Do the Houston Texans really not have one player in recent Top 100 list?
How little does the national media think of the 2022 Houston Texans? In a recent list ranking his Top 100 players in the NFL, longtime veteran NFL writer Pete Prisco didn’t include a single player from the Texans on his list.
Prisco is always an interesting and fun read when it comes to the NFL, but not including at least one player for the Texans is a bit much, even if the team has been terrible with consecutive four-win seasons.
Two players who should have been somewhere on the list for the Texans are left tackle Laremy Tunsil and wide receiver Brandin Cooks.
Let’s start by talking about Cooks. The man was a 1,000-yard receiver on a team that had four wins, and on a team that was in the midst of a rebuild season in 2021. Not to mention his quarterbacks were Tyrod Taylor (who was injured and benched at times in ’21) and a rookie being Davis Mills, who was learning the NFL at a rapid pace.
Cooks is an underrated and undervalued wide receiver in the NFL and deserves more respect than he gets. Cooks in ’21 finished with 90 receptions for 1,037 yards with six touchdowns. In his two seasons with Houston, Cooks has two 1,000-yard receiving seasons, as the ’20 season saw him finish with 1,150 yards on 81 receptions with six touchdowns.
For his career, Cooks has an impressive résumé with six seasons of at least 1,000 yards receiving as he’s played in eight seasons on four franchises (Texans, Rams, Patriots, Saints).
Cooks is making Mills a better quarterback too, and there is no way anyone can say the Texans would have won as many games as they did without Cooks on the roster. Imagine if he wasn’t on the team and how poor the offense would have been as they had very little of a rushing game to speak of.
Though Cooks averaged 11.5 yards per reception in ’21 (which was down from 14.2 ypr the season before), remember he did go from having Deshaun Watson at quarterback to a journeyman veteran and a rookie at the position.
Toward the end of the season in ’21, Cooks and Mills became a solid duo with Cooks in the final five weeks — all starts for Mills after struggling early in the season — except for Week 15 where Cooks did not play.
In two of those four games with Mills, Cooks had 101 yards receiving against the Seahawks (eight receptions) and 102 yards vs. the Jaguars with seven receptions and two touchdowns.
Cooks should have at least been on the list somewhere, but in ’22 the wide receiver will continue to prove doubters wrong.
Texans: Laremy Tunsil is one of the best tackles in the game
He might not be at the top of the list right now, but when he’s healthy — and when ’22 starts that seems to be the plan — Laremy Tunsil is one of the best left tackles in the entire NFL, and he didn’t make the CBS Sports list either.
Granted, Tunsil was injured in ’21, but when he’s on the field there is no doubt he’s a top left tackle in the entire NFL. The Texans gave up a lot for the tackle and have paid him a massive amount of money, but even more than that, he’s a very good football player.
Tunsil played in just five games last season, but before that he was a two-time Pro Bowl selection in 2019 and 2020, plus in ’20 and ’21 he was listed in the NFL Top 100 by the players. In the five games he played in ’21 Tunsil didn’t allow a sack, and before that in ’20 he allowed just two in 817 snaps played.
In ’19 Tunsil played 915 snaps and allowed three sacks, so in 1,194 snaps with Houston, Tunsil has allowed just five sacks playing on an offensive line that hasn’t been the greatest during his tenure with the franchise.
If Tunsil stays healthy in ’22 he’ll be on all the Top 100 lists next year, but this season he’ll prove his doubters wrong as well, and the Texans will eventually get some respect for the two best players on their roster entering the ’22 season.