J.J. Watt. Jadeveon Clowney and... D.J. Reader?
Yes, D.J. Reader. He's the guy taking over Vince Wilfork's spot after the huge nose tackle retired this offseason.
The 23-year-old Reader, a Clemson alum, has some giant shoes to fill. From the sounds of it he's ready and willing.
"We have very high expectations of D.J.," Texans defensive line coach Anthony Weaver, a former defensive end for the Texans and Houston Chronicle. "I think you saw just a glimpse of what he's capable of a year ago. He's another guy that since he's been back, you can tell he's, and I think I speak for the whole defense, they all have a little bit of a chip (on their shoulders)."
Per the Chronicle, at 6-3, 335 pounds, Reader is capable of providing a stout presence clogging up the interior of the defense and occupying double-team blocks to keep the linebackers clean. He's athletic enough to line up at defensive end and bull his way into the backfield.
Reader started seven games as a rookie and finished with 22 tackles and one sack. How Reader continues to develop is a critical element for a front seven headlined by Watt, Clowney and linebackers Benardrick McKinney and Whitney Mercilus.
"Were we happy with what we did a year ago? Sure. But we all know what the ultimate goal is and I think everybody that walks into this building day-in and day-out, they come with the mindset of like, 'How are we going to get over this hurdle? How are we going to get to where we want to be?' And D.J., I think, he epitomizes that every time he walks in this building," said the defensive line coach.