Texans claim 4 players in best draft slots since 2006 ranking

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How good were the Houston Texans at drafting since 2006? The Texans performed so well that they had four players on Pro Football Focus’ best draft slots ranking.

The premise was to rank the best No. 1 overall picks in that span, best No. 2 overall picks, et cetera.

In Michael Renner’s rankings, the Texans had four players on the list.

The first was defensive end J.J. Watt, who qualified as the best No. 11 overall pick. Why not? He had a record-tying three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards and was the prime reason the Texans were playoff contenders in their quarterback-less seasons.

Speaking of quarterbacks, Deshaun Watson was the best No. 12 overall pick since 2006. The three-time Pro Bowler was a catalyst for victories in the Bill O’Brien era, and even played valiantly in 2020 despite the team slouching to a 4-12 finish.

The best No. 26 overall pick was tackle Duane Brown. The Pro Bowler was a blindside protector for Matt Schaub and all of the journeymen who followed.

DeAndre Hopkins was ranked as the best No. 27 overall pick since 2006. Given that one of Hopkins’ three All-Pro selections came in a 4-12 season in 2017 when he played more with T.J. Yates and Tom Savage than the rookie Watson, who was injured, it makes sense why he would earn that distinction.

What is most evident to any Texans fan who takes a look at the list is the lost potential. When Watt, Hopkins, and Brown were in their primes and on the same field together, Houston didn’t have a quarterback. When Houston finally got a quarterback, Brown was traded to the Seattle Seahawks in 2017. And even though Houston finally found the franchise man at the most critical position in the sport, and still had Watt and Hopkins as complements, the Texans have just one playoff win to show for it.

Now, three are gone with No. 4 struggling to get through the exit.

Drafting doesn’t seem to be a problem for the Texans. Team-building, coaching, and organizational direction have been the franchise’s undoing.