Houston Texans J.J. Watt and DeAndre Hopkins Named To 2016 Pro Bowl Team
Two bright spots on a team full of under-performance
Marco Torres (left)/Eric Sauseda
From about the midpoint of the season, even as the Houston Texans were limping to a hideous 2-5 start, there was one huge lock that, if you could wager on it, you'd have made a ton of money — J.J. Watt and DeAndre Hopkins were going to be named to the Pro Bowl. The two were virtually the only bright spots on a team full of under-performance.
Fortunately, the rest of the team came around (to varying degrees) and they were able to pull out of their 2-5 nosedive, and now lead the AFC South with a 7-7 record, and sure enough, the team's success during the months of November and December has been punctuated with the announcement that Watt and Hopkins indeed have been named to the 2016 Pro Bowl, which will be played in Honolulu on January 31. This marks the 12th consecutive season that the Texans have placed a player in the game, and perhaps appropriately, they're the only AFC South team to place a player in the game this season.
For Hopkins, this will be his first trip to the Pro Bowl in a season where he has emerged as one of the premier receivers in the league. Currently, he is ranked fourth in the NFL in both receiving yards (1,315) and receptions (97), and with 10 touchdown receptions, he is the first Texans receiver to achieve double digits in that category in franchise history. Amazingly, he's piled up these numbers with three different starting quarterbacks, and perhaps a fourth if Brandon Weeden starts either of the final two games.
Hopkins became the third-youngest player in NFL history to reach 200 career receptions and 3,000 career receiving yards, behind only Larry Fitzgerald (23 years, 108 days) and David Boston (23 years, 126 days). He also became the first player in NFL history with at least nine catches and 145 receiving yards in three consecutive games, in Weeks 4 through 6. The measuring stick for receivers in Houston will always be Andre Johnson, and earlier this season, Hopkins passed Andre Johnson for the most receptions (225) and receiving yards (3,327) for a player in his first three seasons in team history.
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While Hopkins is making his first appearance in the Pro Bowl, Watt continues his annual formality of achieving this honor, making his fourth-straight Pro Bowl appearance following another dominant season at defensive end for the Texans. Watt's individual seasons of greatness are beginning to place him in career defining strata as this year he passed Derrick Thomas (66.0) for the second-most career sacks in a player’s first five seasons in NFL history and became the second-fastest player in NFL history to reach 70.0 sacks (Reggie White, 57 games).
Watt has continued to stuff the stat sheet at a position, defensive end in a 3-4 defense, that has never been conducive to doing so — 66 tackles, 13.5 sacks for 87.5 yards, 25 tackles for loss, 44 quarterback hits, five passes defensed and one forced fumble. He is currently the league leader in quarterback hits, tackles for loss and is tied for second in the league in sacks. For his career, Watt has 70.5 sacks, 203 quarterback hits, 128 tackles for loss, 11 fumble recoveries, 13 forced fumbles, and 42 passes defensed.
Texans left tackle Duane Brown was named an alternate to the game, so if any of the six tackles named are unable to attend due to injury or his team making the Super Bowl, Brown could attend as the third Houston Texan.
Here is the historical list of Houston Texans named to the Pro Bowl:
Player Pos Season Career Selections
DeAndre Hopkins WR 2015 First
J.J. Watt DE 2015 Fourth
Arian Foster RB 2014 Fourth
J.J. Watt RB 2014 Third
Andre Johnson WR 2013 Seventh
J.J. Watt DE 2013 Second
Duane Brown T 2012 First
Arian Foster RB 2012 Third
Andre Johnson WR 2012 Sixth
Johnathan Joseph CB 2012 Second
Chris Myers C 2012 Second
Matt Schaub QB 2012 Second
Wade Smith G 2012 First
J.J. Watt DE 2012 First
Arian Foster RB 2011 Second
Johnathan Joseph CB 2011 First
Chris Myers C 2011 First
Antonio Smith DE 2011 First
Arian Foster RB 2010 First
Andre Johnson WR 2010 Fifth
Vonta Leach FB 2010 First
Matt Schaub QB 2009 First
Brian Cushing LB 2009 First
Andre Johnson WR 2009 Fourth
DeMeco Ryans LB 2009 Second
Mario Williams DE 2009 Second
Owen Daniels TE 2008 First
Andre Johnson WR 2008 Third
Mario Williams DE 2008 First
DeMeco Ryans LB 2007 First
Andre Johnson WR 2007 Second
Jerome Mathis WR 2005 First
Andre Johnson WR 2004 First
Aaron Glenn CB 2002 Third
Gary Walker DE 2002 Second
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