Every year, it seems a Houston Texans defender who didn’t get much attention from the media and fans prior to the season rises up. The list of guys who have seemingly come out of nowhere to surprise opponents includes A.J. Bouye, Andre Hal, D.J. Reader and more. Let’s also not forget how many people thought the pick used to take J.J. Watt was wasted.
Last year, Bradley Roby was signed and remained in the shadows to some extent behind Tashaun Gipson’s addition. That was until they games began and Roby quickly outperformed Gipson. With a defensively down year like 2019, it’s hard to say any player rose up and left a huge mark, but in context, Roby was that guy last year.
Going into 2020, the Texans have a handful of unheralded guys who could make a splash. With the loss of Reader, Brandon Dunn, Angelo Blackson and rookie Ross Blacklock all have the opportunity to rise up and seize the day.
Gareon Conley could also finally grab the brass ring many expected him to hold when he was originally drafted in the first round by the Oakland Raiders. Zach Cunningham, already a force in the middle, could take the next step necessary to finally become a household name.
Charles Omenihu and Duke Ejiofor also have an opportunity to be “that guy” opposite J.J. Watt, taking advantage of all the attention Watt gets every time he steps on the field.
No matter who it is, with the state of the Houston defense at the end of the 2019 season, the treasure of on-field glory is there for the taking by whoever decides to up their game and grab it. That’s the true upside to defensive adversity; it provides all the opportunity in the world for greatness to arise.
Who do you think will take the next level step in 2020? Who becomes the next A.J. Bouye? Who goes from booed to celebrated? Conley? Omenihu? Dunn? Ejiofor? Give us your pick.