Although there's been talk about flexibility and utilizing the talent we have on the team in creating the foundation of our new defense, it appears to me that we are going with the traditional 3-4 system with massive 2 gap Defensive Ends and Nose Tackle. I am not opposed to this system at all, except that it doesn't really fit with our current players, and would require a massive overhaul on the defensive line to go along with our massive overhaul on offense. There's only so much you can overhaul in one year.
So, it got me to thinking about how we can best utilize our best talent on defense, and I can't see a reason why JJ Watt couldn't step into the OLB spot and redefine the position. He's shown the athletic ability to do just about everything, and this is how Wade started to use Mario before he got hurt in his last year. Crick and Mitchell (if re-signed) could man the DE spots, and we'd need to draft or sign our massive starting NT. We'd still need depth at all 3 spots. Brooks Reed seems like the perfect compliment to Cushing in the middle. If we draft Clowney, Mercilus comes off the bench on passing downs with Watt moving inside.
The one thing about the traditional 3-4 defense that worries me (besides our lack of size along the DL) is our lack of quality (and size here too) at the LB positions - inside and outside. These are the guys that have to make the plays, and this defense requires studs at all 4 LB spots.
Getting Watt out on the edge (I believe) would help to keep him fresh in the 4th quarter. A few less 3 and outs might help that too. No one can question Watt's condition or his motor, but he was flat out worn down in the second half of many games this year because he spent the entire game going against 650 pounds of double team. Opposing teams would spend all week designing packages to help their tackle handle Watt, but that's where Cushing could clean up in the middle.
For those fans that would like the Texans to draft Clowney, what do you think of a linebacking group that included Watt, Clowney, Cushing, and Reed, with Mercilus coming in on passing downs?
I still think we have to get our QB, or nothing else really matters. However, putting Watt at OLB has the potential to redefine the position the way Lawrence Taylor did with the Giants. Who was that DL coach again? We'd also have the baddest set of linebackers in the league with a defense that features that position.