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Johnathan Joseph: Future Hall of Famer?

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The Texans’ all-time great is within reach of a big NFL record.

NFL: AUG 14 Texans Training Camp Photo by Juan DeLeon/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

From Coffeyville Community College to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, it’s certainly been a wild ride for Houston Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph. Now, it’s about to get even more exciting with a historic mark within his reach.

Joseph transferred from Coffeyville to the University of South Carolina in 2004, but didn’t really land on anyone’s radar until after the 2005 season, when he received an invite to the NFL Scouting Combine. Joseph proceeded to run a 4.31 40-yard dash and flew up the draft boards from there.

J-Jo was selected 24th overall by the Cincinnati Bengals, who put him third on the depth chart leading into his rookie season. That didn’t last long; Joseph cracked the starting lineup in the first game and never looked back.

In what many consider the greatest free agent signing in franchise history, Houston inked Joseph to a five-year, $48.75 million deal with $23.50 million guaranteed and a signing bonus of $12.50 million on July 29, 2011. Once again, Joseph never looked back.

ESPN.com

Houston thinks so much of Joseph (as they should) that they even gave him a raise earlier this week in the wake of losing his longtime partner-in-crime Kareem Jackson during free agency.

Now it seems Joseph is about to put yet another feather in his cap:

USA Today

Houston cornerback Johnathan Joseph has already fully etched his name into Texans history after eight impressive years to date down south. However, he may be about to stake his claim as one of the best cornerbacks in NFL history very soon.

The 35-year-old who recently received a $1.5 million raise on the year from Bill O’Brien’s side currently has 181 career defended passes to his name, just 22 off of soon to be Hall of Famer Champ Bailey’s NFL record of 203.

While 22 passes defended may take longer than one season (he defended 13 last year) Joseph did hit the 22 mark in the 2015 season and the 20 P mark in 2006 and 2009, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility for it to happen in 2019.

If Joseph can have another banner year, if Houston’s defensive front seven can return to elite form, and if safeties Justin Reid and Tashaun Gipson can lock the back door, Houston’s defense will be lights out this year.

With battles against Drew Brees, Andrew Luck (twice), Philip Rivers, Cam Newton, Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady all coming their way, chances are Joseph will have more than 22 opportunities to capture that flag. Even if those QBs are saavy enough to avoid the wily vet, they’ll still test him more than once.

What do you think? Can Joseph hit this mark in 2019? Is he assured a place in the Texans Ring of Honor and NFL Hall of Fame already, or does he need to do more to cement his legacy in pro ball history?