The 2020 NFL season pops off with your Houston Texans playing the Kansas City Chiefs in front of a socially distanced band of people next Thursday night. Season previews are starting to swelter now that we now a season will occur. Fantasy football drafts have begun. There’s s dim bronze glow up ahead.
ESPN ranked the top 100 NFL players entering the 2020 NFL campaign. Three Texans made the list. This is what ESPN had to say.
10. Deshaun Watson
QB | Texans
2019 rank: 47
Watson lost DeAndre Hopkins, but he has more depth at the position, including three speedy receivers in Will Fuller V, Brandin Cooks and Kenny Stills. Watson has 47 completions of 30-plus yards since 2018, and that should be an area he excels in even more this season. — Sarah Barshop
Signature stat: Watson joined Steve Young (1994, 1998) as the only players in NFL history to have 25 touchdown passes and five rushing touchdowns in multiple seasons. Watson is the only one to do it in consecutive years (2018-19).
What they are saying: “One of his greatest traits is that he really has an understanding and he can see the field really well. He makes good decisions. I think from where he was a rookie to where he is now, it has improved leaps and bounds and will continue to get better with all the reps and how well he really understands the pro game now.” — Bill O’Brien, Texans coach
38. J.J. Watt
DE | Texans
2019 rank: 14
Watt said he feels the best he has since 2015, when he was NFL Defensive Player of the Year. When healthy, the 31-year-old shows no signs of slowing down. Watt enters 2020 four sacks short of 100 for his career, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t eclipse that quickly with good health. — Sarah Barshop
Signature stat: Watt has the highest sacks per game (0.86) in the NFL since sacks became a statistic in 1982 (minimum 30 games played). He is one of four players with 80-plus sacks and 30-plus batted passes over the past 10 seasons.
2020 projection: 4,029 passing yards, 27 TDs, 12 INT (518 rushing yards)
What they are saying: “There are things that you see, for a man of his size and athletic ability, every day. You definitely say to yourself, ‘Wow, that’s a pretty special player.’” — Bill O’Brien, Texans coach
2020 projection: 50 tackles, 12 sacks, 3 forced fumbles
64. Laremy Tunsil
2019 rank: NR
Tunsil made his first Pro Bowl last season after being thrust into a new offense because he was traded nine days prior to the season. Tunsil said it was difficult adjusting to Deshaun Watson’s cadence, but after one season together, he believes they are on the same page and “a lot of great things can happen.” — Sarah Barshop
Signature stat: Tunsil is as trustworthy as they come when taking on a pass-rusher one-on-one. He posted a 91.5% pass block win rate when he was not part of a double-team last season, which was the sixth-highest rate among NFL tackles. The average rate among qualifiers in this category was 83.7%.
What they are saying: “Having a full [offseason] to know the whole package, to know the whole offense and see him work and see him get healthy — it’s been incredible. ... I know he’s going to have another, even better season this year.” — Deshaun Watson, Texans quarterback
Watson, Watt, and Tunsil are the three who made it. I would assume Will Fuller could crack this bunch if he plays 12 games, and Justin Reid should be a mainstay on this list in 2021.
What do you think? Should Houston have had more nominees? Are the rankings fair for those Texans who were included?