Tag Archives: panini contenders 2013

Swearinger, DJ (2)

Card: Panini Contenders 2013
Acquired: 2017, EBay
See Also: DJ Swearinger

To say that DJ Swagg’s career went off the rails with the Texans would be an understatement.  After the tumultuous 2013 season, the Texans coaching staff was cleared out. In the meantime DJ started 12 games and contributed 2 interceptions, 6 pass deflections,  3 forced fumbles, a sack, and 52 tackles in 2014.

He’d be a surprising cut in 2015, and the Texans attempted to stay mum on the situation, but as these things go, somebody leaked to the media that Swagg refused to play special teams because of his lofty draft status (2nd round). Swagg was claimed by the Bucs for the season. He’d contribute in 7 games, forcing a fumble, and recording 8 tackles, before joining the Cardinals for 4 games.  Arizona liked what they saw, and employed DJ in almost every safety capacity they could use him in during 2016.  In 12 starts, he’d post 56 tackles, 2 sacks, 8 pass deflections, and 3 interceptions.  DJ signed a 3 year contract with the Washington Redskins in 2017 where he is expected to be their starting strong safety. He started all 16 games and posted his best year as a pro, lodging 79 tackles, .5 sacks, 10 pass deflections, and 4 interceptions for 32 yards. So far in 2018 he has put together a banner year for the Redskins improved defensive alignment balling out against the Giants recording 2 picks.

The 2013 Panini Contenders set had pretty solid, if not ordinary, design to it.  It’s purely designed in strong rectangles that break down the canvas into workable columns. The vertical autograph field is also somewhat unique. DJ’s autograph however, looks tired and sloppy on this card. The 2013 NFL draft was a terrible, terrible draft for the Texans of their 9 picks, only 3 players remain from that pool on the team.

Graham, Ray

Card: Panini Contenders 2013
Acquired: 2017, EBay

Ray Graham played football at Pitt from 2009 to 2012. He put together increasing numbers in each year, culminating in his Senior year when he ran 222 times for 1042 yards and 11 TDs.  Over 4 years he had 595 carries for 3271 yards and 32 TDs. Ray also displayed a really nice touch out of the backfield, catching 98 passes, including 36 in his Senior year.  Considered more of a slasher at the pro level, scouts tore apart his game and did not feel that Ray had the size to play at the pro level. He went unselected in the 2013 NFL Draft but signed a free agent contract with the Houston Texans.

The Texans were looking for runningback help. As nagging injuries were catching up with Arian Foster and Ben Tate, the Texans were looking for new blood to help out in the backfield.  They signed a trio of free agents- all promising backs: Ray, Cierre Wood, and Dennis Johnson. Ray had a decent preseason scoring a really nice TD against the Vikings, and as a natural zone runner, I really liked his style, but unfortunately in a game of numbers, he’d be cut- as the team opted to keep Wood.  Graham was picked up by the Steelers and added to their practice squad.

As things would have it, Arian Foster went down due to injury. Wood blew his chance with the team violating an ‘unspecified team rule’ and was released. Graham found himself back on the squad and rushed 4 times for 8 yards. He’d also make one catch for 12 yards.

Ray had enough talent to probably take his game to another team in 2014 after he was cut, but currently is considered a free agent or retired from the sport.

Bonner, Alan

Card: Panini Contenders 2013
Acquired: 2017, EBay

Speedy Alan Bonner was a sleeper pick in the 6th round of the 2013 NFL draft by the Houston Texans. During his 4 year stint at Jacksonville State University, Alan had 114 receptions, 1,976 yards, and 20 TDs.  He also contributed on special teams with 77 punt returns for  972 yards and a 64 yard TD.  The Texans hoped to develop Bonner under Andre Johnson alongside Deandre Hopkins, but it never came to pass. Bonner has spent almost his entire NFL career on injured reserve in some fashion. Despite having a head turning camp in 2015, he would not make the squad.

The 2013 NFL draft was not friendly to the Houston Texans. Outside of Hopkins, Ryan Griffin, and David Quessenberry,  the vast majority of players who were selected in this draft, are no longer on the team or in the NFL.