NFL Houston Texans

5 Houston Texans Who Mean the Most to the Team’s Future

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Houston Texans Who Mean the Most to the Team's Future

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The date was Dec. 10, 2012, and the Houston Texans were preparing for a Monday Night game against the New England Patriots. Prior to the game, the Texans were 11-1 and the No. 1 seed in the AFC. The team was just a few wins away from having home-field advantage and having the road to the Super Bowl go through Houston. But after a 42-14 defeat, the Texans could never recover.

To end the regular season, the Texans lost three of their last four games and lost out on a first-round bye. Instead of hosting a Divisional Round game, they returned back to New England and found their season end there short of a trip to the Super Bowl. Determined to bounce back in 2013, Houston jumped out to a 2-0 start. Unfortunately for Texans fans, that number in the win column never change after that start.

Houston ended the year losing their last 14 games and experienced hitting rock bottom multiple times in the mist of all of the losses. Their starting quarterback was benched. Their star running back was injured for the season. Also, in a scary scene, the head coach collapsed on the field and a few weeks later was let go by the team. Just about everything that could go wrong for the Texans did go wrong last season.

The Texans will now welcome in new head coach Bill O'Brien and they also own the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 draft. With the pick, Houston can go in many different directions to hopefully get back to playoff football and having Super Bowl aspirations. The key position to look at will be if the Texans decide to have a changing of the guard at the quarterback spot. There are many quarterback prospects at the top of draft boards if the Texans decide to go in that direction.

The culture in Houston will be transitioning toward the future. Houston believes that they are just a few pieces away from getting back on track in the AFC, and they have the right guy as head coach to lead the team. Here are five players who mean the most to the Texans franchise.

Nick Schaeflein is a sports writer for Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google.

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5. Andre Johnson

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Andre Johnson has been one of the best in the game's history over his 11-year career. He has been a Texan through the good times and the bad times but is entering the final years of his storied career. Johnson will continue to play to the best of his abilities every week trying to lead his team to the promised land. He is also becoming a mentor on the Houston roster for the younger players which is equally as important.

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4. DeAndre Hopkins

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DeAndre Hopkins is one of those young players learning from Johnson. He had a nice rookie season, and his skill-set is promising for the future. If he can continue to develop within the organization, he has the makings to be the future No. 1 wideout once Johnson is ready to pass the torch.

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3. Arian Foster

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Arian Foster signed a big contract with the Texans, but last season was his first where he missed significant time due to injury. Foster is 27-years-old, and the back half of that contract could start to become a major question mark for the franchise. The talent is still there for the running back, and for Texans fans, hopefully the extended time off will prove to be beneficial in the next few seasons.

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2. J.J. Watt

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J.J. Watt is a beast. He is one of the best, if not the best defensive players in the league. Off the field, Watt is also becoming a leader within the community as well. He is easily a core player that the franchise can build around for the long-term future. In that regard, Watt can be compared to Ray Lewis as an emotional leader trying to lead his team to a championship.

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1. Their No. 1 Overall Selection

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Currently the Texans own the first pick in the upcoming draft. Time will tell if Houston ends up keeping it or trading it away. Either way, their initial pick will be crucial to the future of the franchise. After ending the season on a 14-game losing streak, the Texans cannot afford to misfire on any of their picks this year or it could really set the team back. If they do decide to keep the pick, will the team go with a franchise quarterback or a complementary piece on defense?

Houston, you're on the clock.