The most underappreciated player on the Texans defense has to be without a doubt Whitney Mercilus. He isn’t as known across the league as Watt and Clowney, but he is still one of the main reasons why Houston boasts one of the best front seven in the NFL.
His ability to bend and flip his hips and set the edge is up there with the best at his position. Mercilus has great hand usage and understands how to use his arm length at the line of scrimmage to beat the person trying to stop him. He is a complete player, and rehabbing from a torn pectoral isn’t going to derail his promising career.
Mercilus has been on the upward trend each season, as over the past three years, he has had 20.5 sacks in 36 games. He was second in the team with sacks in 2015 with 12 and led the team in 2016 with 7.5 sacks. With Watt going down in 2016 with a back injury and Clowney easing his way back into NFL shape after having microfracture surgery his rookie season, Mercilus was the center of attention of offensive game plans.
His success at getting to the quarterback during the playoffs is also very valuable and instrumental to the Texans’ Super Bowl aspirations in 2018, as he’s had six sacks in his three playoff appearances.