Rookies are always the talk of the team during training camp and the preseason around the NFL. The Houston Texans drafted a talented group, but it has been derailed some by injuries. Also, throw in a talented undrafted rookie class, the Texans have had an influx of young talent.
In the Texans rookie pulse, we are going to look at the top rookies from the halfway point of the 2013 preseason.
8. A.J. Bouye
He has been making plays since rookie mini camp and his play has put him in position to take a spot on the 53-man roster. A rangy corner that is still learning the game, he has been in great position during games and practices to make plays. He has shown that he can make interceptions with the best of them in practice, he just needs to learn how to finish plays during NFL games.
7. Alec Lemon
Coming into rookie mini camp, he was a virtual unknown and looked like he was trying to feel his way through practices. Fast forward to the first day of pads, Lemon has been a technician on the field with route running and catching the football. He has shown that he will go across the middle and, despite not the best 40 time, has the ability to stretch the field. With a crowded wide receiver group, Lemon has a chance to end up on the practice squad to develop for the coming seasons.
6. Justin Tuggle
Only playing defense for a year and a half in college, Tuggle has been a pleasant surprise. Starting both preseason games on defense, Tuggle has put together some solid performances against the Vikings and Dolphins. He is a three down outside linebacker that is still learning the game, but he has shown he has a natural feel for the linebacker position. The numbers game in his position group will make it tough for him but he should stay with the team in some form.
5. Willie Jefferson
Athletic, a raw natural pass rusher and the ability to cover ground is what makes Jefferson the talk of training camp. The former wide receiver has been a pass rushing specialist for the Texans and has been a normal fixture in their dime defensive packages. He has given offensive tackles plenty to think about coming off the edge, and goes against Duane Brown in practice and works him well in pass rush drills. Run game defense is an issue, but nothing can be taken for granted for a team that needs outside pass rush.
4. Ryan Griffin
The "trey" tight end for the Texans, the 6th round pick is going to be a good player for the Texans for a long time. Griffin has quietly had a good preseason not only catching the football but most importantly with his blocking ability. He is bigger than his fellow tightends but he will add that missing piece to an offense that likes using three tight ends at one time time. He fits the mold in what Texans like in that position and he could easily be a future starter for this team.
3. David Quessenberry
Could be the bargain of the draft class for his ability and what he has shown early in the preseason. The Texans tried to figure out what he was going to play but it looks like he has settled into the left guard position. It is hard not to like the rookie from San Jose State and it looks like he has what it takes to start for this offense. He can pass block well and has shown he understands the zone scheme as a run blocker. Quessenberry is a starter in waiting and it could possibly come by next season.
2. D.J. Swearinger
His style is what the Texans need on the defense, especially in the secondary. Swearinger has the big play ability that can change the game in an instant. He is a sure tackler that gives the Texans an athletic player to cover and play in the box. The third safety on the team will be a future leader of the defense.
1. DeAndre Hopkins
There is no more secret on what he brings to the offense and how he will balance out the threats on the field. Hopkins is instantly the best wide receiver opposite Andre Johnson with the small portion size seen of him during the preseason. Hopkins will make this team better and will be a future face of the franchise.