Free safety Ed Reed remains in Colorado undergoing rehabilitation after arthroscopic hip surgery. The Texans are hoping he'll be full speed at the start of training camp at the earliest and two weeks into camp at the latest.
Inside linebacker Brian Cushing was riding the stationary bike next to the practice field Monday. He underwent surgery to repair an anterior cruciate ligament in October and vows to be 100 percent at the start of camp.
Right tackle Derek Newton began running last week. He's still recovering from surgery on a patellar tendon in his right knee. The Texans hope he'll be ready for the start of camp.
Outside linebacker Brooks Reed, who underwent surgery on his groin in January, is 100 percent and is participating in the OTAs.
Inside linebacker Darryl Sharpton is still recovering from a hip injury that caused him to finish the season on injured reserve. He was on the practice field Monday, but couldn't go all out.
"We're going to be a little protective with him, keep him out of some special teams drills and stuff, but he's back to work," coach Gary Kubiak said.
With Ed Reed absent, rookie D.J. Swearinger, a second-round pick, is sharing time at free safety with Shiloh Keo, who is entering his third season.
Brooks Reed is getting a lot of time at Cushing's position. The coaches would like for another player to play well enough to start at strong-side linebacker so Brooks Reed can move inside.
"We know Brooks can line up outside and play tomorrow if we opened the season, so we're very concerned about getting him his reps inside from that standpoint," Kubiak said. "He's fine physically. He's a really sharp player, and he's got a bunch of it (the mental part) from phase two of the (offseason) program.
"We think it's best that he gets a ton of reps in the OTAs. It's better off if he gets them somewhere he hasn't played because we know he can always go back to the strong side."
With Brooks Reed working inside, a veteran and two rookies are competing at his strong-side position.
Bryan Braman, the Texans' best special teams player, is working with the first team. Rookies Sam Montgomery (third round) and Trevardo Williams (fourth) are behind him. The coaches would love for one of them to emerge as a starter.
Ryan Harris, a veteran who was the swing tackle last season, is running first team on the right side with Newton out. Rookie Brennan Williams, a third-round pick, suffered a minor knee injury in the rookie minicamp and isn't ready to challenge for the starting job.
During OTAs last year, the Texans didn't have quarterback Matt Schaub. He was undergoing rehab after major surgery on his foot. Now Schaub is back in his role as the team leader and playing with the starters.
"He's got a good season under his belt totally healthy, and he's had a good offseason," coach Gary Kubiak said. "It's a good time to have him back full speed."
Everyone was excited to see how rookie receiver DeAndre Hopkins performed with the starters. He was penciled in as a starter opposite Andre Johnson.
"We put him with the first group, and that's tough duty," coach Gary Kubiak said. "He's not only getting coached by us, he's getting coached by Matt (Schaub) in the huddle, and he's getting coached by Andre (Johnson) in the huddle, so that's the best thing for a young player like that.
"Put him in an environment where he's getting help from players as well as coaches, so it's been a step in the right direction."
Kubiak likes what he sees of Hopkins, the first-round pick from Clemson.
"First off, he was better, mentally," Kubiak said. "It's a big shock for these young guys to see how everyone works and how fast they are and the overall speed of things. The key for the next 10 days is to get them all comfortable with their teammates and what we're doing so that they can compete (in training camp)."
Receiver DeVier Posey is recovering from surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon. Early in the offseason, it looked as if he'd begin the regular season on physically unable to perform, but coach Gary Kubiak isn't so sure right now.
"He's doing really well," Kubiak said. "I think he's ahead of schedule. The big key for him will be when we go to (training) camp. Will he be a PUP, or somebody that looks like he's going to be ready early in the season? I don't know.
"His goal is to make it hard on us to put him on PUP once camp starts."
"They know I'm an open book. I'm here to tell them whatever they want to hear. They also know they aren't going to get much advice if they're not going to work hard. I told every single one of them, 'You need to be willing to come in here and work your tail off and prove to us that you belong here.' So far, these guys are doing a great job. That's what it takes to make it in this league and especially on this team. If you're not willing to work and put in the effort, then you're not going to make it very long."- DE J.J. Watt on what he told the rookies and first-year players when they reported for OTAs.
A closer look at the Texans' picks:
Round 1/27 - DeAndre Hopkins, WR, 6-1, 214, Clemson
The coaches are looking for a starter opposite Andre Johnson. Hopkins is a hard worker and a fast learner who gets off the line well and fights for the ball. He's aggressive and fearless. If he doesn't start right away, it'll be an upset.
Round 2/57 - D.S. Swearinger, FS, 5-11, 208, South Carolina
They wanted a young free safety for Ed Reed to groom. Swearinger lacks height, but he's fearless and a hard hitter. They envision him playing near the line of scrimmage in their "sub-package" that requires three safeties.
Round 3/89 - Brennan Williams, T, 6-6, 318, North Carolina
The son of 11-year veteran Brent Williams will compete for a starting job on the right side with incumbent Derek Newton, who's coming off major knee surgery. Williams has quick feet, a nasty streak and wants to "crack heads."
Round 3/95 - Sam Montgomery, OLB, 6-3, 262, LSU
The college defensive end will begin on the strong side. They like his strength, quickness and the way he plays the run and gets after the quarterback. If he has trouble dropping into coverage, he'll move to the weak side.
Round 4/124 - Trevardo Williams, OLB, 6-1, 241, Connecticut
Another college defensive end who'll make the transition to outside linebacker. He's undersized for the strong side, but that's where he'll begin. He has amazing quickness and speed to go with a closing burst to the passer.
Round 6/176 - David Quessenberry, T, 6-5, 302, San Jose State
A former tight end with quick feet, agility and balance. He has movement skills coaches like in their zone scheme. He needs work on technique, and he's got to get stronger and more consistent to compete for playing time.
Round 6/195 - Alan Bonner, WR, 5-10, 197, Jacksonville State
Had his best season as a senior with 54 catches for 1,100 yards and 15 touchdowns. He's best suited to play inside, where he'll compete for playing time with Keshawn Martin. He also might challenge Martin for return duties.
Round 6/198 - Chris Jones, NT, 6-2, 302, Bowling Green
They entered the draft looking for a backup nose tackle to Earl Mitchell. The MAC defensive player of the year will have to shade the center and play one gap. The idea is to get up the field fast and tie up blockers.
Round 6/201 - Ryan Griffin, TE, 6-6, 261, Connecticut
He's got outstanding size, but he's going to need a lot of development. The coaches would like to find a big tight end who's effective blocking on the line of scrimmage. He'll compete for playing time behind Owen Daniels and Garrett Graham.
C Antoine Caldwell was supposed to start at right guard in a contract year, but injuries cost him his starting job. He's not expected to be brought back.
DT Shaun Cody started 13 games but played hurt most of the season. He played well against the run. He had surgery on his spine and isn't expected to be re-signed.
LB Keyaron Fox was a backup who was injured in camp. He's not expected to return.
LB Bradie James signed a one-year deal and earned a starting spot opposite Brian Cushing. When Cushing was lost for the season in the sixth game, James had to elevate his game. He's not expected to return.
LB Jesse Nading was a backup linebacker and special teams player who could be re-signed for the minimum.
CB Stanford Routt was signed off the street and won't be brought back.
LB Barrett Ruud was signed off the street, played well off the bench, but won't be brought back.
(not tendered offers)
LB Mister Alexander (not tendered as ERFA) has a chance to make the team as a reserve who primarily plays on special teams if he's signed later.
LB Sam Montgomery (3/95): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
LB Trevardo Williams (4/124): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
T David Quessenberry (6/176): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
WR Alan Bonner (6/195): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
NT Chris Jones (6/198): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
TE Ryan Griffin (6/201): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
LB Tim Dobbins: UFA; terms unknown.
T Andrew Gardner: Not tendered as RFA; $650,000/1 yr.
T Ryan Harris: UFA; terms unknown.
CB Brice McCain: UFA; $5.25M/3 yrs, $2.25M guaranteed.
FB Greg Jones: UFA Jaguars; $1M/1 yr, $160,000 SB/$240,000 guaranteed.
RB/KR Deji Karim: Not tendered as RFA by Colts; terms unknown.
P Shane Lechler: UFA Raiders; $5.5M/3 yrs, $1M SB.
QB Stephen McGee: FA; terms unknown.
S Ed Reed: UFA Ravens; $15M/3 yrs, $5M guaranteed.
CB Alan Ball: UFA Jaguars; terms unknown.
LB Connor Barwin: UFA Eagles; $36M/6 yrs, $8M guaranteed.
T Rashad Butler: UFA Bengals; 1 yr, terms unknown.
FB/TE James Casey: UFA Eagles; $12M/3 yrs, $6M guaranteed.
S Quintin Demps: UFA Chiefs; terms unknown.
RB Justin Forsett: UFA Jaguars; terms unknown.
K Shayne Graham: UFA Browns; $940,000/1 yr.
P Donnie Jones: UFA Eagles; 1 yr, terms unknown.
S Glover Quin: UFA Lions; $23.5M/5 yrs, $5.25M SB.
WR Kevin Walter (released).