NFL

Houston Texans’ Mount Rushmore

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The Houston Texans are the “newest” franchise in the NFL, as they’ve only been around 14 years now. However, this is not to say this young franchise hasn’t obtained top tier talent over the years.

Throughout their 14 years of existence, Houston has reached the playoffs three times, with this past season counting as one of those appearances.

While the Texans have a long way to go as an organization, let’s take this time to acknowledge the four greatest players in their very young history.

J.J. Watt – It wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t start off with J.J. Watt.

Although Watt is still in his prime at 27-years-old, it’ll be hard to argue against him being the franchises best player ever. In just five seasons, Watt’s impact on the game is unmatched by any of his counterparts in today’s game.

During his young career, Watt has totaled 20 or more sacks in two seasons to go along with 17.5 sacks this past season, which looks mediocre because of the bar he’s set.

Having said that, Watt’s 17.5 sacks in 2015 was enough for him to lead the league in sacks for the second  time of his career.

Watt is a 4-time Pro Bowler, while being named Defensive Player of the Year twice.

As Watt begins to enter his prime, it’ll be interesting to see if he’s able to take his game to another level, which will be hard to do considering he’s already the best at what he does.

Nonetheless, one things for sure, Houston’s front office will do whatever it takes to ensure Watt remains a Texan for a very long time.

Andre Johnson – The former Miami product was the first true superstar to play for the Texans.

Back in 2003, Johnson was selected with the third overall pick and he did not disappoint at all. Throughout his 12-year tenure in Houston, Johnson proved to be one of the best wide receivers the league had to offer.

Johnson reached the Pro Bowl seven times, while leading the league in receiving yards twice (2008 and 2009).

Also, the 6-foot-3 athletic freak caught over 100 passes in five different seasons.

Considering Johnson never played with an elite quarterback during his Houston days, it makes his accomplishments that much more impressive.

Arian Foster – We go from the franchise’s best wide receiver to the franchise’s best running back.

However, unlike Johnson, Arian Foster went undrafted out of Tennessee.

With that being said, Foster’s resume is nearly as impressive. The downhill Foster led the league in rushing touchdowns twice (2010 and 2012), while making the Pro Bowl four times to go along with a rushing title in 2010.

For as good as Andre Johnson was for Houston, teams could zero in on him since he was the only true receiving threat, which made Foster that much more valuable.

When in doubt, just hand the ball off to Foster and watch him work.

Also, Foster’s ability to catch the ball out the backfield is an underrated aspect of his game. During his first three full seasons as a starter, Foster caught at least 40 balls per year. In 2010, he caught 66 passes for 604 yards.

On the flip side, unfortunate injuries began to catch up with Foster, but there’s no denying his place on the Texans mount rushmore.

Mario Williams – Remember the hype surrounding Mario Williams back in 2006?

Sure, he hasn’t quite lived up to expectations, but who would have?

Having said that, Williams turned out to be one of the leagues top pass rushers over the years. While in Houston, Williams brought fear into opposing quarterbacks eyes.

The former number one overall pick recorded two double-digit sack seasons in Houston, while reaching the Pro Bowl twice.

Since his Houston departure, Williams has reached the Pro Bowl two more times as a member of the Buffalo Bills.


About Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels is an NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has several years of experience covering the NFL and NCAA football. He's the radio color commentator for Lincoln University football. Mark's work has been featured on Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports and Yard Barker.