HOUSTON -- The big guy in the middle will be one of the biggest -- in size and reputation -- for the Houston Texans this year.
haha— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) March 16, 2015
Whether or not Watt was directly reacting to the Wilfork news, that'd be a good reaction to have. This signing gives what was already a very accomplished Texans defense an instant upgrade. Wilfork in the middle will be a boon to defensive ends Watt, already one of the best players in football, and Jared Crick, a player whose performances impressed coaches last season.
Nose tackle is a position the Texans have been trying to solve since the new staff arrived.
The Texans let Earl Mitchell go in 2014's free agency because his size made him a bad fit for Romeo Crennel's defensive fronts. They drafted Louis Nix III in the third round last year, hoping he'd be the solution there, and signed Jerrell Powe. Nix was inactive for the first three games of the season, then went on injured reserve. In came 35-year-old Ryan Pickett off the street to help improve a struggling run defense.
Pickett was a solid player who did what the Texans asked of him. But Wilfork is younger, more accomplished and more talented.
And let's not forget the mentorship factor.
"I’m not a coach by no means, but at the same time, I’ve been on another level where I’ve won a lot of games and won Super Bowls," Wilfork said, in quotes provided by the Texans. "If guys want to know what it takes or how it feels, I’m here for that. At the same time, I think we can do a lot of damage here ourselves, especially winning ball games, and that’s the key."
Apologies if that gave you a "Coach Reed" flashback, but this situation will be different. Mentoring young players is a role Wilfork would embrace, from what I understand. And, he can still play. Those two factors have to go together for a mentorship role to work.
Mentor who? Nix. Having agreed to a two-year deal, Wilfork isn't a long-term solution. But he could help bring about that long-term solution.