Lost amidst all the hype of training camp starting was the fact that the Houston Texans signed a player to compete for a spot on the roster. Nose tackle Chris Neild was brought in, and could serve as an insurance policy if the current back up nose tackle Louis Nix III continues to struggle with staying healthy.
The best thing about following a team though is getting to know the players, no matter how long the stay ends up being. So with that said, who is Chris Neild?
Chris Neild – Nose Tackle – 6’2″ 328 pounds- 7th Round pick in 2011 from West Virginia
The Washington Redskins selected the big lineman after he played four seasons in West Virginia. His best collegiate year was his sophomore campaign when he had 47 tackles and 2.5 sacks. For his entire college career he racked up 130 tackles, six sacks and an interception for the Mountaineers.
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The Redskins brought Neild in, and he performed well his rookie year where he had 10 tackles and two sacks, an admirable season for a guy selected so late and playing a position where stats are hard to come by.
In 2012 Neild tore his ACL and missed the entire season. He was able to return in 2013 and served as the primary back up nose tackle for the 3-4 defense that the Redskins run. He played in eight games last season and recorded only six tackles.
During the 2014 preseason another torn ACL cost Neild his season and he was not retained by the Washington Redskins.
What he brings to the team – Size and experience
Plain and simple Neild is a large man who can come in and spell a nose tackle if needed. He won’t jump out on film and won’t harass the opposing quarterback much, but he will do his job and occupy blockers.
The best thing about the West Virginia product is that he has been in an NFL 3-4 defense since coming into the league. Although he missed all of 2012 and 2014, he does have two seasons as the primary second-string nose tackle.
The reason this is so important to Houston is because a third round pick from a season ago, Louis Nix, is still struggling to stay on the field at all. Also, the player who looked poised to be the option should Nix still struggle with injuries, Brandon Ivory, is no longer with the team after an offseason arrest.