My Twitter mentions and email has been flooded with Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans asking about former Houston Texans safety D.J. Swearinger, who the Bucs claimed off of waivers on Tuesday.
Knowing a limited amount of information on Swearinger — except for knowing he hits but doesn’t tackle and struggles in coverage — many fans compare him to former Bucs safety Mark Barron. While I can understand the comparison, respectively, there still has to be more to the former Texan that made him appealing to the Buccaneers, right?
I reached out to good friend Pat Starr of StateOfTheTexans.com, who is a credentialed member of the Houston Texans’ media brass, to provide some information about the new 23-year-old Bucs safety.
“Swearinger through two seasons is the same player that the team drafted and there has been little improvement to his game,” Starr told TheBayCave.com. “His lack of range as a safety hurts him making him nothing more than a box safety. The lack of instincts hurt him reading coverages and is often the target in opposing teams passing games. Add in some suspect tackling, Swearinger is rough around the edges from a football stand point. More times than not, Swearinger leads with his shoulder out of control and led to 27 missed tackles in two seasons. There are times when Swearinger is able to put things together and be a playmaker and make a big play, but consistency is his biggest issue.”
Seeing how Swearinger’s past two seasons went in a Texans uniform you can understand how many have already made the comparisons to Barron. And what Starr said next should raise some concerns.
“The Texans were not afraid to let him walk with nothing in return, speaks volumes on how much the Texans wanted him not on the roster in 2015 and beyond.”
The 2013 second-rounder from South Carolina still carries some potential. However, Starr added that there is no telling what version of the young safety Tampa Bay has acquired.
Per Starr, Swearinger’s off-the-field antics did not bode well with head coach Bill O’Brien. Couple that with his questionable play and reports of him walking out of team meetings, you can understand why Houston had no issues letting him go.
Perhaps a change of scenery and a new coaching staff will do Swearinger some good. But with safeties Chris Conte, Major Wright, and Bradley McDougald presumably at the top of the safety rotation for Tampa Bay, Swearinger has a lot of work ahead of him this offseason if he wants to crack the starting lineup.