J.J. Watt calls D.J. Reader best nose guard in NFL

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Grab your cup of coffee, huddle up by the fireside and prepare for a little nose guard talk.

It's part of the defense we rarely touch on, but J.J. Watt believes the Texans have someone who will change that vibe in D.J. Reader.

"I think nose guard is a position that is easily overlooked in this league because everyone wants sacks and big numbers, but I think D.J. does an incredibly job at what he does," Watt said, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. "In my opinion, he's the best nose guard in the league. I don't know if nose guards even make the Pro Bowl anymore just because of how it's set up, but I'll always be pushing for D.J. to make it."

Reader was a consistent run-stuffer who added his share of hurries and one quarterback sack for the Texans. The 2016 fifth-rounder finished last season on injured reserve with a sprained knee, but has otherwise been a rock over the past two seasons since Houston grabbed him in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

We all know someone like this at work: The quiet grinder who goes about the job minus fanfare, but Houston's 3-4 nose tackle helps set the table for Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, Whitney Mercilus and anyone else planning to take out opposing quarterbacks.

"I'll always be pushing for him to get all the recognition he deserves, because while what he does sometimes goes unnoticed outside of our room, every single day we're watching the film and I see how important he is, not only to myself, but to the linebackers and the rest of the defense," Watt said. "D.J. deserves a ton of credit that he doesn't often get."

The key in Houston is staying on the field. Reader wasn't there at the end of the year, and Watt missed all but eight games over the past two seasons with back and knee issues. If this group can keep healthy, the Texans are poised for a bounce-back campaign on defense -- with Reader right in the middle.

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