Nov 9, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish nose tackle Louis Nix (1) walks to the sideline in the third quarter against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Heinz Field. Pitt won 28-21. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
From the university that brought us Rudy comes our new nose tackle, Louis Nix. This is a position that was light under Wade Phillips vision of the Bulls on Parade and now has some weight behind it. 331Lbs of hard charging power. Nix also has been positioning himself to take over another position on the team. Most amazingly funny guy, last held by fan favorite Antonio “Ninja” Smith now of the Raiders. But that funny is backed up by solid play and a strong will to succeed, something the Texans need to hold the middle in Crennel’s defense.
Why we believe:
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He’s got style, his Twitter handle is “Irish Chocolate”. He’s got skills, just look at his stats from Notre Dame. 122 tackles and assists, 14 for loss. This isn’t some guy that’s gonna just plug the middle and try to hold a spot on the turf. He’s gonna make an impact as the big man in the middle. If he were on a team with lesser men around him you might expect that and be happy. Happily for the Texans when teams try to figure out “how do we beat these guys from Houston?” when it comes to Nix they have to look to his right for JJ Watt, to his left for Jared Crick and Jadeveon Clowney. Behind him, lurking like a madman with fire in his eyes will be Brian Cushing and probably Brooks reed. Then when they have that all figured out there is also Whitney Mercilus to account for. Oh and hiding on the edges, maybe he’ll rush maybe he won’t is DJ Swearinger. This means you go around Nix and risk getting slammed or try to go through him. Not a bad place to be for the Texans, or Nix.
Why we worry:
In a word, knees. When you’re a skinny little guy with a bad knee life isn’t good. When you’re a big bull of a man with the job of colliding repeatedly with other big bull men knees suddenly become a serious concern, knee problems become liabilities. Already he’s missed time in camp due to an undisclosed “minor” problem. The Texans haven’t much depth (none) on the roster to place Nix in terms of a big nose tackle and this has fans obviously concerned.
On the whole, Nix was still a steal in the third round. His stock had fallen due to concerns about his knees and while much of the chattering class was wondering if the Texans would grab a quarterback they went with the big man. If he’s healthy and able to withstand the rigors of the NFL Nix will be a solid addition to the defense and help make this team the defense no one wants to play against.
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