Wish to make a one time donation? Make it here.

5th Round pick (1B) DJ Reader DT Clemson

PapaL

Loose Screw
GRADE
5.25

D.J. Reader (NT)
HT: 6'3" WT: 327LBS.

POSITION: NT

SCHOOL: Clemson

ARM LENGTH: 33 5/8"

HANDS: 9 1/2"


Overview
It's been a tough road for Reader since his father passed away in 2014, but if NFL scouts believe he is through that rough patch, they will have great interest in his ability to eat space in the middle of the defensive line. Just before the 2015 season began, Reader decided to leave the team for personal reasons. He returned in October, playing nine games on the year (13 tackles, 1.5 for loss). Expectations were high for Reader coming into the season because the Tigers lost a lot of talent to the NFL, and he flashed as a top reserve as a sophomore (43 tackles, five TFL, three sacks) and junior (27 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks). Even as a freshman, who was highly-rated as both an offensive line and defensive line prospect out of high school, Reader earned a lot of playing time (40 tackles). He even played first base for the Clemson baseball in the spring of 2013, though his playing time was limited (0-for-3, three putouts in seven games).


COMBINE STATS
  • 40 YARD DASH: 5.33 SEC
  • BENCH PRESS: 30 REPS
  • VERTICAL JUMP: 29.5 INCH
  • BROAD JUMP: 99.0 INCH
  • 3 CONE DRILL: 7.90 SEC
  • 20 YARD SHUTTLE: 4.71 SEC

ANALYSIS
Strengths
Carries his 340 pounds fairly well on his stout frame. Almost always the low man at the point of attack. Able to leverage blockers and displace them. Plays with enough motor to chase the play down the field. If single blocked, will absolutely push the pocket as a rusher.

Weaknesses
Rotational defensive lineman who lacked production. Gets initial push, but fails to shed blockers in time to make many tackles. Needs more coaching to improve his hands. Once he's on the move and engaged with a blocker, fails to consistently find the ballcarrier and ball.

Draft Projection
Rounds 6 or 7

Sources Tell Us
"Just a plugger. He looks good at the Senior Bowl in one-on-one drills because he's stronger than these guys, but scouts tell me that in games he's limited." -- NFC defensive line coach

NFL Comparison
Justin Ellis

Bottom Line
Squatty, strong nose tackle who is able to push smaller centers around in phone booth battles, but unable to consistently be a disruptive force up front. Reader has the strength and potential to believe that his Senior Bowl flashes could turn into something more in the NFL, even though that might just be as a career backup.
 

Thorn

Dirty Old Man
We needed someone for NT. Wilfork isn't lasting much longer. He probably isn't coming back next year.
 

badboy

Hall of Fame
I posted elsewhere that Reader's died died apprx June 2014 and he took it very hard; went to coach in 2015 and took some time off. Team voted to take him back.
http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20140823/PC20/140829659/1032/clemsons-dj-reader-keeps-playing-for-his-biggest-fan-after-dads-death-2-months-ago

It has been over a year since the man most responsible for his Clemson career passed away. D.J. Reader has accepted that finally, after months spent wondering why.

So he goes into the start of camp today with a renewed focus, a renewed energy, a renewed confidence, knowing his time to start has finally arrived. His father, David, is not here to see it. But D.J. Reader believes everything his dad taught him brought him prepared him for this moment.

Because David Reader taught his son everything -- he home-schooled him for several years in elementary school. He went with him to football practice, baseball practice, basketball practice, going over the finer points. He taught him to open his heart to others, to be generous, to always give.

D.J. Reader understood. He wanted to give to his dad, in need of a kidney transplant last summer. His dad refused, starting dialysis treatments early so there was no way his son could be a kidney donor. A week before he died, David Reader challenged his son.

"He told me, 'Look, son you’ve got to be ready. I’ve been training you since you were 1 year old to be ready for the day that I’m gone,'" D.J. Reader recently recalled. "You have to impact this world and make it a better place with the tools I’ve given you."

David Reader died one day before D.J. turned 20. When his mom delivered the news, D.J. Reader was crushed. But his mother remained stoic on the line.

"She just reiterated what my dad had always told me, 'to whom much is given, much is required,'" D.J. Reader said. "That situation was given to me. There was nothing I could do to control it. It was required of me to get over it as a man and move on. I’m honored that I wear the same last name as my father and the same first name. I’m a spitting image of him, and I take pride in that. It’s a blessing."

Still, D.J. Reader says most of last year was "a little cloudy." It took midway through the football season for him to accept what had happened.

"I said, 'He wouldn’t want me moping. He’d want me to pick up because he’s never moped over himself,'" Reader said. "I watched him lose his mother, and he would never shy away from a challenge. So he taught me that young, and I was like, 'You know what? He’s not coming back, but he’s here with me every day and all I can do is honor him and make the best of what I have."

That means having a huge senior season. Reader is set to become a full-time starter at defensive tackle on a completely revamped Clemson defensive line, one that lost all four starters -- including two to the NFL draft.

There are those who look at the new-look line and wonder how the Tigers will fare, a year after ranking as the No. 1 defense in America.

"We plan on improving," Reader said. "We don’t plan on going backward. We’re excited about the opportunity, and we’re going to go out there and shake a few people’s heads who didn’t quite believe in us this year. We’re playing with a little chip."

Reader is playing with much more.
http://espn.go.com/blog/acc/post/_/id/83779/fathers-memory-spurs-on-clemson-dt-d-j-reader
 

thunderkyss

It's good to be me... again.
Staff member
Contributor's Club
Future two down run plugger to replace Wilfork. He'll be good at it too.
I wasn't too happy with Wilfork last season. Seems to have lost a heck of a lot of explosiveness.

I'm hoping the big guy's rededictated himself to his craft, I know he's 30 something, but I'm hoping.

If not, maybe DJ can present a case for a lot of snaps this season.
 

WolverineFan

Hall of Fame
I wasn't too happy with Wilfork last season. Seems to have lost a heck of a lot of explosiveness.

I'm hoping the big guy's rededictated himself to his craft, I know he's 30 something, but I'm hoping.

If not, maybe DJ can present a case for a lot of snaps this season.
There's a reason the Pats let him walk. His body is just done at this point.
 

PapaL

Loose Screw
My dad passed ~2 years ago...I can relate to this entirely too much. Last year Covington was my adopted rookie, Reader shall be it this year.
 

CloakNNNdagger

Hall of Fame
I wasn't too happy with Wilfork last season. Seems to have lost a heck of a lot of explosiveness.

I'm hoping the big guy's rededictated himself to his craft, I know he's 30 something, but I'm hoping.

If not, maybe DJ can present a case for a lot of snaps this season.
Before he came to us and was put in at his "old" role of NT, the Patriots were smart to recognize that at this point in his career and after sustaining his Achilles rupture, he would do better at DE........they used him correctly and were rewarded for it.
 

DocBar

Hall of Fame
Contributor's Club
Before he came to us and was put in at his "old" role of NT, the Patriots were smart to recognize that at this point in his career and after sustaining his Achilles rupture, he would do better at DE........they used him correctly and were rewarded for it.
Maybe the Texans plan on using Reader at NT and Wilfork at DE? That would be a tough duo to run against and entirely free up the ILB's to make plays.
 

Hervoyel

BUENO!
You know the thing about these big-ass meatball NT's is that you can actually find one without much trouble. You would think a man this size would be hard to find but they're not. It's getting one who can play (size of the fight in the dog analogy - except that in this version they're all big dogs). I almost think we're as likely to find our guy down here in round 5 as we would have been in rounds 1-4. Look how many big NT candidates fall short at this level. Teams waste a lot of 1's and 2's trying to get these guys. Reader seems like a good investment in the 5th round.
 

badboy

Hall of Fame
One thing you can say about this 325-pound defensive tackle is that he has always been a very athletic big man. He was a multiple sport star in high school and even played baseball and part time fullback with Clemson, in addition to his full-time defensive tackle duties on the Tigers' front.
Played over the center at nose guard and the three-technique position for Tigers. Moves very well given his size. You can see why many programs liked him initially at guard, because Reader has terrific feet and nice short-area quickness.
Shows good agility, especially in traffic. He gets off the ball well and plays with good leverage. Can get up field and be a pass rush presence, though he is more dependable against the run.

An impressive mover for his size, Reader looked balanced and carried his weight well during drills at the Senior Bowl. He showed the lower-body flexibility to play low and win the leverage battle
http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1983526/dj-reader
 

Hervoyel

BUENO!
The more I read about this guy the more I think that we are going to be happy we burned a pick on him. It seems like his "breakout year" was this past one but he missed 7 games for personal reasons and so it didn't happen. If he'd stayed with the team all year I think he'd have been long gone by the time this pick rolled around. Those personal reasons are cause for concern but I would hope that the Texans checked that out.

We get this man some BBQ and make him room with Wilfork and we got a chance for (like kiwi alluded to) maybe the player Nix might have been/refused to become.
 

PapaL

Loose Screw
The more I read about this guy the more I think that we are going to be happy we burned a pick on him. It seems like his "breakout year" was this past one but he missed 7 games for personal reasons and so it didn't happen. If he'd stayed with the team all year I think he'd have been long gone by the time this pick rolled around. Those personal reasons are cause for concern but I would hope that the Texans checked that out.

We get this man some BBQ and make him room with Wilfork and we got a chance for (like kiwi alluded to) maybe the player Nix might have been/refused to become.
His dad passed away and he needed time. If that's not a good reason to miss some time, I don't know what is. Hopefully now 2 years later his head is clear and he is ready to honor the man that taught him everything.
 

Hervoyel

BUENO!
His dad passed away and he needed time. If that's not a good reason to miss some time, I don't know what is. Hopefully now 2 years later his head is clear and he is ready to honor the man that taught him everything.
Exactly. As long as there is a logical explanation no big deal.
 

TheRealJoker

Hall of Fame
He looked very good in that national championship game against Alabama.

He'll be seeing Ryan Kelly for awhile in our division so that's encouraging that he acquitted himself so well.
 

Brisco_County

Texans worthy
I like the fact that he also tried to play baseball for Clemson. It tells me that he loves sports, and he's not just in it for a scholarship or paycheck.
 

pirbroke

Veteran
I like the fact that he also tried to play baseball for Clemson. It tells me that he loves sports, and he's not just in it for a scholarship or paycheck.
I read somewhere he was a 4 sport athlete. For the first time in his life he will need to be a one sport, which might help him excell even more.
 

TheRealJoker

Hall of Fame
YOUNG talented player who has his best years ahead of him. If Wilfork can impart some knowledge on the youngster he will turn out to be a steal for the good guys.
 

JB

Old Curmudgeon
YOUNG talented player who has his best years ahead of him. If Wilfork can impart some knowledge on the youngster he will turn out to be a steal for the good guys.
It's gonna come down to the want to more than the knowledge or talent... see JJ and (not) Nix
 

CloakNNNdagger

Hall of Fame
The Texans are signing former Clemson nose tackle D.J. Reader to a four-year, $2.55 million contract that includes a $215,380 signing bonus.
 

badboy

Hall of Fame
An amazing must-read story!

D.J. Reader learns to overcome grief over his father's death to realize his NFL dream[/QUOT
Great follow up to article I noted at post 11; thanks Doc. I am a big fan of his, the time off bothered me as it was not clarified why he missed games other than "personal". The fact that he was able to return to team was what I held on to. I was really glad to get him as I think he has all to replace Wilfork when time comes. I like the Purdue kid we signed recently as UDFA after the supp. draft. We should have solid future at the Nose for years with cheap contracts. If either don't click, DJ Jones next year should be available day three.
 

kiwitexansfan

Hall of Fame
18. In pass rush 1-on-1s, rookie DT D.J. Reader flashed some interior push. He’s so strong and can bull rush weaker linemen, but he showed some hand work as well. He’ll be a work in progress, for certain, but an interior pass rusher with that strength is such an important asset. I noticed him on a pass rush in a team drill earlier in practice, as well, as he broke free to the QB just before the ball was thrown.

From Harris' camp observations
 

thunderkyss

It's good to be me... again.
Staff member
Contributor's Club
He’ll be a work in progress, for certain...
I wonder if John Harris would call him a work in progress if Vince Wilfork wasn't slotted ahead of him.

A lot of John's stuff, I like. It's usually educational. But I don't care for his evaluations. Starters generally grade out better than players behind them.

I know generally speaking starters are starters for a reason. But there are several occasions the best players aren't on the field. For instance, Bernardrick started on the bench last season. I thought he should have started outside in place of Simon. Once Mohamad got hurt McKinney was pulled up. I know the position is different & it's my opinion & the Texans have their reasons.

I don't know what Dj Reader looks like & his description, "project for sure" doesn't tell me much. Actually has me expecting to see a project. When I see him, I might be thinking,"they need to find a way to get him on the field"

/rambling
 

Wolf6151

All Pro
I have high expectations for Reader, but I temper those with the knowledge that he's a rookie and the NFL is vastly different than college. Reader will make mistakes and will need time to improve his maturity, knowledge, size, and strength for the NFL game. I think he'll be very good in his 3rd year, but fans will need to be patient with him.
 

kiwitexansfan

Hall of Fame
21. I mentioned D.J. Reader earlier in observations and this is the second time I’ve seen him in pads in 2016. I’ve told the story of seeing him at the Senior Bowl down in Mobile and how he stonewalled everyone in their tracks. That got everyone’s attention. I’d been waiting to see whether that would translate at this level and guessed that it would when the pads went on. It certainly did. He moves like an edge rusher and can get his hips turned when necessary. He’s strong as an ox. More good things are needed from him and they’re coming.
 


Top