4. J.J. Watt out-performed other first-round defensive picks from 2009-15
The Houston Texans drafted linebacker Brian Cushing in 2009 with the 15th overall pick. and then cornerback Kareem Jackson at 20th overall in ’10. J.J. Watt was drafted in 2011 to the Texans with the 11th overall pick, as that pick was actually a franchise-changing moment for Houston.
After selecting Watt in ’12, the Texans selected linebacker Whitney Mercilus with the 26th overall pick. The ’14 pick by the Texans was a No. 1 overall selection, as that’s when Jadeveon Clowney joined the team, and the defensive end had an interesting stay during his Texans career.
The most recent first-round pick by the Texans for defense was ’15 when Kevin Johnson joined the team as a cornerback with the 16th selection.
Not to overlook the accomplishments of players listed above, but none of them were as great as Watt during their time with the Houston Texans or with any other team they happened to play for in their careers.
This group of five players was better in the sacks category than the first group of five defensive players selected by the Texans. This group totaled 27 interceptions with four touchdowns (only two more than Watt in his career) and 98.5 sacks, which Watt alone achieved more sacks during his tenure as a Houston Texans defensive end.
Don’t be mistaken, Cushing was an excellent player for the Texans, as were Jackson and Clowney. Mercilus is still in the starting lineup with the franchise, but when compared to Watt, the three-time Defensive Player of the Year is just that much better, which is saying a lot when compared to those talented players.