Throughout the month of July, the Last Word on Pro Football department has been taking a look at the three most recognizable faces for each NFL team. The Houston Texans are the “other team” in Texas, and for this exercise, we’re only looking at active players. Today, we’ll be looking at a trio of faces of the current Houston Texans.
Current Faces of the Houston Texans
Defensive End J.J. Watt
It’s no surprise that J.J. Watt is the face of the Houston Texans. During his first five seasons, Watt received the AP Defensive Player of the Year on three separate occasions. A feat that is three times more than over a dozen franchises can claim. Watt holds the franchise record for sacks (92) and (22) forced fumbles. He also became the first player to record 20 plus sacks in a season on two separate occasions. All this while battling a barrage of injuries during recent years. Just imagine what his numbers could be?
He has victimized every team in the AFC South for a handful of years, causing opposing offensive coordinators to change game plans. Imagine having that kind of talent? Additionally, Watt has put the Texans on his back multiple times and carried the team to the postseason without a star quarterback.
However, the most impressive statistic for Watt is his philanthropic work off the field. Most recently in 2017, Watt began a campaign to raise funds for victims of Hurricane Harvey. He started the online drive with $100,000 of his own money and raised upwards of $40 Million. For his efforts, he was co-named the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the year. Additionally, Watt was selected for the honorary recipient of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.
Wide Receiver DeAndre Hopkins
DeAndre Hopkins could be the best wide receiver in all of football. The former Clemson Tiger was selected in the late first round to compliment Andre Johnson on the outside. Hopkins gifts of speed, strength, and grace were quickly on display at football’s highest level. It did not take long for him to take over the top spot from Johnson.
Since entering the league in 2013, Hopkins has lit up scoreboards, thus earning three Pro Bowls and two All-Pro honors. Despite having several journeyman quarterbacks early in his career like Matt Schaub, Case Keenum, and Ryan Fitzpatrick, Hopkins has found a way to stand out. Over the past five seasons, Hopkins has averaged 1,327 yards and nine touchdowns. Those numbers are impressive when you consider who was throwing him the ball before quarterback Deshaun Watson arrived in 2017.
Just this week, Hopkins was awarded with a grade of 99 for Madden rating and is the only offensive selection. He is in his prime and poised to build last year’s success. As the 2019 season approaches, look for Hopkins to continue to be a focal point of the Texans’ offense. He is a game changer that can strike at any moment and any distance. Hopkins is the type of talent that keeps defensive coordinators up at night, and he is only 27 years old.
Quarterback Deshaun Watson
Deshaun Watson is the last of the three faces of the Houston Texans. When healthy, Watson in the epitome of the future for the NFL. A player that will revolutionize NFL offenses for years to come. Watson was mistakenly passed over by eleven NFL teams in the 2017 NFL Draft. This includes AFC South divisional foes Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans, who have struggled at the quarterback position for years. Another product of the winning tradition at Clemson, he brings a competitive and winning attitude to the franchise.
As a rookie, he put up astronomical numbers throughout a limited amount of games. Prior to his injury on November 2, 2017, Watson finished with 1,699 passing yards, 19 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. He also rushed for 269 yards and two touchdowns. This was just a glimpse into the future for the Texans and put the rest of the league on notice.
Watson returned in 2018 and brought his new age game. Despite an 0-3 start to the regular season, Watson’s poise and grit helped the Texans capture the AFC South crown. His 4,165 passing yards and 26 touchdowns along with 551 rushing yards helped propel the Texans into the AFC playoffs.
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