The Houston Texans believe they got a steal when cornerback Glenn Earl was still on the draft board in the fourth round.
Earl, who attended Notre Dame, likely would have been a first-round selection if not for tearing two ligaments in his left knee that sidelined him the final six games of his senior season. He worked on a limited basis during the Texans' rookie minicamp earlier this month.
"We feel extremely good about the pick," Texans coach Dom Capers said. "We're going to have to be patient. Our medical people have looked at Glenn's knee, and I think he is on the same type of schedule Tony Hollings was a year ago. As I spoke to Glenn today, he tells me he's doing well, and our medical people feel he's doing well. We think he has exceptional talent at that position in the draft."
The Texans selected Hollings in the supplemental draft last summer but used him sparingly during the season as he recovered from a torn ACL.
"It's been a grind," Earl said of his rehab. "I've been hitting it hard the last five months just to get my knee back to where it used to be. It's been a lot of hard work, but that's nothing new to me. My knee is feeling great. I'm very optimistic. I definitely see myself full-go come the season."
Earl has the size (6-1, 222 pounds), speed (4.61 in the 40-yard dash) and toughness to provide the Texans with the quality depth they are seeking in the secondary. Known as an explosive hitter and physical tackler, Earl could be yet another piece in the team's revamped puzzle on defense.
"As we moved into year three, we felt our greatest need was to try to improve our defense," Capers said. "As the draft started, our goal was to improve our pass coverage and pass rush."
NOTES, QUOTES, ANECDOTES
—Texans safety Marcus Coleman has more to deal with than just a change of positions this offseason.
Coleman, who was switched from cornerback to free safety last month, was charged with misdemeanor driving while intoxicated after damaging his car in the early morning hours May 6. He was booked into the city jail and later freed on $500 bond.
The Houston Police Department, meanwhile, has opened an internal affairs investigation into whether one of their officers gave Coleman special treatment, The Houston Chronicle reported.
—Wide receiver Toby Christensen, in rookie minicamp as a tryout, has some NFL pedigree. He is the son of former Oakland Raiders Pro Bowler Todd Christensen.
"I know his father was a great player," coach Dom Capers said. "Those bloodlines normally help because you've grown up around it and things don't seem quite as big to you as maybe to a young man that hasn't been around it."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's one of the toughest positions. It's physically challenging. Sometimes you're out there on an island." - Texans coach Dom Capers on first-round pick Dunta Robinson adjusting to being the starter at right cornerback.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (3): OT Jimmy Herndon; C Ben Lynch; RB Stacey Mack.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers): C Chris Lorenti.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (1): S Marlon McCree.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.
PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: CB Jason Bell; S Curry Burns; LB Travis Carroll; DE Jason Davis; DT Curry Dawson; DT Jerry DeLoach; LB Troy Evans; CB DeMarcus Faggins; TE Jabari Holloway; OT Garrick Jones; WR J.J. Moses; TE Matt Murphy; FB Moran Norris; LB Shantee Orr; LS Bryan Pittman; DE Corey Sears; CB Jason Simmons; DT Jeremy Slechta; CB Darrick Vaughn; DE Gary Walker; C Todd Washington.
PLAYERS ACQUIRED: TE Mark Bruener; LB DaShon Polk; DT Robaire Smith; OT Todd Wade.
PLAYERS LOST: FB Greg Comella; CB Pat Dennis; LB Steve Foley; TE Rashod Kent; DT Steve Martin; QB Mike Quinn; OT Greg Randall; S Matt Stevens.
MEDICAL WATCH: QB B.J. Symons, a seventh round pick from Texas Tech, went through abbreviated workouts during rookie minicamp while recovering from offseason ACL surgery; G Chavis Smith, signed as an undrafted free agent, failed his physical.
PRAYERS TO THE FALLEN AT FT. HOOD