This time of the year, optimism rules the day.
With organized training activities (OTAs) only a week away, every coach, fan and player is ready to see some form of football back on the field. The team's newest draft picks are officially on the squad, players coming off injury are recovering, and the promise of a new year has everyone in high spirits.
Even the guys you've never heard of before.
In a recent article, Pro Football Focus listed their 'Top 10' players of the 2014 season. Using their metrics, the publication ranked the NFL's top performers, with a familiar face at the top. J.J. Watt earned honors for the third year in a row, with the website claiming to have run out of superlatives to describe the defensive end's play.
Watt at number one is obviously impressive, but a few other names stuck out among the list. Names like Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who was a sixth round pick out of Central Michigan. Or even Baltimore lineman Marshal Yanda, a third round selection out of Iowa.
Above all was Denver Broncos corner Chris Harris Jr., who after a great career at Kansas went undrafted. He's now one of the NFL's top corners, and ranked fourth in PFF's system.
The National Football League and its teams don't really care how you get to the league, just what you do when you get there. There are a litany of undrafted free agents that will compete for roster spots starting next week here in Houston, and chances are that some of these players will have an impact on Sunday.
Texans fans don't have to look far to see this result. The best running back in team history, Arian Foster, was an undrafted free agent out of Tennessee. Foster went from an afterthought to one of the team's most valuable players.
I'm not saying you need to get to know every single player that will wear a Texans jersey next week. I'm just saying don't be surprised if someone you don't know today becomes somebody you know all too well tomorrow.
The Houston Texans roster in photos. (Updated 8/2/2021)