• DeAndre Hopkins — Hopkins has been better than I even expected thus far for the 2013 season. The rookie first-round draft choice from Clemson has proven he’s more than capable of being the No. 2 wide receiver this year, and he’s for certain a future No. 1 wideout for the Texans.
His stats through the Texans’ first eight games are: 31 receptions for 470 yards and two touchdowns. He’s averaging 15.2 yards per catch, with his best game coming in week two, where he had seven receptions for 117 yards and one touchdown.
He may not be there yet, but eventually Hopkins will (at at least should) be one of the better wide receivers in the entire league.
• Case Keenum — I know the second-year player has just two starts under his belt, but this 25-year-old quarterback has provided a spark the Texans have been looking for all season.
In just two starts, he’s passed for 621 yards and four touchdowns, and more importantly, when the Texans do let him air the ball out, they look like a completely different team.
Though the win-loss results haven’t been there, I believe the Texans may have their quarterback of the future already. He’s completed nearly 60 percent of his passes and has no interceptions against two tough teams in the Kansas City Chiefs and the Indianapolis Colts.
The rest of the season will be fun to see if he can continue to improve on his abilities as a starting quarterback.
• J.J. Watt and Co. — For their overall product this season, I have no problem with the Texans’ defense. Sure, there have been times when I’ve wanted to pull out my hair, but overall the Texans’ defense has played to a quality level, especially compared to the rest of the team.
As for J.J. Watt, his 38 combined tackles and 5.5 sacks are on pace to be less than the Defensive Player of the Year numbers he achieved last season, but seasons like Watt had in ’12 are rare.
Overall, I feel Watt has played well, and when they’ve really needed him to stand out, he has, for the most part.