Tonight at 7 p.m. CT, the Pro Bowl players will be announced. You can count on J.J. Watt and Arian Foster making the list. It'll be their third and fourth trips, respectively. A few other Texans might get selected too, and the game will be in Arizona on January 25.
It got me thinking.
What would an all-time Texans Pro Bowl roster look like?
So I started tinkering and came up with the list below. Most of them are no-brainers, because the Texans have such a brief history in the NFL. But there are also a few curveballs because of that young history.
LT: Duane Brown (2012)
LG: Wade Smith (2012)
C: Chris Myers (2011)
RG: Chris Myers (2012)
RT: J.J. Watt (2013)
TE: Owen Daniels (2008)
QB: Matt Schaub (2012)
WR: Andre Johnson (2009)
WR: Jerome Mathis (2005)
FB: Vonta Leach (2010)
RB: Arian Foster (2010)
The first three spots on the left side of the line are simple: Brown at tackle from 2012, Smith at guard from the same season and Chris Myers at center from 2011. But those are the only three Texan offensive linemen to have been selected.
Creativity came into play, so I put 2012 Myers at right guard. In a pinch, he'd be capable of playing an interior line spot, so he goes there. But all the official ofensive line spots have been exhausted, so I had to look elsewhere. Watt from last season slides into the right tackle spot because why not? He's got great footwork, balance and hands, and it's a Pro Bowl game. I was on the field at Aloha Stadium in January of 2012, and play at the line of scrimmage was a slightly more physical game of pattycakes.
Schaub went to a pair of Pro Bowls, but I chose 2009 NFL passing king Schaub over 2012 12-win Schaub. He was a little younger, threw for more yards, and was the MVP of that year's Pro Bowl.
I had the 2010 versions of Arian Foster and Vonta Leach join him in the backfield. Foster was brilliant in that breakout season, and Leach went to the beach in large part because he blasted holes open for his running back.
Schaub had three pass-catchers in Andre Johnson and Jerome Mathis at receiver, and Owen Daniels at tight end. Mathis was a 2005 selection, although he was picked for his return abilities. So if you want to get wacky and go five-wide, you could have 2013, 2012, 2010, 2009 and 2008 verions of Dre lining up on offense.
DE: J.J. Watt (2012)
DT: Antonio Smith (2011)
DT: Gary Walker (2002)
DE: Mario Williams (2008)
SLB: Brian Cushing (2009)
MLB: DeMeco Ryans (2009)
WLB: DeMeco Ryans (2007)
CB: Aaron Glenn (2002)
CB: Johnathan Joseph (2011)
SS: Andre Johnson (2004)
FS: Johnathan Joseph (2012)
I had to get a little trickier on defense. Because of the personnel, I decided on a 4-3 alignment. 2012 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Watt was at one end, with 2008 Williams at the other. Smith and Walker were selected as 3-4 defensive ends, so I kicked them inside to the defensive tackle positions. But all four are very flexible, so you could rearrange them on the line to cause matchup problems.
At the linebacker spots, only Ryans and Cushing earned Pro Bowl nods. But Ryans went twice, in 2007 and 2009. So I put 2009 Ryans in the middle, with 2009 Cushing at the strongside spot, with 2007 Ryans on the weakside.
Joseph and Glenn each fill the cornerback spots, but there's a void at safety. No Texan has ever been selected. But since Joseph played in a pair of Pro Bowls, we put the 2012 version at free safety and threw the 2004 Andre Johnson in at strong safety.
The Texans have never had a kicker or punter selected for the game, so this unit will just go for it on fourth down. Mathis can return kicks and punts.