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Mel Kiper's Top 20 Rookies: Texans CB Kevin Johnson Is Strangely Nowhere To Be Found

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Mel Kiper puts out yet another list that does nothing but make me irrationally angry.

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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Jr. decided to release his current rankings of the NFL’s top 20 rookies so far in 2015. If you have a subscription to ESPN’s Insider you can read the entire thing; if not, here is a sampling of Kiper’s top 10.

[1] Marcus Peters, CB, Chiefs

Heading into the draft, I wrote "On tape alone, he has an argument as the top cornerback in the class." Peters looks like it so far. He has an interception in each of his first two games, including a pick-six against Peyton Manning in Week 2. So far, so good.

[2] Marcus Mariota, QB, Titans

The Week 2 loss in Cleveland was a step down from his Week 1 explosion against Tampa Bay, but Mariota has a 6/0 TD/INT ratio so far and has already dispelled any notion the Titans are only starting him because they need to justify the high pick. He belongs.

[3] Mitch Morse, C, Chiefs

I knew the Chiefs were interested in Morse going into the draft, but I can tell you they had him rated a lot higher than I did. This is a case of them seeing a perfect fit, and Morse has looked the part of a veteran through two games.

[4] Jameis Winston, QB, Bucs

Sure, he gets a little bump on positional value, but after a really bad start, Winston has been pretty good in six of eight NFL quarters so far. His play on Sunday in the Superdome was really impressive. He'll have his ups and downs, especially as the Bucs get their O-line worked out, but the talent is there, and more consistent results will follow.

[5] Henry Anderson, DE, Colts

I'll be the first to say I underrated Anderson if he keeps this up. Upside was a big part of the question -- he's already 24 -- but he doesn't need to improve at all to be one of the top rookies at this rate. He'll have the splash plays but should be steady (particularly against the run) in the mean time.

[6] Kwon Alexander, ILB, Bucs

No, he's not Lavonte David, but Alexander fits the profile in some ways as the athletic linebacker who plays lighter than most but makes up for it with instincts and the ability to find the ball. Good start for the fourth-rounder.

[7] Ronald Darby, CB, Bills

The talent far surpasses the draft slot, and Darby could prove to be a steal if he takes care of business off the field. An immediate starter, Darby is clearly a player Rex Ryan feels can be a stud. He's being challenged early.

[8] Vic Beasley Jr., LEO, Falcons

In the final Big Board before the draft I wrote, "If you just set him loose as a pass-rusher, I think the production will be there." So far, so good. Beasley needs to be graded on more than splash plays, but he's going to bring a ton of pressure if you don't get the ball out early.

[9] Leonard Williams, DE, Jets

Williams is still more of a run defender than he is a consistent force against the pass. But it's a credit to the guy who was No. 1 on my board that the Jets are playing without Sheldon Richardson and still look capable of dominating up front. He was a steal at No. 6 overall.

[10] Danny Shelton, DT, Browns

Shelton had a great camp and has started strong. You just don't see rookies who can consistently hold their own against double teams, but Shelton is playing like the Browns could have hoped so far.

Being the astute readers that you are, you probably noticed that rookie Texans CB Kevin Johnson was not present in the top 10. In fact, Johnson was not even in the top 20, nor was he one of the eight names that Kiper mentioned as the "runners up" just outside of the list.

The Texans' defense has not had very many bright spots so far this season, but Johnson has undoubtedly been one of them. One could argue that he has been the best defensive back on the team through two games.  To be honest, outside of J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney, he might be the best performer on the entire defensive unit. I still do not trust Pro Football Focus grades at all, but they do come up with some solid statistical notes every now and then. Here is what they had to say about K-Jo after last week.

Rookie Kevin Johnson has a yards per coverage snap of 0.04, the best for all cornerbacks. In 52 coverage snaps, he has only allowed one catch, and it was for 2 yards.

If Johnathan Joseph and A.J. Bouye continue to struggle as mightily as they have so far this season, Johnson will likely get increasingly high snap counts from week to week. Do not be shocked if he actually ends up securing a starting role by the end of the year. Bill O’Brien is not the kind of coach that will remain loyal to underperforming players for arbitrary reasons, and Johnson is just that damn good.  We’ve got a special one here, folks.

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