Swearinger can cover TEs for Texans

April, 26, 2013
4/26/13
9:01
PM ET
One offseason debate we’ve had regarding the Houston Texans pertained to inside linebacker.

The team didn’t need to spend big dollars or a high pick on their second inside linebacker because he’s a two-down player. But if they had a guy capable of playing three downs, then they’d back off their dime with three safeties.

They just used their second-round pick, 57th overall, on South Carolina safety D.J. Swearinger.

While they are still due to add linebacker help, my guess is Wade Phillips will remain comfortable turning to three safeties.

Last year they were Danieal Manning, Glover Quin and Quintin Demps.

Now they will be Manning, Ed Reed and, probably, Swearinger.

For the Gamecocks he was a physical player who also saw time at cornerback.

"Since I was little its been a strong part of my game to be a physical force in the middle" Swearinger said in his conference call with Houston reporters, per Tania Ganguli of the Houston Chronicle.

The Texans seem to like the idea of cornerish cover skills in a linebackerish body for that third safety. Swearinger might not be equipped to line up against a slot receiver like Wes Welker, but perhaps he can give the Texans a better chance to line up opposite a tight end provided he has help behind him.

Wade Phillips indicated Swearinger will often play over the tight end as Quin did before he left as a free agent to Detroit.

Ideally, the Texans will still find an linebacker -- either an inside guy to play next to Brian Cushing or an outside guy who will allow Brooks Reed to move inside.

And if that new guy is good enough, perhaps the Texans can leave him on the field more for certain matchups, leaning on Swearinger against other guys.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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