By Alex Del Barrio

HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – Texans second-year nose tackle DJ Reader role is going to increase in 2017 with the departure and pending retirement of veteran Vince Wilfork.

Without his mentor by his side, Reader will be asked to fill in his spot, and play alongside the returning JJ Watt on the defensive line. Reader is hoping to just to take the next step in his Texans career.

“Trying to improve. (Wilfork) taught me a lot last year,” Reader said on Tuesday. “I can’t say I am him, I can’t try to be him. I just gotta go out there and try to be the best DJ Reader I can be.”

Despite his mentor being going, Reader mentioned staying in constant contact with Wilfork regarding other things besides football, but that he’s available for advice whenever it is needed. Now as he becomes the regular nose tackle, Reader aims to learn from both Jadeveon Clowney and JJ Watt as he enters year two of his NFL career.

“Keep improving as a player just enjoy my time out here with the Texans,” Reader said on Tuesday. “Learn from those guys with (Clowney) and (Watt) around me and just keep improving. Hey better and better each time I go out there.”

Alex Del Barrio covers the Houston Texans for and is the color commentator for the Houston Dynamo. He also hosts “ADB and Murph” with Matt Murphy which can be heard on Saturday afternoons 4-7 pm  Follow Alex Del Barrio on Twitter: @alexdelbarrio


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