D.J. Reader becoming an immovable force in the Houston Texans defense
By Jair Lopez
The Houston Texans have one of the best nose tackles in the game with D.J. Reader.
Houston Texans’ nose tackle D.J. Reader has been one of the most underrated players in the defense and is finally getting the spotlight that he deserves. A nose tackle has to worry of plugging up the middle of the offensive line and holding his own against blockers, but Reader has been able to do more than that.
Joining the Texans as a fifth-round selection in 2016, Reader worked his way up the depth chart since being Vince Wilfork’s back up and become an irreplaceable player in the front seven. From being a solid tackler to his undeniable hustle to chase down ball carriers, Reader has been an impactful player that has also helped the defense in getting pressure on the quarterback.
His ability to push the pocket and toy with interior offensive linemen has allowed other players to bring down the opposing quarterback. The Texans’ front seven have 11.5 sacks through the first four games of the season because of Reader’s high level of play in the interior of the defense.
Reader’s 1.5 sacks through four games are also the second-highest mark in his career, and he is half of sack from tying his season-high two sacks he had in 2018. The Clemson product has also had his fair share of dirty work in the trenches by allowing the linebackers to roam free to bring the opposing ball carriers.
Zach Cunningham’s 35 tackles and Benardrick Mckinney’s 32 tackles rank first and third respectively in total tackles for the Texans defense. Reader’s high level of play in the fourth and final year of his rookie deal is finally earning the credit he deserves and putting himself in prime position to cash in as a free agent in 2020.
Only missing two games since entering the league in 2016, Reader has been a dependable defender for the Texans, and it would make sense to work out a deal that works for both sides to avoid him from leaving in free agency.