Early Monday morning Houston Texans safety D.J. Swearinger announced on instagram that he was leaving the team, writing “One heck of an opportunity #texannation I appreciate everything and the opportunity and memories!! It’s time for a new chapter and the defining moment of my career!! So long #HOUSTONTEXANS.”
It’s not completely clear at this point if he’s being released or was traded. I’m assuming a release, but will update if that changes.
I expect plenty to comment here on how bad Swearinger has been in Houston in his young career, but he is still very young and seems to have caught Mike Tomlin’s eye early in his career.
Coach Tomlin usually makes every player sound like a pro bowler when he’s scouting the upcoming opponent in his weekly press conferences. He did seem to spend a lot of time talking about Swearinger before the team faced the Houston Texans in 2014.
Tomlin started by saying that the young safety “really jumps off the tape.”
He continued “I really admire the way he plays. He plays with a great deal of heart and passion. He is consistently physical. He does a lot for them. He plays in deep defense. He plays in underneath zone. He plays man. He will man up against tight ends, running backs and even wide receivers. He is a participant in their blitz game as well.
“He has a well-rounded game. He is one of those on the rise, young and talented type of guys in our league.”
Swearinger, like Shamarko Thomas was drafted in the 2013 draft, but D.J. went much earlier (in the 2nd round). The Steelers were obviously looking for a safety at the time and probably spent some time scouting Swearinger.
Now, I realize D.J. is a lot like the questionable safeties the Steelers already have in Shamarko Thomas and Mike Mitchell.
He’s a smaller safety that can lay guys out, but looks to do so too often resulting in missed tackles, and was routinely beat in coverage.
That being said, Swearinger has already started 22 games in his young career. If Swearinger came in and proved he could be a good special teamer (which I think he has the disposition to be one), he could possibly push Robert Golden or Ross Ventrone off the roster, as neither player has the starting experience that the former Texan has.
Point being, D.J. has plenty of flaws but he also has some nice tools that Carnell Lake may be able to mold into at least a good backup player. There’s no young Troy Polamalu on this roster, so more options in an open competition in camp couldn’t hurt.