Every year when the NFL Network slowly goes through its list of the top 100 players in the league for the season, there is always a lot of disagreement and debate. In my opinion, these lists are almost always horrible and are just a popularity contest created to generate buzz during the offseason. But the fact that they are voted on by the players’ peers makes it a little more interesting than if some major media channel did one. Still, you’re always going to have one group of fans unhappy with the results. Judging from the reactions on twitter and local sports radio, it would appear that Houston was one of said fan bases.
However, this is the first time I’ve been pretty content with this program. I have some problems with the top five but nothing pertaining to the Houston Texans.
Houston had four representatives in the top 100 (I’m not counting Ed Reed since he didn’t play for the Texans in 2012), three in the top 15 and two in the top 10. In my opinion, not only is that nothing to sneer at, but it is also pretty accurate. The roster is full of good players, and the great ones are represented well here. Let’s take a look at each player that made the list and thoughts on where they ultimately ended up ranking.
Duane Brown, # 48
When I still think back to the fan reaction when the Texans “reached” for Brown in the 2008 NFL Draft, I have to chuckle in hindsight. I remember being on board with the pick, but I did think he was a second round prospect, at best. But here we are five seasons later and Brown is considered by many to be one of, if not the best left tackle in the game. On this list, he ranks only behind Joe Thomas. For a guy drafted where he was and still making pretty team friendly money for a franchise left tackle, this ranking is just about right. Any offensive linemen that ends up in the top 50 is getting some love.
Andre Johnson, # 14
It seems that every sentence pertaining to Johnson prior to 2013 was prefaced with the words “if healthy.” That was a fair assessment after seemingly being unable to play a full season in awhile. But Johnson answered his critics by having one of his most productive seasons as a pro and finished second only to Calvin Johnson on the Top 100. Even on the wrong side of 30, Johnson proved that he still has plenty left in the tank.
Arian Foster, # 8
It just goes to show how spoiled Foster has made Texans fans since it is the consensus that last season was a down year for him even though he still had video game numbers as his final stats. As the second ranked running back on this list after only the top finisher, Adrian Peterson, it’s pretty safe to say that a top 10 finish after finishing 25th the year before was more than fair. However, if Gary Kubiak keeps giving Foster as many carries as he had in 2013, he may not be long for these countdowns.
J.J. Watt, # 5
Here is the one causing all of the disgruntled feelings inside the loop in Houston. The main argument from Texans fans is that no one was more dominant on the field than Watt was last season, and it’s a valid argument. But we know that offensive players are always going to get the nod before defensive players. That’s why their names never seem to come up in MVP voting at the end of the season. But I think that fifth overall is far from a travesty for Watt. He was the highest ranked defensive player on the list, as a defensive player of the year should be, and the four guys in front of him had as much of a record season as he did. This was the highest debut ever for any player, and to get upset at him being voted the fifth best player in only his second season in the NFL is just expecting too much.
If you want to have a real problem with this list, how about having Peyton Manning second overall?