjusted well to the Texans' one-cut scheme.
"He's looked really good," Kubiak said. "Backs are hard to gauge when you're out here in the offseason. I love his conditioning. He can run all day. He's obviously got some skill. Can he pick up protection? Can he be a three-down player? Can he play special teams? Don't answer those questions until you put the pads on."
The Texans are interested in free agent fullback Vonta Leach, who was waived by Baltimore this week. Leach, who played five seasons with the Texans before moving to the Ravens the last two seasons, wants to return to Houston. However, the Texans are only $2.8 million under the salary cap, and they still have to sign their top three draft choices.
If Leach would take less money, the Texans would have him and Greg Jones at fullback.
"I think the world of Vonta," Kubiak said. "I've talked to him quite a bit, actually talked to him the morning after they won the Super Bowl. A good friend of mine. I respect him a lot. Hell of a player. Wherever he lands, he's going to play well. That's a compliment to our organization that he feels that way."