6. Eric Winston, OT, 2006 3rd round pick
In my opinion, teams are built in the third round. It’s a round where you have to evaluate talent extremely well. You have to balance finding contributors while not taking a huge risk. The third round is where the team found a stalwart in Winston.
Winston has been vastly underrated throughout his career. He never made a pro bowl, he never made an All-Pro team. But, he was an extremely solid player throughout his team with the Houston Texans and with the rest of the league.
He started seven games as a rookie and provided some nice depth. After that, he started all 16 games every year for the next five years. That, right there, is the definition of solid.
Winston wasn’t flashy in his career, but he was exactly what you want from a third-round offensive lineman. A spot that the Texans have missed at all too often.
In 2014, Winston was elected president of the players association. He has remained in the spot since. He has been very vocal and active on the front of player safety.
5. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, 2013 27th overall pick
In 2013, the Houston Texans were at an impasse on offense. They had their studs, but they were aging. They needed an infusion of talent for the present and the future. Insert 27th overall pick, DeAndre Hopkins.
Hopkins has been more than what anyone could’ve imagined in 2013. He didn’t receive as much attention as his Clemson running mate, Sammy Watkins, coming out. However, he has completely surpassed him in terms of on the field production.
Hopkins has missed just one game in his career, and that came in the final week of the 2017 season. He has put up tremendous numbers, the majority of the time with average or below quarterback play.
His stat line sits at 413 catches for 5,865 yards and 36 touchdowns. That is pretty outstanding. I expect those numbers to pile on the more playing time he gets with Watson.
Hopkins is in the conversation for the best wideout in the league. When it’s all said and down, he may go down as the best receiver in franchise history and nab all the franchise records. However, for now, both of those belong to another guy on this list.