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The Texans Should Bring Back This Former Star, And It’s Not Who You Think

The Texans have had a lot of talent go through the building since they were established in 2002. Famous names like recent hall-of-Famer Andre Johnson, H-Town legend JJ Watt, Brian Cushing, and Deandre Hopkins have all brought star power to different eras of the team. While Hopkins is still performing at a high level in Tennessee, we will set our eyes on a different former player who is holding down the line in Cincinnati.


Reading The History of Houston’s Best DJ

DJ Reader was drafted by the Houston Texans in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL draft with pick number 166. He proceeded to become a quality starter on the interior of Houston’s defensive line, playing alongside JJ Watt, Whitney Mercilus, and other members of the “lunch pail crew” during a prime defensive era in Houston. Reader was a force of consistency across his four seasons with the Texans, racking up a total of 154 tackles, 16 TFLs, 24 QB hits, and 6.5 sacks.

Stacking Strength On The Texans Line

While Reader isn’t an elite pass rusher from the DT/NT position like Justin Madubuike (who had 13 sacks this season), he provides great run-stuffing ability and comes at a significantly cheaper price. Reader is projected to earn a three-year, 45 million dollar contract with an average annual valuation of 15 million dollars. Compare that to the possible valuation of the elite defensive lineman in this year’s free agency pool, Chris Jones and Justin Madubuike.


Chris Jones is due a franchise tag value of over $32 million, more than double the projected annual evaluation of Reader. Even with a new contract, Jones will make $25 million or more per season for at least three years. Madubuike is projected to net at least $20 million per year and is expected to get a four-year deal as opposed to the three that Jones or Reader would get. Madubuike is also likely due some regression, due to low double-team rates and the league’s highest sack rate.

Getting An Edge On Opposing Quarterbacks

The biggest reason to bring in a veteran for the interior of the defensive line is to add stability for the Texans' third-overall pick from the 2023 draft. Will Anderson boasts an impressive ability to defend the run, which served the Texans during the majority of their 2023 campaign. If the interior of the defensive line becomes a better run-stuffing unit overall, it may allow Will Anderson Jr. to blossom into a premiere edge-rusher. That’s a chance that the Texans can’t pass up.





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