Gordon McGuiness of Pro Football Focus compiled a list of second-year players under the most pressure to perform, with three Houston Texans players making the cut. According to the official Twitter post a couple of days ago, Kenyon Green, Derek Stingley Jr, and Christian Harris are the three to be featured out of ten total players.
Upon first glance, it is easy to understand why these three are mentioned explicitly in the conversation. Each player serves as an important asset to the Texans organization and is needed to uptick their contributions if they hope to improve their output from the 2022 season.
Stingley Jr and Harris represent promising young pieces in a raw Texans defense. To truly understand their importance let's take a look at their contributions.
Derek Stingley Jr emerged as a leader in the Texans' secondary as a rookie. According to Pro Football Reference, the 21-year-old recorded 43 total tackles, one sack, one interception, and five defended passes in nine contests. With Stingley Jr, stats do not tell the whole story. As the young corner grew more acclimated to the pace and expectations of the NFL game, we began to see defenses less target his side of the field.
Maintaining this alpha status in a deep Texans secondary comes with increased pressure, which is why I think Pro Football Focus highlighted him in their list. As for Christian Harris, the second-year linebacker also put together a quality rookie season in 2022.
In 12 games, according to Pro Football Reference, the 21-year-old compiled 74 total tackles, five defended passes, three quarterback hits, six tackles for loss, and an interception. With 11 of those 12 appearances being starts, Harris quietly became one of the Texans' more integral linebackers and will surely need to continue his upward trajectory if the unit is to continue its improvement.
For offensive guard Kenyon Green, improvement is necessary to warrant a starting role on the team moving forward. With an overall PFF grade of 37.7 to go along with 12 penalties and four sacks allowed, Green provided more negatives along the offensive line than positives in his rookie campaign.
With offensive linemen, it is important to understand that their development process often takes longer than that of other skill positions, but with limited team depth, the Houston Texans need to see some signs of life from its 2022 first-round draft choice. Each member listed plays an integral role in the success and improvement of their team, now it is time to see if they can live up to the expectations.