The ceiling remains high for Houston Texans pass rusher Jonathan Greenard, but could 2022 be his breakout season?
"The more likely candidate to reach the Pro Bowl is one of the sneakier standouts from last season, Greenard, a player who quietly led the Texans with eight sacks," NFL.com's Nick Shook writes. "He did so on a limited number of snaps, too, and didn't miss the watchful eye of Pro Football Focus, which has Greenard listed among its top 10 breakout candidates from the 2020 draft class. If we're looking for a first-time Pro Bowl candidate in Houston, Greenard is the one."
Under Lovie Smith, Greenard made the transition from 3-4 linebacker to 4-3 defensive end last offseason and finished with a team-high eight sacks and 12 quarterback hits in 2021. Despite missing five games, Greenard recorded one sack for every 25.1 pass rushing snaps he played last year and finished ranking fourth in the NFL among pass rushers with a minimum of 150 pass rushing snaps.
Pro Football Focus, graded Greenard with an 82.9, the third-highest among second-year defensive players and seventh among all NFL defensive ends. Drafted in the third round (90th overall) of the 2020 NFL Draft, Greenard also landed on PFF's Top 10 best Year 3 breakout candidates list.
According to PFF:
"This one may be cheating, as Greenard was tremendous last season, but it was on limited time. He only played 414 snaps in 2021, earning an 89.2 pass-rushing grade. These weren't fluke plays — he has some of the best hand usage of any young pass-rusher in the NFL. Greenard has a whole host of moves at his disposal to go along with nearly 35-inch arms. That's a winning combination even if we didn't get to see it over the course of a full season."
In 2021, Greenard set career highs in a number of statistical categories, including sacks (8.0), adding 33 tackles (23 solo) nine tackles for loss, 12 quarterback hits, four passes defensed and two forced fumbles through 12 starts.
Check out the first look at some of the Houston Texans roster suited up for the 2022 season.