D.J. Reader and Carlos Watkins have been practically inseparable since 2012.
Other than last season, when the Texans drafted Reader and Watkins finished up his collegiate career, the pair of defensive linemen had been roommates, as well as teammates, for four years at Clemson University.
Now, it’s like old times again.
“Every day we hang out,” Reader said on Texans Radio last week. ‘He’s over at my house every day on the weekends. If I leave town, I let him get my house key. He’s got my car so he’s over there most of the time.”
The two both went through tragedy and loss while at Clemson. Watkins suffered severe injuries in a fatal car crash that took the life of his cousin in 2013. One year later, Reader’s father suddenly passed away from kidney failure. Each leaned on the other for support during their tough times, and have now made it to the NFL together.
Reader, in his second season with the Texans, considers Watkins like a brother. He hopes to ease the rookie’s transition into the NFL.
“Just how to study the game, how to know what’s coming, definitely the playbook and just certain things he’s got to do to be better at this level,” Reader said. “Me and him are going to be able to grow together which is big. I’m just in Year 2 still which isn’t a lot but I’m excited to be able to have him with me and help him along the way.”
Reader saw action in 16 games last year with seven starts, the fifth-most starts by a rookie defensive lineman in Texans history. Reader also became just the third rookie in franchise history to record a sack in the postseason, when he brought down Raiders quarterback Connor Cook for a 6-yard loss in the AFC Wild Card game.