Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 6/28/13
The Texans lost Connor Barwin and Kevin Walter to free agency - both major blows to this team and their chances of moving on in the playoff picture in 2013. While there is plenty of talent, there is still a need for depth on the defensive line/linebacker and at the second wide receiver position.The Houston Texans wanted to make sure they not only reloaded at certain positions, they found starters who could be game-changers from the start or in the near future.Now that minicamp, OTAs and rookie camp are over, here are five rookies who looked to have made an impact on the coaching staff and the local media in Texas.DeAndre Hopkins: According to HoustonTexans.com, Hopkins made the most of his first impression. Head coach Gary Kubiak was very impressed with the first round draft pick, who seemed to have caught everything thrown his way. That is a great sign for someone who will likely start opposite of Andre Johnson. GRADE: ADJ Swearinger: If there was a player who was in the right place at the right time, it was Swearinger. He comes into a situation where he can make and impact and learn from one of the greatest to ever play in the game - Ed Reed. This is a "Ronnie Lott" type of hitter, much like Reed. Swearinger has picked up the system and was effective in time with the first and second units. GRADE: A-Sam Montgomery: He may not have been the impressive figure in rookie minicamp that the team had hoped for, but don't count him out. Montgomery, who played at LSU, appeared to be behind Trevardo Williams in terms of picking up the defense, but that does not mean he won't be ready come the start of the season. GRADE: C-Alan Bonner: May be the best draft pick for the team as a sixth rounder. The Jacksonville State product has some speed to burn, reminds some of Percy Harvin and could be dangerous on kick coverages. Anither gem this team found in the later rounds again. GRADE: B+Case Keenum: He is a local product, so you know he will get some attention. He played at the high powered University of Houston, a team that loved to air it out. He is competing with Collin Klein for a potential roster spot. If anything, I see Keenum as a practice squad guy and a local cult hero. GRADE: C
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