After drafting outside linebackers with back-to-back picks in the third and fourth rounds, the Texans may explore the option of moving Brooks Reed inside next to Brian Cushing.
Linebackers coach Reggie Herring brought up the possibility after the Texans selected Connecticut's Trevardo Williams in the fourth round on Saturday, one day after drafting LSU's Sam Montgomery in the third.
"It does provide us with options to possibly move Brooks Reed inside," Herring said. "Brooks Reed has played inside for us at times. We feel very comfortable with that move, if that is an option, to get our best 11 on the field."
Reed (6-2, 250) is one of the Texans' strongest players. A second-round draft pick out of Arizona in 2011, he has started for the past two seasons SAM, the strongside linebacker on the outside. He set a team rookie record with 6.0 sacks in 2011 and had had 2.5 sacks in 12 games in 2012.
Late last season, Reed played a limited number at inside linebacker as the Texans dealt with an avalanche of injuries at the position.
"That's something I don't want to get nailed down to, but right now I would feel extremely – and I know Wade feels the same way – extremely comfortable with moving Brooks Reed inside," Herring said. "I've got highlight tape of him playing inside last year, and without hurting anybody's feelings, he might be the second-best IL on campus right now.
"He's got an IL body, he's got instincts. He plays with his hair on fire. He can shock block. They tried to run lead plays on him, he sheds the guy in the hole and makes plays just like a great linebacker should. Unlimited possibilities there. I know he's embraced the idea early on after the season. We discussed possible moves in the offseason that might predicate him having to be moved inside. He was excited about the move. He's done it. He's seen himself have success."
Phillips and Herring moved Cushing from outside linebacker in a 4-3 to inside in their 3-4 when they arrived in Houston in 2011.
"It's no different (than) moving Cush," Herring said. "When we moved Cush, he was playing outside, inside, back and forth. Then we moved him inside, everybody was like, 'Oh, who knows.' At the end of the day, if you can hunt with instincts and play extremely fast with play strength, we'll find a place for you inside.
"With taking two outside 'backers right now, we feel very comfortable if we decide to move Brooks inside. We feel very, very comfortable about that to get our best 11 on the field."
Head coach Gary Kubiak said after the draft that Reed gives the Texans flexibility but they have not, at this point, decided to move him inside. Kubiak affirmed Reed as the Texans' starting "SAM" linebacker and said, "We think too much of what Brooks is doing at that position to start thinking about (a move)."