The 2017 Texans are not a very good football team. You can blame injuries, you can blame personnel management, you can blame coaching decisions - whatever. The fact of the matter is...they stink.
But within that pile of garbage lies a couple bright, beautiful diamonds, and their names are DeAndre Hopkins and Jadeveon Clowney. The NFL announced the rosters for the 2018 Pro Bowl this evening, and as you might expect, Hopkins and Clowney were the only two Texans to make the cut. This is the second career Pro Bowl appearance for both of them, with Clowney previously making it in 2017 and Hopkins making it in 2016.
Hopkins in particular is having a career season, and it has been even more impressive considering the quarterback play he has had to endure for most of the year. As of this writing, Nuk has 92 catches, 1,313 yards, and 12 touchdowns (career high).
The only players to post 88+ receptions for 1,200+ yds and 11+ TDs through 13 games in @NFLhistory:— Texans PR (@TexansPR) December 13, 2017
D. Hopkins (2017)
A. Brown (2014)
R. Moss (2003)
T. Owens (2002)
M. Harrison (1999)
H. Moore (1995)
J. Rice (1995)
Hopkins (25) is the youngest to reach those numbers so quickly pic.twitter.com/9XauEhKQ1Q
Clowney is also having a career season at nine sacks, with two more games to go in order to hit the fabled double-digit milestone. But beyond just numbers, Clowney’s true value has been the impact he brings as a flexible chess piece that can line up all over the front. He can play anything from outside linebacker to defensive tackle, and he’s productive at all of those spots to boot.
#Texans Jadeveon Clowney (@clownejd ) & @DeAndreHopkins each selected to the #ProBowl. 2nd selection for each. Clowney is only AFC player w/ at least 20 QB hits & 20 TFL. (@JJWatt was the last AFC player to do that ; 2015)— Adam Wexler (@awexlerKPRC) December 20, 2017
Hopkins is locked up as a Texan for the next several years, but Clowney’s future is less certain. Coming off a dominant season and his second consecutive Pro Bowl honor, he most certainly will become one of the highest-paid defensive players in NFL history. The biggest question of this Texans’ offseason will be if the team plans to pay him all of the money that he undoubtedly will command, and if so, how that price tag will affect the rest of the roster going forward.
Congratulations to Hopkins and Clowney for receiving this honor (again). Good record or bad record, they are both definitely worth every damn penny.