I'd like to think that most Houston Texans fans had faith that, with the hire of DeMeco Ryans as the head coach and the drafting of C.J. Stroud as the team's franchise quarterback, eventually the fortunes of the franchise would turn around. I think most everyone reading this, though, would agree that it's happened way faster than even the most optimistic Texans fans could have imagined.
It's been fun tracking the signs of progress, big and small, with this team in 2023. Now that November has arrived, and we are just a few weeks away from Pro Bowl adulation being doled out, it's fun to once again imagine multiple Houston Texans being selected for the Pro Bowl, as opposed to the last two seasons when the topic has basically been "Is Laremy Tunsil a Pro Bowler?"
By my count, I think there is a case that can be made, some stronger than others, for several Houston Texans to be selected for the Pro Bowl Games. Here is my list, with a short comment on each:
C.J. STROUD, QB
It's crazy to think that, in an AFC that looked like a murderer's row of veteran quarterbacks coming into the season, Stroud has placed himself squarely in the conversation for the best in the AFC, the Pro Bowl, and frankly, the NFL's Most Valuable Player Award. Three quarterbacks from each conference make the Pro Bowl. Stroud's toughest competition will come from Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes, both former MVPs themselves, along with Tua Tagovailoa, Trevor Lawrence, and Justin Herbert.
NICO COLLINS, WR
TANK DELL, WR
It's been fun watching the Texans' wide receivers pass the "100 yard game" baton around all season. One week, it's Collins. Another week, it's Dell. Hell, in back to back weeks not too long ago, Noah Brown went for over 150 yards in each game. Collins and Dell are the two in the mix for season long accolades, with Collins 7th (696 yards) and Dell 10th (659 yards) among AFC wide receivers. It's still tough sledding, with Tyreek Hill, Stefan Diggs, and Ja'Marr Chase in the mix, among others, but this has been a massive breakout campaign for both of these guys.
LAREMY TUNSIL, LT
Tunsil has been dealing with a knee injury all season, and it was bad enough to force him to miss a few games in the first month. If they actually still played a football game for the Pro Bowl — now, it's just a series of athletic events involving no contact — Tunsil might opt out. That said, he's been among the best pass blockers in the league, as usual.
DALTON SCHULTZ, TE
It took Schultz a few games to get things going as a Texan, but in the last seven games, Schultz has become a prime target for Stroud, with five touchdown catches. If you take Schultz's yardage numbers over the last seven games, and extrapolate them out over 17 games, he is damn near a 1,000 yard receiver. In the AFC, Travis Kelce will always occupy one tight end spot, but Mark Andrews, another perennial Pro Bowler, is out for the season, so Schultz has a decent shot.
WILL ANDERSON, DE
Anderson only has three sacks on the season, but he has been very disruptive with his pressure, despite being one of the most double teamed defensive linemen in the NFL. Anderson has also been very solid in defending the run, and he had his best game of the season this past Sunday against the Cardinals, so he may be primed for a breakout the next few weeks.
BLAKE CASHMAN, LB
By Pro Football Focus scores, Cashman has spent virtually the entire season among the top five linebackers in all of football. Currently, he ranks eighth among linebackers, and he's already been recognized once (versus Jacksonville in Week 3) as AFC Defensive Player of the Week. Last week, against Arizona, Cashman had 19 tackles.
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