2. Andre Johnson, WR, 2003 3rd overall pick
In 2002, the Houston Texans selected David Carr with their first ever draft pick. In 2003, they went and got their supposed franchise quarterback his first true weapon in Johnson. Carr didn’t pan out, but Johnson sure as heck did.
Johnson was and is the face of the Houston Texans franchise. He was the figurehead the team needed after it’s inception. He was the face the team had but didn’t deserve.
Johnson played with a lot of poor quarterbacks throughout his career, but still put up hall of fame numbers. He also played on a lot of bad teams, but never let that slow him down.
Johnson finished his Texans career with 1,012 receptions, 13,597 yards, and 64 touchdowns. If that’s not a hall of fame career, I don’t know what is. He should, without a doubt, be donning a gold jacket in the near future.
Johnson was a phenomenal football player, but he was a better humanitarian for this city. Every year, including the ones after he was no longer a member of the Texans, he took underprivileged kids Christmas shopping. He would give them 80 seconds (same as his jersey number) to grab as many toys as they could and he would buy them for the kids.
Johnson was a great player on the field but, an even better one off of it.
1. JJ Watt, DE, 2011, 11th overall pick
When the Houston Texans selected JJ Watt out of Wisconsin, it wasn’t all love like it is now. No one remembers better than the star himself.
Now, I guarantee that every person on that list has jumped for joy because of #99. I’d wager a bet that the majority of them probably even own a #99 jersey. Watt has completely won over this franchise and this city.
Watt didn’t immediately step onto the field as a world beater. He only garnered five and a half sacks in his first season as a Texan. However, the Texans played the Bengals in the playoffs that year and that’s when everything changed.
Watt had a game-changing interception return for a touchdown in that game that set the city on fire. After that, he followed it up with 20.5 sacks in the 2012 season. Watt was rapidly becoming the game’s best player.
2014 might be the best season by a single player in the history of the entire league. Watt repeated his 2012 20.5 sack campaign. This, by the way, was the first time a player had two 20+ sack seasons. Watt also had an interception he returned 80 yards for a touchdown. He had five fumble recovers, including one for a touchdown.
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Oh, and on top of all of that, he added three offensive receiving touchdowns. That brings this defensive end’s touchdown total to five for the year. Watt’s 2014 season was so electric that he received MVP votes.
In 2015, he had another great year with 17.5 sacks. However, in 2016 he dealt with a herniated disc and in 2017 he broke his leg. Fortunately, he is already up and running and looking ready for the 2018 season.
Watt, the man of the year.
Watt, like Johnson, is an even better person off the field than he is on it. Which is pretty freaking hard to believe. The JJ Watt Foundation has provided funding in excess of $4,000,000 for middle school athletic programs. The main event being this charity baseball classic, which has become a spectacle in the city of Houston.
In late August, Hurricane Harvey struck the city of Houston. Immediately following, JJ Watt began a campaign to raise funding to help Houstonians get back on their feet. His campaign completely blew up and he raised over $37,000,000.
His work on the field is absolutely unbelievable. No one expected him to be this successful. He is, without a doubt, the best defensive player of our generation. He may wind up being the greatest of all time. However, his work off the field and the way he embraced this city will help keep him at the top of this list forever.