Sean Pendergast

Houston Texans Fans Select Team's All-Time Top Five

Andre Johnson was selected by Texan fans in a PFF poll as the greatest Houston Texan of all time.
Andre Johnson was selected by Texan fans in a PFF poll as the greatest Houston Texan of all time. Photo by Eric Sauseda
Content is always king, but during the sports hiatus which we are on right now, creatively finding content for the tens of thousands of stuck-at-home sports fans is going to be very interesting. One of the easy layups to spark debate and draw eyeballs is soliciting opinion on power rankings, for almost anything, really. Songs, movies, hamburgers, and yes, athletes.

To that end, the good folks with the Houston branch of Pro Football Focus posted this little topic over the weekend.....
And here are the results summarized in three tweets.....

The results are very interesting, and if anything, they're a reminder for just how young (and perhaps, painfully average, at best) the Texans are as a franchise, when a quarterback who hasn't even started three seasons worth of games is deemed, rather easily, one of the five best players in franchise history. I love Deshaun Watson, but that's eye opening. A few other thoughts:

I voted, and here are my top five....
My ballot went as follows:

1. J.J. Watt
2. Andre Johnson
3. Arian Foster
4. DeAndre Hopkins
5. Duane Brown

So I have the same top four as the fan base, just in a different order. Watt gets top billing for me on the simple fact that he was the best player on his side of the football for a four year period, while Johnson was one of the best at his position for about six or seven seasons. Those three DPOY's for Watt loom large. I have Foster over Hopkins on the strength of what he meant to the very best offenses in team history, and his all around versatility as a player, but that one is really close. Brown's body of work is the most impressive of any of the remaining Texans, but yes, Deshaun Watson might be the most talented player in team  history. He just hasn't done enough yet, in my opinion, to be top five all time. The fans voting here, for the most part, disagree with me.

So how on earth could some NOT vote for Andre Johnson or J.J. Watt?
For the 1.4 percent and 6.6 percent of you that didn't have Andre Johnson and J.J. Watt, respectively, in your top five, may I have some of what you are smoking? My only guess here is that the small morsel of the fan base that didn't vote for Johnson were sending in "funny" ballots, and likely overlap directly with the ballots that included David Carr and Jon Weeks. As for the larger chunk that didn't vote for Watt, same thing with maybe a few more who have some form of "Watt fatigue." You're still ridiculous, people.

Brian Cushing might be a tad overrated
Man, Brian Cushing as the sixth best player in franchise history is complicated. There may not be a more popular player with teammates and coaches in team history than Cushing, and the version of Cushing that played from 2009 through Week 5 of 2012 (when he sustained his first knee injury) is undoubtedly a Top 5 player in franchise history, maybe Top 3. Fact is, though, that from 2013 through 2017, Cushing was a banged up vocal leader more than a star player. He was suspended twice for PED's. Put simply, if you want to engage me in a "better Texans career" debate and I get Johnathan Joseph or Duane Brown, and you get Cushing, I feel like I'll smoke you in that debate.

This list represents a dose of reality for anyone thinking replacing DeAndre Hopkins is at all likely
The main storyline for the Texans over the next few weeks, and perhaps next few years, is "How do you replace DeAndre Hopkins?" I would take it a step further and say the storyline may be "How do you find more good, young players?", especially with no first round picks until 2022. This point is hammered home when you look at the means by which the Texans acquired all ten of the players in the top ten:

1. Johnson, 1st round pick (3rd overall)
2. Watt, 1st round pick (3rd overall)
3. Hopkins, 1st round pick (3rd overall)
4. Foster, Undrafted free agent
5. Watson, 1st round pick (3rd overall)
6. Cushing, 1st round pick (3rd overall)
7. Brown, 1st round pick (26th overall)
8. Joseph, Free agency (former 1st round pick by CIN)
9. Ryans, 2nd round pick (33rd overall)
10. Schaub, Trade (for two 2nd round picks)

Seven of the ten players are former first round picks of the team, Ryans was as close to being a first rounder without being one as a player can be (33rd overall pick), and Schaub was traded here for two 2nd round picks. The only outlier is Foster, who is the greatest undrafted player in team history. In short, it's going to be tough finding players to crack lists like this the you're starting the draft in the second and third round the next couple years.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at and like him on Facebook at
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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast