The NFL Network is releasing its Top 100 Players of 2020 rankings this week and both Laremy Tunsil and J.J. Watt are the first Texans to be named to the annual list.
After being traded to Houston just before the start of the 2019 regular season, Tunsil earned his first Pro Bowl nod and a long-term contract extension with the Texans. The starting left tackle made his debut on the Top 100 at No. 66.
"The very few times that he gets beat, he's able to recover from that. It's amazing just to watch it." Buffalo Bills offensive tackle Ty Nsekhe said.
In his first season in Houston in 2019, Tunsil became the first Texans offensive lineman to make the Pro Bowl since 2012 after starting 14 regular season games and both postseason games at left tackle.
"The main thing with me last year was the playbook," Tunsil said. "I came at a late time, only had a couple of days to prepare for the game. But just to have that whole season, then this offseason under my belt, I think it's going to help me with this playbook and my relationship with the players, and us being on the same page. I think that's going to help a lot."
J.J. Watt also made the Top 100, ranked at No. 45 after missing the final eight games of the regular season after undergoing pectoral surgery. Watt returned off Injured Reserve in time for the Texans two playoff contests.
A lot of sacks, a lot of pressures, something that he's done for a long time," Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Taco Charlton said. "He was able to continue that this year. J.J. was having a great year before the injury."
One of Watt's biggest plays of the year came in the third quarter of the AFC Wild Card 22-19 win against Buffalo. Watt landed a crucial third-quarter sack on Josh Allen for a loss of eight yards that energized the NRG Stadium crowd and kick started a Texans comeback. Buffalo settled for a 38-yard field goal and Houston went on to score 19 unanswered points, holding Buffalo to just a field goal for the remainder of the game.
Through eight regular season games in 2019, Watt finished with 21 quarterback hits, 24 total tackles (15 solo), four tackles for loss, 4.0 sacks, three passes defensed, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. In his two playoff appearances, Watt recorded two total tackles (one solo), one tackle for loss, 1.0 sack, two quarterback hits and one pass defensed.
Each year, the Top 100 is determined by a vote among player peers in the NFL.