NFL Houston Texans

10 Houston Texans Who Could End Up in Canton

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10 Houston Texans that Could End Up in Canton

Gary Kubiak
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The 2014 Pro Football Hall of Fame nominees have been officially released, and there are several first-time nominees that are very interesting.

First-year eligible nominees that have an uphill battle to get into Canton include Trent Green (former quarterback of the Washington Redskins, St. Louis Rams, Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins), Shaun Alexander (former running back of the Seattle Seahawks and Redskins), Tedy Bruschi (former linebacker of the New England Patriots) and Mike Holmgren (former head coach of the Green Bay Packers and Seahawks).

First-time nominees don't always make it into the Hall of Fame right away, but it does happen. A few of my picks to make it in immediately include Marvin Harrison (former receiver of the Indianapolis Colts, Walter Jones (former offensive lineman of the Seahawks) and Tony Dungy (former head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Colts).

Overall, there are 16 first-time nominees for the Hall of Fame, along with over 100 other nominees. Notable returns to the ballot include Steve McNair, Jerome Bettis, Herschel Walker, Keshawn Johnson, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Jimmy Johnson, Bill Cowher, Bud Adams, Jerry Jones and Robert Kraft.

The list will be cut down to just 25 semi-finalists in November, then 15 finalists in early January. The Class of 2014 will then be picked on Feb. 1 from the list of the 15 modern-era finalists and two senior nominees. This year, those two senior nominees are punter Ray Guy and defensive end Claude Humphrey.

There are currently no Houston Texans in the Hall of Fame, since a player, coach, GM or owner must be retired at least five years to be nominated and the Texans franchise is only 12 years old. But there are certainly some players and coaches who could eventually make it into the Hall. Here's my list of the 10 players, coaches and other contributors most likely to make it into Canton.

Cooper Welch is a Houston Texans writer for Follow him on Twitter @cooperwelch1991, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also listen to his Locker Room podcast on iTunes.

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No. 10-Matt Schaub

Matt Schaub
Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Schaub is the current quarterback for the Texans, and certainly the most successful quarterback the franchise has seen (though to be fair, when you're competing against David Carr that's not a very hard distinction to accomplish).

Schaub has a career rating of 92.2, 22,290 passing yards and 123 passing touchdowns. Those aren't just ridiculous numbers (see Peyton Manning and Tom Brady), but they are above average. He's 1-1 in the playoffs so far (a better record than Tony Romo could ever hope for), and if he ever gets the Texans into the Super Bowl, or even leads them to an NFL championship, he's a shoo-in for the Hall as the guy who took a perennially terrible team that celebrated an eight-win season in 2007 like it won the Super Bowl and turned them into a perennial choice to compete for the Super Bowl.

There are certainly more deserving quarterbacks out there, and there are also definitely other Texans with better chances to make it into the Hall, but Schaub is a great character guy that's an NFL captain for a reason.

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No. 9-Owen Daniels

Owen Daniels
Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

Daniels has been with the Texans his entire career, drafted out of Wisconsin in 2006. In those seven years, he’s caught 366 passes for 4,432 yards and 28 touchdowns. That’s a very respectable collection of stats for a tight end, but with tight ends becoming more and more heavily involved in the passing game, there might just be too many tight ends to really stick out enough to get to Ohio.

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No. 8-Brian Cushing

Brian Cushing
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Cushing is another career Texan and proof that the Texans really know what they’re doing in the draft (unlike another NFL team in Texas). Cushing has struggled a little bit to stay healthy and missed a few games due to a performance enhancer-related suspension, but otherwise he’s been a consistently great player.

He made the Pro Bowl in his rookie season, and was All-Pro in 2011. In just 50 games, he’s put up 359 tackles, six forced fumbles and eight interceptions. He’s another perennial captain for the Texans, and they definitely missed his presence on the defense last year.

Sadly, unless Cushing manages to win a Super Bowl, he probably won’t make it into the Hall of Fame. The linebacker nominees on the current ballot are impressive (Tedy Bruschi, etc.), and many of them may never make it into Canton. Unless Cushing puts up over 120 tackles each of the next five seasons, he won’t make it without a ring.

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No. 7-Wade Phillips

Wade Phillips
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Wade Phillips has been a linebacker coach, defensive coordinator and head coach for multiple teams across the NFL, and is the son of legendary coach Bum Phillips. He’s been involved with football his whole life, and has been a coach of some sort since 1976.

He doesn’t have much success as a head coach (just ask the Denver Broncos, Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills), but as a defensive coordinator there are few people who compare. He turned the Texans from the 29th best defense in the league into a top-five or top-10 defense each of the past three years.

Phillips could make it into the Hall just because of his football pedigree, and his long career also makes it a little more likely he’ll get in than nominees like Jon Gruden. But there’s also coaches like Jimmy Jones still waiting to get in, so unless Wade wins a Super Bowl, this is probably a last-year-of-eligibility kind of thing.

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No. 6-Gary Kubiak

Gary Kubiak
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Gary Kubiak already has a Super Bowl ring from his time as quarterbacks coach of the San Francisco 49ers and two rings with his time as offensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos.

He’s also done a terrific job of turning around the Texans, taking them from a team who was glad to win four games to a team that won six his first season, eight his next two, nine his fourth season, six his fifth, 10 his sixth season and 12 his seventh. He’s the only coach in Texans history to have a playoff win (he’s 2-2), and his offenses have been among the best in the league for his entire tenure in Houston.

But again, legendary coaches like Bill Cowher haven’t yet made it into the Hall, so it could definitely be a challenge to make it in without a Super Bowl win here.

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No. 5-J.J. Watt

J.J. Watt
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

J.J. Watt is entering his third season of NFL play, and he’s already a superstar. A guy who is so devoted to football he’s still single; Watt came within two sacks of tying the NFL sack record in his sophomore year.

If he can keep up the production over just three-to-five years, he’s almost a shoo-in to make it to Ohio. Watt could be just a little above average the rest of his career, and if the Texans win a Super Bowl, he’s still in on the second or third ballot.

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No. 4-Arian Foster

Arian Foster
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Arian Foster has racked up over 1,000 yards each of the past three seasons, and at least 10 touchdowns in three-consecutive seasons as well. He’s seen more rush attempts over the past three years than any other running back, and has still mostly maintained his health.

If Foster continues to put up 1,000-yard seasons for just a few more years, there’s no way he doesn’t make the Hall of Fame. Emmitt Smith had 11-consecutive seasons of 1,000-plus yards rushing, and Foster could compete for that record as he’s only 27 years old.

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No. 3-Bob McNair

Bob McNair
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Bob McNair bought an expansion team from the NFL in 1999, and they played their first season of football in 2002. McNair could make the Hall just because he brought a franchise back to Houston after Bud Adams (a nominee for the 2014 class) took the Oilers to Tennessee.

McNair is a well-respected businessman and an owner who lets his General Manager make most of the decisions, and it’s mostly paid off for the team. The Texans have several draft gems (Brian Cushing, J.J. Watt and  Andre Johnson are just a few examples), and they’ve steadily improved as a team the past few seasons.

If McNair is able to bring a Lombardi Trophy to Houston, he’ll bring more than the historic Oilers franchise did.

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No. 2-Andre Johnson

Andre Johnson
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Andre Johnson has been a beast for the Texans since being drafted out of Miami. Every season in which he’s played all 16 games he’s had at least 900 yards receiving and at least four touchdowns.

He currently holds the record for most yards per reception over a career and most yards per game over a career, and has three 1,500-plus-yard seasons in the past five years. I look forward to what Johnson will do over the rest of his career, which may not last too much longer as he’s 32 years old.

If Johnson doesn’t eventually make it into the Hall of Fame, there’s something wrong with the selection process. But we won’t know whether or not he’ll make it for at least the next six years. (You have to be retired five years to be eligible for the Hall.)

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No. 1-Ed Reed

Ed Reed
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Ed Reed is almost guaranteed a spot in the Hall. He helped the Ravens win their first championship, and spent 12 seasons with the Ravens before moving to the Texans in 2013.

In his entire career Reed, has missed only 17 regular season games (though that number could continue to rise this season). He has averaged five interceptions, almost one fumble, half a sack and 50 tackles a season.

Reed will be in the Hall, and I’d say it’s a safe bet he’ll be there on either his first or second ballot.