This is the latest post in Kurt’s continuing series to identify the NFL’s Ultimate Franchise Player of All-Time. For an explanation of his methodology for choosing each franchise’s ultimate franchise player, and then how you and he will choose the NFL’s Ultimate Franchise Player from that list, click here.
To see all the category page for this series, of which there will be one for every franchise, click here.
As Allen Parsons Project would say – ‘Where Do We Go From Here…’
In the latest edition of MSF Franchise Player, I go from the team with the most amount of history (Green Bay Packers) to the team with the least in the Houston Texans.
The Brief History of the Houston Texans
It is like going from the Gulf of Mexico to the local kiddie pool, maybe about knee-deep.
This is not a knock on the Texans organization. They are still an evolving work in progress and are coming off two consecutive years of making the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
Also, the Texans put a league high eight players in the Pro Bowl this year.
Still, the team has some items left to knock off the bucket list.
One would be winning a signature game (sorry, beating Cincy twice in the Wild Card round does not qualify).
Another would be finding a true player who winds up being iconic. There are definitely good players in the 11-year history of the franchise (never mind this year’s ‘10th anniversary patch, brought to you by the same people who said the 20th Century ended at the end of 1999).
I feel I have a decent player currently at #1, as of the end of the 2012 season. But check back with me in a few years. This list remains fluid and the title of franchise best-ever player will be challenged in seasons to come.
You will notice that eight of the ten players on this list were either drafted or signed out of college by the Texans – the organization has done well over the first decade in evaluating talent.
The Top 10 Players in Texans History
10. Brooks Reed (OLB 2011-present)
Reed’s second season fell short of his rookie campaign as he missed the final portion regular season games due to injury. But his rookie year in ’11 ended with a flourish, recording 13.5 tackles and 3.5 sacks in two playoff games.
Reed makes the list based on potential at this point.
9. Chris Myers (C 2008-present)
Myers has actually been in the league since 2005, spending his first three years with the Denver Broncos. He earned his second consecutive Pro Bowl trip this year and gets much of the credit for the success of RB Arian Foster and the offense in general.
Myers is in the middle of a 4-year, $25 million contract inked a year ago. Fellow lineman Duane Brown is an Honorable Mention on the list.
8. Brian Cushing (ILB 2010-present)
Cushing was another key loss off the Houston defense during the 2012 season. His season ended with an ugly chop block to his knee in October. Hopefully Cushing will be able to come back and return to form in season number four.
7. Owen Daniels (TE 2006-present)
The University of Wisconsin is well-represented on the Texans’ list. Seven years in, Daniels is definitely in the discussion with his total body of work. Daniels has gone over the 50-catch mark four times so far in his career.
6. DeMeco Ryans (ILB 2007-11)
Ryans is only one of two players on this list no longer with the organization. Ryans was a two-time Pro Bowler during his time in Houston and was also the 2006 AP Defensive Rookie of the Year.
5. Matt Schaub (QB 2007-present)
In the post-mortem of the Texans’ 2012 season, Schaub is being scrutinized as being a quality QB who possibly is just not good enough to ever get Houston to the next level.
Still, Schaub has not been bad. He has completed over 64% of his passes in his career with a QB rating well over 90.
4. Mario Williams (DE 2006-11)
The Texans’ front office knew exactly what they were doing when bypassing Reggie Bush for the first overall pick of the ’06 Draft for Super Mario. In his six years with the team, Williams recorded 53.5 sacks.
If not leaving for free agency after the ’11 season, Mario would be in the discussion for number one overall.
3. Arian Foster (RB 2009-present)
What is it with running backs from the San Diego area?
While Mario Williams starred as a number one overall pick, Foster has become a star in the league after going undrafted out of the University of Tennessee. In the past three years, Foster has accounted for nearly 5,700 total yards from scrimmage and 47 TD’s.
If Foster can keep this production up for another five years or so, he will definitely be in the discussion for all-time franchise number one, as well as Pro Football HOF consideration.
2. J.J. Watt (DE 2011-present)
The second Wisconsin Badger on the list, the one-time hockey player and 11th overall pick of the ’11 Draft exploded onto the scene with one of the best pass rushing seasons in recent history, recording 20.5 sacks.
Watt will be hard-pressed to ever match these numbers, but if he can just stay close he may wind up being considered the franchise’s best.
1. Andre Johnson (WR 2003-present)
The third overall pick in the Texans’ second season as a franchise, coming out of the then-vaunted University of Miami, Johnson has had a very solid career that at times has seemed to leave us wanting more. For one, Andre has never recorded double-digit TDs in any of his ten seasons.
Still, Johnson has made his mark as one of the best, most consistent receivers in the league. And thus far, he is clearly the Ultimate Franchise Player of the Houston Texans.