The Houston Texans need to add a defensive end to fit within their system, and there is a free agent who can help with the injury of J.J. Watt.
After eight games of the NFL season, the Houston Texans are 5-3 overall but have injuries mounting up at many positions. On Sunday in Week 8, following a tackle for loss by J.J. Watt, the Texans lost their top pass rusher for the remainder of the season with a torn pectoral.
The loss of Watt — which he confirmed on Twitter Sunday night — means the Texans need to find a defensive end who can produce in a 3-4 defensive scheme that defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel favors. A current free agent could help with that, and his name is Muhammad Wilkerson.
Wilkerson had a couple ankle surgeries in 2018 after playing in just three games in his one season with the Green Bay Packers last season. Before his time in Green Bay, Wilkerson played from 2011-17 with the New York Jets as he played in no less than 13 games in each of those seasons with the Jets.
The defensive end Wilkerson didn’t record a sack last season, but in his seven years with the Jets, he totaled 44.5 sacks, while also having 28 passes defensed.
In his last season with the Jets (2017), where Wilkerson played 13 games (12 starts), he totaled 3.5 sacks, four passes defensed and he had an interception.
Watt played in all eight games this season, where he totaled 24 combined tackles, four sacks and three passes defensed. In his nine-year career Watt has collected 96 sacks and 54 passes defensed.
As for Watt, Chris Cwik of Yahoo Sports wrote quickly about the recent injury history of the star defensive end:
"“The injury marks the third time in four years Watt has missed a chunk of the season due to an injury. He played in all 16 games last season, but was limited to just eight games combined during the 2016 and 2017 seasons.”"
Losing Watt is a very tough loss for the Texans, but the franchise needs to find a replacement right now, and a player they can add to the defense this week against the Jacksonville Jaguars, followed with a bye week to get more accustomed to the defense. A veteran like Wilkerson could be that player because of his experience in a 3-4 scheme.
Adding Wilkerson — who in 2018 was ranked 39th overall in the NFL Top 100 — via free agency would also save the Texans a draft pick too, which is needed too, unless the player is out of this world in an offer.
Wilkerson would be a solid addition to the defensive line with Watt out for the remainder of the season, and for now Wilkerson should be on the radar of the Texans moving forward.