Chris Jones to Texans: How Does DT Fit with Houston?

Dan TylickiAnalyst IApril 27, 2013

October 22, 2011; Bowling Green, OH, USA; Bowling Green Falcons defensive tackle Chris Jones (91) and Bowling Green Falcons defensive back Jude Adjei-Barimah (14) celebrate Chris Jones sack of Temple Owls quarterback Chester Stewart (not pictured) in the fourth quarter at Doyt L. Perry Stadium. Bowling Green won 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Texans are not a team that drafts a position like nose tackle until rather late. They prefer a more athletic tackle rather than a big one who just takes up space.

In that regard, they got the type of player they're looking for in Chris Jones. Jones can plug up the middle while also rushing the passer, and he's a player who could compete for a starting job down the road.

Could Jones become a late-round steal for the Texans?


Role and roster fit

Jones is someone who was very productive in college, putting up big numbers in sacks and tackles for loss despite his position, and while great, it's hard to make that translate to the NFL.

Jones will be brought in to compete with Earl Mitchell and Terrell McClain. It's, perhaps, too early in his career to say that he can take over Mitchell, but he could certainly beat out McClain for the primary backup spot.

If he is actually unable to do that, then his fit becomes a lot more questionable. He's a productive player, but he's not particularly fast, and he isn't going to be overly effective at the defensive end position.

Since he's likely just a defensive tackle, he will have to work hard to beat out McClain and learn under Mitchell. If he can make that production in college translate to the pros, then by season's end, the Texans could be looking at a starting-job battle here.


Early projections

To start off the season, Jones is going to have to beat out McClain in training camp. Jones is someone who can rush the passer inside and make plays, not unlike what the defensive ends can do.

He seems to already have as good a skill set as McClain, so he should be able to beat him out on the depth chart.

It helps that he won't have to beat out Mitchell just yet and is not expected to. The competition between all three defensive tackles should make all of them better moving forward, however.

I see Jones playing in quite a few games this season, about six or eight. He will have a couple tackles for loss and sneak a sack in as well. He won't get a lot of playing time since I believe the Texans want to see what they have in Mitchell, who has only started three games.

Worst-case scenario, Jones will be on the practice squad, but I would be surprised if that happens; I see him making the team and doing a decent job for a sixth-round pick.