The Houston Texans are built around Deshaun Watson now. All of the great players from the beginning of last decade are gone, except for J.J. Watt, who’s now some kind of vestigial megafauna wandering around, the last of his kind, who will eventually lay down in some mud pot like Minnesota, or the New York (Giants), once Bill O’Brien doesn’t want to pay someone $15 million per year who only plays seven games each season. Watt is the last link from what was to what is now.
What is now is a team that heavily invested in its defensive line, has speed, has injury and first down conversion concerns at wide receiver, Deshaun Watson, and a pretty bare defensive cabinet filled with a few intriguing prospects.
For most, this question—your favorite current Texan—is pretty simple. It’s Watson. It’s Watt. Those are our guys.
For me, however, it’s Benardrick McKinney. He has the best aesthetics on the team. He could be a psychagogue who raises the dead with shoulder pads topped by skulls. He could go see My Chemical Romance with his black face paint and fit right in. As a player, McKinney is the strong side interior linebacker and constantly deals with pulling offensive linemen and second level lurching blockers who can breath on him before the snap. Rarely, if ever, is McKinney dragged by any running back. Nearly every tackle sends the ball carrier backwards. Extra yards are an impossibility; the only player I’ve seen do beat up on McKinney is Baltimore’s 300+ pound fullback Patrick Ricard.
McKinney can blitz from the interior and off the exterior a little bit. Sure, you don’t want him playing man coverage, but he’s an underrated zone coverage linebacker who pops crossing routes, robots to the seam, and defends the short zone well. These days, for whatever reason, everyone is Team Zach Cunningham; Cunningham gets to chase from the backside unblocked while McKinney turns the point of attack into a mass grave. We’re at the point now where McKinney is the most underrated player on the 2020 Houston Texans.
What about you? Who is your favorite Texan on the current roster?