‘Top tier destination’: Texans legend J.J. Watt is a fan of Stefon Diggs trade

J.J. Watt served as the final piece of the turning of times at NRG Stadium when the Houston Texans selected him 11th overall in 2011. Prior to his arrival, Houston had only one winning season.

Perhaps the arrival of Offensive Rookie of the Year and wunderkind C.J. Stroud sends a second wind through the franchise that ends with a Lombardi Trophy. Regardless, Watt is excited to see what unfolds in the Texans’ future.

The three-time Defensive Player of the Year took to Twitter on Wednesday following the Stefon Diggs trade, praising the AFC South franchise for its two-year turnaround. Last season, Houston added Stroud, along with Defensive Rookie of the Year Will Anderson Jr. and former Pro Bowl linebacker DeMeco Ryans as head coach.

A year later, the Texans added Pro Bowl running back Joe Mixon, Diggs and four-time Pro Bowl defensive end Danielle Hunter.

The Texans were looking to build off their first double-digit win season in four years and saw the opportunity to splurge with Stroud still on his rookie contract. After failing to sign a premier running back at the start of free agency, general manager Nick Caserio traded a seventh-round pick to the Cincinnati Bengals for Mixon.

Mixon, who will turn 28 in July, is coming off another 1,000-yard rushing season and has shown no signs of slowing down. The Texans believe his best years are still ahead and plan to use him as their bell-cow back after agreeing to terms on a three-year extension worth $27 million.

“I’m not thinking about a drop-off,” Ryans said of Mixon at the owners meetings last week. “I’m thinking about the positives and the things that [he’s] done in his career. He’s been consistent throughout his entire career — a guy who can move the chains for you, a guy who can open up the passing game with his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. He just opens up the things that we can do offensively.”

Defensively, the addition of Hunter should be considered an upgrade — on paper at least — over the departed Jonathan Greenard. He’s coming off a career-high 16.5-sack season with the Minnesota Vikings and led the league with 23 tackles for loss.

Signed to a two-year deal worth up to $51 million, Hunter looks to become the first Texans player since Watt to record back-to-back double-digit sack campaigns on Houston’s defense. He also will serve as a teacher and confidant for Anderson, who broke Watt’s rookie sack record this past fall.

“He’s exciting,” Hunter said of Anderson during his introductory press conference last month. “Has a lot of tools. I was with him earlier, and he just can’t stop jumping, how eager he is to go out there and rush the passer together. Very good kid. I’m excited just to be able to go out there and teach him a lot of things that I know and become a better player.

One of the greatest defensive linemen of the 2000s, Watt guided Houston to five playoff appearances in 10 years. On top of winning three Defensive Player of the Year awards, Watt also recorded 101 of his 113 career sacks as a member of the AFC South franchise.

Watt was the second player added to Houston’s Ring of Honor this offseason, joining Hall of Fame wide receiver Andre Johnson. He’ll join Johnson in Canton, Ohio, when eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2028.

Story originally appeared on Texans Wire