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Top 20 Houston Texans in Franchise History

Mike KernsCorrespondent IIIOctober 13, 2011

Top 20 Houston Texans in Franchise History

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    I've never really been the kind to rank players on a team or a franchise, but since it is the 10-year mark for the Houston Texans, we can probably put a list together here.

    There have been more ups than downs during the first decade of Texans football, no doubt. But for a city that was so starved for football upon its return in 2002, they've never lacked to sell out a single game in team history.

    During that time we have seen a lot of bad players, plenty of good ones and a handful of great ones don the Texans bull. Let us take a look at the top 20 through the first decade here.

20: Gary Walker

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    Defensive End (2002-2005)

    Taken in the 2002 expansion draft, Walker was the Texans' first Pro Bowler and accrued eight sacks in four seasons.

19: Seth Payne

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    Nose Tackle (2002-2006)

    Also a member of the expansion draft in 2002, Seth Payne played the middle for five seasons while amassing nine sacks.

18: Eric Winston

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    Offensive Tackle (2006-Present)

    A projected first-round talent, Winston slipped to the third round after concerns about his health. Now a part of the storied 2006 Texans draft, Winston is an anchor of one of the most dominant lines in football.

17: Duane Brown

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    Offensive Tackle (2008-Present)

    Brown, who was a surprise first-round pick in 2008, has gotten better each season he has been in the pros and is also a part of the now elite Texans offensive line.

16: Antonio Smith

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    Defensive End (2009-Present)

    With 12.5 sacks in just 36 games in a Texans uniform and a quirky persona to boot, Smith has quickly endeared himself to Houston fans. He'll be much higher on this list in a couple more seasons.

15: Jamie Sharper

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    Linebacker (2002-2004)

    Sharper never missed a game in three seasons with the Texans, while totaling 11.5 sacks and a memorable fumble recovery for a touchdown in his final season in Houston.

14: Aaron Glenn

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    Cornerback (2002-2004)

    In just three seasons with the Texans, Glenn certainly left his mark with 11 interceptions and a Pro Bowl appearance in 2002. He represented Houston as a "team legend" at the 2011 NFL Draft.

13: Vonta Leach

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    Fullback (2006-2010)

    Nothing that Vonta Leach did while in Houston will jump out at you on a stat sheet. But fans of the organization know what he meant to the team and he remains the only free agent who has left against team wishes.

12: Brian Cushing

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    Linebacker (2009-2011)

    After an underwhelming 2010 season, most were left wondering if Brian Cushing was a product of his substance abuse suspension in the preseason. But going back to his natural position in 2011 has him back in his rookie of the year form from 2009.

11: Owen Daniels

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    Tight End (2006-Present)

    Any concerns that his detractors had about him after his third ACL injury in his career have been wiped away as Daniels remains one of the best at his position in the league and a member of the 2006 dream draft.

10: Domanick Davis

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    Running Back (2003-2005)

    When you think of Domanick Davis, you think of what might have been. After rushing for over 3,000 yards his first three years in the league, knee problems sidelined him permanently. He still remains the Texans' all-time leading rusher.

9: Marcus Coleman

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    Defensive Back (2002-2005)

    Marcus Coleman tallied 11 interceptions in four seasons with the Texans while playing both cornerback and safety. He can still be heard occasionally on local sports radio in Houston.

8: Kris Brown

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    Kicker (2002-2009)

    The sad thing about Kris Brown is that more Texans fans remember him now for his sad ending in Houston. But for seven of his eight seasons in Houston, the original Texan was almost automatic and hit some big field goals.

7: DeMeco Ryans

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    Linebacker (2006-Present)

    Before his injury in the 2010 season, Ryans was considered by many to be a top-five linebacker in the league. If he will ever reach that level again is still up in the air, but as a defensive captain he has earned his stripes. A two-time Pro Bowler and a defensive rookie of the year award also compliment his pedigree. 

6: Dunta Robinson

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    Cornerback (2004-2009)

    Another player who Texans fans probably won't like to see this high on the list, but Dunta is still the greatest cornerback in the history of this franchise (Johnathan Joseph has still only played five games with the Texans. Too soon.).

    He wore his welcome out by his last season with the team, but in six seasons with Houston, Dunta compiled 13 interceptions and became a lock-down corner before a leg injury took away his speed.

5: Chester Pitts

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    Offensive Tackle/Guard (2002-2009)

    By the end of his run, Houston fans were referring to Chester Pitts as "Mr. Texan" because he had played every game in franchise history before a severe leg injury ended his 2009 season prematurely.

4: Arian Foster

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    Running Back (2009-2011)

    It's still kind of early, as this is only Arian Foster's second full season as the starting running back. But to make his mark with the most yards from scrimmage in a season by an undrafted player in NFL history, it's hard to deny his place here. In a couple of seasons, he could be higher.

3: Matt Schaub

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    Quarterback (2007-Present)

    When David Carr was run out of town a couple years too late in 2007, Matt Schaub didn't really have very big shoes to fill. That didn't stop him from throwing for over 15,000 yards and 77 touchdowns his first four years under center.

    In 2009, Schaub posted the sixth most prolific passing season in NFL history. He's the best quarterback in Houston history without the last name "Moon."

2: Mario Williams

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    Defensive End/Linebacker (2006-Present)

    All of the criticism that surrounded the Texans brass after selecting Mario Williams first overall in the now legendary 2006 NFL Draft would have been enough to ruin any prospect's confidence. But six years later, Vince Young and Reggie Bush are on their second teams in back-up roles, while Mario is one of the best pass-rushers in the entire NFL.

    With 53 sacks in just 82 career games, coupled with a pair of Pro Bowl appearances, has Mario on track for a yellow jacket.

1: Andre Johnson

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    Wide Receiver (2003-Present)

    Was there ever any doubt? Highly regarded by many as the best wide receiver in the NFL, Andre Johnson has been nothing short of amazing in his eight-plus seasons with the Texans. A five-time Pro Bowler on the brink of eclipsing the 10,000-yard mark this season, you are watching the first Texan to be a Hall of Famer.

     

    Mike Kerns is a featured columnist for the Houston Texans at Bleacher Report. Feel free to follow him on Twitter at @Zepp1978 and catch his latest Texans podcast at State of The Texans.

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