A trio of Houston Texans offensive players were selected to the 2020 Pro Bowl in Orlando, Florida: wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, quarterback Deshaun Watson, and left tackle Laremy Tunsil. This is the most players Houston has had named to the NFL’s All-Star Game since 2016 and the most offensive players since 2013.
Though it may not be a career year for Hopkins, his talent, impact, and status make him a must-have on the Pro Bowl roster. He’s eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards for the fifth time in his seven-year career. Even when facing consistent double coverage, he’s racked up over 81 yards per game in 2019. Hopkins currently sits 79th all-time for career receiving yards; if he keeps up this pace, he should end the season around 73rd all-time. Hopkins is quickly catching up on Andre Johnson as the team’s all-time leading receiver, though he has several more seasons to go before he gets close. This is his fourth Pro Bowl selection and third straight selection.
Deshaun Watson is having a stellar year. The young QB has been relatively clean throughout the season, throwing only 11 interceptions and tossing 26 touchdowns. He’s on pace for around 4,200 passing yards and 430 rushing yards. He joins Steve Young as the only QBs in NFL history with 25 passing TDs and 5 rushing TDs in consecutive seasons. With an improved offensive line, Watson has shined in big moments. Though he’s thrown two interceptions in four different games this season, he’s made relatively fewer mistakes this year than in past seasons. He has continued to evolve and demonstrate his knowledge of the offense both on the field and in press conferences. Last year Watson was picked as a Pro Bowl alternate, but this year he was selected to the first team for the first time in his young career.
Laremy Tunsil was also selected to his first career Pro Bowl. The left tackle joined the team right before the season started via a trade with the Dolphins and has boosted the offensive line’s performance from the day he walked into NRG stadium. Yes, he does lead the league in false start penalties. Yes, he does lead all Houston offensive lineman on the Texans Sack Tracker. However, this Pro Bowl selection is a demonstration of the thankless work offensive lineman have to do. If you never notice them, that's a good thing. Tunsil joins Chris Myers, Duane Brown, and Wade Smith as the only Texans offensive linemen selected to the Pro Bowl.
The Texans also feature a healthy group of Pro Bowl alternates, which means if a player at their position decides not to play, these players will be brought in instead. This list includes outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus, nose tackle D.J. Reader, long snapper Jon Weeks, center Nick Martin and inside linebacker Zach Cunningham. If the Texans go from the worst offensive line in recent memory to having two Pro Bowlers the next year, that will be one of the most remarkable turnarounds in franchise history. Cunningham may have been the biggest snub as he leads the AFC in tackles. D.J. Reader is one of the most underappreciated players in the league and has been a terror in the run game.
What’s more surprising: that Tunsil made the Pro Bowl or that Reader or Cunningham did not? Comment below and congrats to the Texans 2020 Pro Bowl selections!