By DEEPI SIDHU, SportsRadio 610

HOUSTON (CBS Houston) – With Texans’ training camp starting July 26, Ed Reed’s return remains questionable. Who will step in for Ed Reed until he can return? With the departure of Glover Quin to Detroit, the Texans could have to rely on their second-round draft pick D.J. Swearinger to pick up the workload while Reed recovers.

The Texans are paying a high premium for the All-Pro Reed and his leadership on defense.  Reed, who underwent hip surgery in April to repair a torn labrum, is expected back sometime during training camp.  The 34-year old has expressed his concerns over returning too quickly and the Texans would likely agree after investing in a three-year, $15 million contract.

In OTAs Swearinger practiced with the second unit.  In dime packages, Swearinger was a first team safety along with Danieal Manning and Shiloh Keo.  Head coach Gary Kubiak has been pleased with Swearinger’s growth this offseason.

“It’s been excellent. In a lot of ways, he’s operated like a starter from the standpoint of how much dime were playing and what he’s doing for us in that position. Boy I was talking to a couple of coaches today, I think our young guys have probably come as far this offseason as we’ve ever had a young group of guys comes,” said Kubiak.

“He’s (Swearinger’s) just very confident. You can see how he handles himself. He feels like he belongs and he does. That’s what he did in college and that’s why we drafted him that high. We’re going to put him to work right away. The fact that (S) Ed (Reed) is not out here right now really accelerates the process. I think that it’s going to be a good thing for him in his career.”

However, a solid OTA performance is no match for the regular season.  How will the rookie fare if asked to step in for Reed?  Reed’s accomplishments and ability to read the quarterback is his distinct advantage.  The nine-time Pro Bowler is known as a ball hawk, finished his 2012 Super Bowl season with 58 tackles and a team-high four interceptions.

“That’s the biggest thing.  Transitioning from college ball to NFL ball is just a learning curve guys have. I struggled with that my first year coming out. I think all rookies do and I think your approach to it is what is going to help him (Swearinger). I think he’s approaching it the right way,” Safety Danieal Manning said via

Swearinger’s number of reps with the first team in training camp will be a good indicator of the team’s confidence in his ability to step in for Reed.  Mixing in a veteran on reps may indicate otherwise.