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J.J. Watt, DeAndre Hopkins Place High In ESPN’s Top NFL Players

Spoiler Alert: these two guys are still really good at football.

Mexico v Venezuela: Group C - Copa America Centenario Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

ESPN wrapped up its annual Top 100 NFL players today, and rather predictably the number one spot belongs to a generational pass rusher down in Houston. Here is what the worldwide leader in sports had to say about J.J. Watt extending his reign atop the NFL for one more year.

By the age of 27, Watt has done something that only Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor has done in NFL history: win three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards. Over the past four seasons, Watt leads the NFL with 69 sacks, and he should have many stellar years ahead of him. Watt is currently on the physically unable to perform list after having back surgery in late July, but the Texans are hoping he can return for the start of the regular season. Said Saints quarterback Drew Brees: "Obviously, he's an impact player, he's a difference-maker. And I'm sure they miss him." -- Sarah Barshop

Watt wasn’t the only Texan to crack the top 25 though, as he was joined by Bill O’Brien’s best offensive weapon – wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Nuk came in at a respectable 22nd overall on this list, placing fifth among all receivers.

Hopkins took his spot among the NFL's elite receivers last season. He caught an impressive 111 passes for 1,521 yards, ranking third in the NFL in both categories. And he caught them from four different quarterbacks, none of whom will be a starter in the NFL in 2016. Through his first three seasons, Hopkins has 3,533 receiving yards. He's only 24 years old, so the best is yet to come. -- Sarah Barshop

No other Texans made it into the Top 100. However, with the incredible collection of talent down in Houston this year, that may change next summer. Whitney Mercilus, Jadeveon Clowney, Johnathan Joseph, Andre Hal, Lamar Miller, and of course Brock Osweiler all arguably have the talent to be ranked highly among their peers. If they perform in the regular season like they have so far this preseason, they will likely be getting a write-up of their own twelve months from now.

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