The Top 10 Texans Heading Into The 2018 Season

Should Deshaun Watson Be Ranked Higher Than No. 3?

In The Loop
June 12, 2018 - 9:26 pm
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Landry Locker of In The Loop with Fred, Landry and Lopez lists the Top 10 Texans heading into the 2018 season.

Here's the list... 

 

No. 10: Benardrick McKinney, LB

First-year GM Brian Gaine speaks very highly of McKinney and the fourth-year linebacker will likely get a new contract before the start of training camp. McKinney's production dropped from 2016 to 2017, but that had a lot to do with the historic amount of injuries on the defense.

I expect McKinney to have a big 2018 for two reasons.

No. 1: He will have elite personnel playing in front of him on the defensive line, which makes his job much easier.

No. 2: The duo of second-year inside linebackers playing alongside him, Dylan Cole and Zach Cunningham, who both showed flashes during their rookie seasons, will only improve. Both also have the ability to make sideline-to-sideline plays, which will allow McKinney to do what he does best.

 

No. 9: D'Onta Foreman, RB

Foreman looked like he was starting to find his groove before he tore his achilles on a 34-yard touchdown run against Arizona in Week 11. If he's healthy and ready to go for training camp then he could beat out Lamar Miller for the starting job and give Bill O'Brien the bruising back he appears to desire.

 

No. 8: Braxton Miller, WR

Just kidding...

 

No. 8: Will Fuller, WR

Fuller has missed eight games in his first two NFL seasons and has struggled to consistently catch the football. But, in the four games he played with Deshaun Watson Fuller had seven touchdowns.

Fuller is a completely different player when Watson at QB. DeAndre Hopkins will also warrant a lot of attention, which opens things up for Fuller even more and he and Watson will actually get practice time together this offseason. Health is still a question mark, but if he's on the field with Watson then he will make plays, lots of them.

 

No. 7: Aaron Colvin, CB

I've been a fan of Colvin for a while going back to his days at the University of Oklahoma. When I started looking at potential free agent signings in the middle of last season Colvin was the guy I wanted the Texans to sign. He's elite in the slot and will get a chance to play more outside behind a potentially elite front-seven. I have been on the bandwagon for a while so I might as well stay on. 

 

No. 6: Tyrann Mathieu, S

First-year GM Brian Gaine acquired Mathieu, a first-team All-Pro in 2015 on a one-year prove it contract at the age 26-years-old, which could be one of the steals of the offseason. Mathieu chose to come to Houston because he believed he could return to All-Pro form playing with Watt, Clowney, Mercilus and company. I'm a believer in the Honey Badger. 

 

No. 5: J.J. Watt, DL

Watt hasn't finished a season healthy since 2014 and wasn’t as dominant in a brief time last season before a second consecutive season-ending injury. 2018 is a make-or-break season for Watt, who was widely-regarded as the best defensive player in the NFL just a few years ago.

 

No. 4: Whitney Mercilus, LB

JJ Watt’s season-ending injury got most of the attention last season, but the injury to Mercilus was just as costly. He’s one of the first names opposing coaches mention when talking about the Texans defense and had 20 combined sacks in 2015 and 2016 with Romeo Crennel calling the defense. Crennel's return will benefit Mercilus as he returns from his 2017 injury.

 

No. 3: Deshaun Watson, QB

When Watson played in 2017 he was great, but that only lasted 6 ½ games. If he plays an entire season then he will be No. 1 on this list heading into the 2019 season.

 

No. 2: Jadeveon Clowney, LB/DE

There’s a reason Clowney will get the hefty contract he has coming his way, he deserves it.

People measure him too much by sacks, often ignoring that he is one of the best run-stopping defensive ends in the league. Clowney’s talent has never been questioned, but he also deserves credit for his professionalism. The Texans had a miserable 4-12 season in 2017, but Clowney never stopped playing hard, remained positive in the locker room and was the bright spot of the depleted defense. 

2017 will only make him better and he will thrive when the rest of the defense is healthy in 2018.

 

No. 1: DeAndre Hopkins, WR

Hopkins had 96 catches, 1,378 yards and 13 TD's in 2017. That production speaks for itself, but when you consider he did it while playing 9 1/2 games catching passes from Tom Savage, T.J. Yates and Taylor Heinicke it makes those numbers even more remarkable. 

Bad quarterback, Hopkins produces. Bad football team, Hopkins produces. Hopkins is the ultimate professional and one of the best at what he does.

 

Listen to Landry Locker on In The Loop with Fred, Landry and Lopez Monday-Friday from 10am-2pm, email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @landrylocker.