Texans have high hopes for nose tackle D.J. Reader

Texans have high hopes for nose tackle D.J. Reader

Photo: Brett Coomer, Staff

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Houston Texans nose tackle D.J. Reader stretches during rookie mini camp at The Methodist Training Center on Saturday, May 7, 2016, in Houston. ( Brett Coomer / Houston Chronicle )

Houston Texans nose tackle D.J. Reader stretches during rookie mini camp at The Methodist Training Center on Saturday, May 7, 2016, in Houston. ( Brett Coomer / Houston Chronicle )

Photo: Brett Coomer, Staff

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SANTA CLARA, CA - AUGUST 14: Nose tackle D.J. Reader #98 of the Houston Texans pursues the play against the San Francisco 49ers in the third quarter in a preseason game at Levi's Stadium on August 14, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) less SANTA CLARA, CA - AUGUST 14: Nose tackle D.J. Reader #98 of the Houston Texans pursues the play against the San Francisco 49ers in the third quarter in a preseason game at Levi's Stadium on August 14, 2016 in ... more Photo: Thearon W. Henderson, Stringer

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D.J. Reader demonstrated good pass-rushing ability for an interior lineman in his rookie season.

D.J. Reader demonstrated good pass-rushing ability for an interior lineman in his rookie season.

Photo: Brett Coomer, Staff

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Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, left, and nose tackle D.J. Reader (98) stand on the field during OTAs at The Methodist Training Center on Wednesday, May 31, 2017, in Houston.

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, left, and nose tackle D.J. Reader (98) stand on the field during OTAs at The Methodist Training Center on Wednesday, May 31, 2017, in Houston.

Photo: Brett Coomer, Houston Chronicle

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Texans rookie nose tackle D.J. Reader (98) has recorded 16 tackles (two for losses), two quarterback hits and one sack this season.

Texans rookie nose tackle D.J. Reader (98) has recorded 16 tackles (two for losses), two quarterback hits and one sack this season.

Photo: Brett Coomer, Staff

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Houston Texans nose tackle D.J. Reader runs during warm ups at rookie mini camp at The Methodist Training Center on Saturday, May 7, 2016, in Houston. ( Brett Coomer / Houston Chronicle )

Houston Texans nose tackle D.J. Reader runs during warm ups at rookie mini camp at The Methodist Training Center on Saturday, May 7, 2016, in Houston. ( Brett Coomer / Houston Chronicle )

Photo: Brett Coomer, Staff

As a rookie, Texans nose tackle D.J. Reader built a reputation for versatility, toughness and a willingness to accept coaching.

Besides being mentored by five-time Pro Bowl nose tackle Vince Wilfork, Reader soaked up knowledge from defensive line coach Anthony Weaver and defensive ends J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney.

Reader flashed enough ability to shed blocks as a run-stopper and pass rusher that the Texans have no concerns about his ability to replace Wilfork in the middle of the NFL's top-ranked defense.

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.

"We have very high expectations of D.J.," said Weaver, a former defensive end for the Texans and Baltimore Ravens. " 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).

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"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."

Source : http://www.chron.com/sports/texans/article/Texans-have-high-hopes-for-nose-tackle-D-J-Reader-11263310.php

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