The Houston Texans are a relatively young franchise considering their first season in the NFL was in 2002. While the Texans may not have the same history or longevity as some others in the league, their draft history can, in some ways, rival just about any other team's.
Houston has drafted some of the most electric and dynamic players the NFL has seen. Additionally, due to the age of the franchise, some of these players remain in the league even today.
Here are the 10 best players the Texans have drafted in the franchise's history:
1. J.J. Watt, 2011 NFL Draft, Round 1, Pick 11
Watt has become known as one of the most devastating defensive linemen in the NFL. After 11 years in the NFL the defensive end has racked up 101 sacks and 371 solo tackles. Watt will now continue his career with the Arizona Cardinals, but his time with Texans will forever endear him to the fans and city.
Furthermore, Watt is bound for the NFL Hall of Fame.
2. DeAndre Hopkins, 2013, Round 1, Pick 27
Hopkins, like Watt, is still active in the league and is arguably the best wide receiver in the league. Additionally, just like Watt, he now plays for the Arizona Cardinals, however he did reach 8,602 yards and 54 touchdowns during his time with the Texans.
3. Andre Johnson, 2003, Round, Pick 3
One of the first big names to ever be drafted by the Texans and the third overall pick in 2003 did not disappoint. Johnson quickly became one of the elite receivers in the league and his talent, coupled with his big-bodied playing style, allowed him to be the early face of the franchise.
4. Duane Brown, 2008, Round 1, Pick 26
Houston was in need of offensive line help heading into the 2008 season. The answer to the glaring hole was Brown. The left tackle solidified himself as the best offensive lineman in franchise history as he started 133 games over the course of 10 seasons until he was traded to the Seattle Seahawks in 2017.
5. Deshaun Watson, 2017, Round 1, Pick 12
There is not much to say about Watson other than he is the best quarterback to take the field for the Texans. Additional time will be needed to see him move further up this list. The quarterback is currently embroiled in a legal battle regarding sexual assaults and inappropriate behavior that could further affect his stock on this list.
6. Brian Cushing, 2019, Round 1, Pick 15
Cushing quickly made his impact with the Texans felt his rookie season when he won the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award. Much like Watt, his production was determined by his availability and health, which towards the end of his career got the best of him. His talent and the fact that he is the franchise's leader in tackles has earned him a place on this list.
7. DeMeco Ryans, 2006, Round 2, Pick 33
Ryans has a similar track record to Cushing in the fact that he is second behind Cushing in total tackles, but first in solo tackles. Ryans was the second pick for the Texans in the 2006 NFL Draft behind Mario Williams. Despite the hype surrounding Williams, Ryans ended up being the better pick of the two.
8. Chester Pitts, 2002, Round 2, Pick 50
If there is one word to describe the offensive lineman it's "consistency." Pitts started in 114 games for the Texans for the period of seven seasons and some change. The most impressive fact? All 114 of those were consecutive starts. Pitts was the lockdown guard that could always be depended on. For that reason alone he has a place on this list.
9. Eric Winston, 2006, Round 3, Pick 66
If there is one thing the Houston Texans have been consistently good at hitting on in the draft it's offensive linemen. Winston is just another example of that ability. The tackle played in 92 games for the Texans over the course of six seasons prior to his release in 2012. It takes a special player to be drafted in the third round and then be offered a contract extension after their rookie deal expires.
10. Owen Daniels, 2006, Round 4, 98
Rounding out our list is tight end Owen Daniels. The fourth-round pick out of Wisconsin went on to two Pro Bowls with the Texans in the 2008 and 2012 seasons. Daniels would finish with 4,617 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns during his stint with Houston.