Heading into the 2013 offseason, the Houston Texans have one of their most pressing needs lingering at the inside linebacker position.
The Texans currently only have Brian Cushing (coming off of a serious knee injury), Darryl Sharpton (hip injury) and Mike Mohamed (inexperienced and signed to futures/reserve contract) under contract in 2013. While they could use free agency or the 2013 NFL Draft to fill the void, another option appears to be closer than the Texans think.
Brooks Reed, who spent his first two seasons with the Texans on the outside, could make the move inside in 2013 if need be.
“I think we have to continue to look that way,” Texans head coach Gary Kubiak said when asked about Reed’s potential move. “He’s very capable being a stack player… playing inside in our 3-4. Yes, that could happen. But we like him as a SAM. He’s a heck of a SAM player.”
Reed, a second-round pick out of Arizona in 2011, has held down the strongside linebacker spot for the Texans for the better part of the past two years. During that time, he has amassed 72 tackles and 8.5 sacks, including a team-rookie-record of 6.5 during his 2011 campaign. Despite battling injuries, Reed has played a significant role in the Texans’ playoff appearances over the last two seasons.
Especially if the Texans re-sign Connor Barwin this offseason, Houston could have enough starting-caliber outside linebackers to justify moving Reed inside.
“You’ve always got to have some versatility with one player or two players in various situations when you come across like what we did last year,” Kubiak continued. “Depending on what happens with our football team moving forward right now with Connor and some other things, I think Brooks will always give us some flexibility.”
Through two seasons, Reed has proven that he’s capable of being an impactful part of the Texans defense. He has the instincts, athleticism and strength to make the move inside, and shouldn’t have too much trouble with the transition if that’s the route Houston takes.