The Associated Press *announced its annual NFL All-Pro squad, and it includes a pair of Houston Texans. Defensive end Mario Williams and linebacker DeMeco Ryans were both named to the All-Pro second team. Three Texans were also named to the *USA Today's AFC All-Joe team.
Williams and Ryans become the second and third Texans players to earn All-Pro recognition. Wide receiver Jerome Mathis was the first-team All-Pro kick returner as a rookie in 2005. Williams and Ryans were the Texans' first two picks in the 2006 NFL Draft.
Williams (6-6, 286) finished the season with 59 tackles, 14 sacks for 82.5 yards, two forced fumbles, one pass defensed and one fumble recovery that he returned for a 38-yard touchdown. Williams finished tied for third in the NFL and set a franchise record with 14 sacks, accounting for 45.2% of the Texans' sacks—the highest percentage of team sacks for any player in the NFL.
The first overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, Williams recorded a sack in six straight games from 11/18 – 12/23. In those six games, Williams had 10 sacks, the most by any player over a six-game stretch this season. He is also the only player in the NFL to record a sack in six consecutive games. Williams' eight sacks gave him the most sacks in the month of December in the NFL. Williams was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week in Week 1 as well as in Week 15.
Ryans (6-1, 239) was selected as the starting AFC middle linebacker for the 2008 Pro Bowl after recording a team-high 127 tackles, including 98 solo stops despite playing the last three games with a knee injury. He also finished the year with two sacks, one interception, seven passes defensed, a forced fumble and three fumble recoveries.
Ryans' three defensive fumble recoveries were tied for the AFC lead, and he was tied for second in the league with one fumble returned for a touchdown. Ryans led the team in tackles in seven of the Texans' 16 games this season and has done so 19 times in 32 career games. Ryans recorded double-digit tackles five times this season and 14 times overall.
The Texans' second-round pick (33rd overall) in the 2006 NFL Draft, Ryans has been the most productive linebacker in the NFL over his first two seasons. Ryans' 283 tackles over the past two years are the most in the NFL, as are his 224 solo tackles. Ryans earned *Associated Press *Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2006 after he led the league with 126 solo tackles. His 156 total tackles were the most by a rookie in the previous 20 years.
List of Texans AP All-Pro Honorees:
Additionally, three Texans earned spots on the USA TODAY AFC All-Joe team, which was published in today's edition. Linebacker Morlon Greenwood, free safety Von Hutchins and tackle Eric Winston were all selected to the AFC squad.
The All-Joe team is comprised of players who excel in their roles, often allowing more heralded teammates to shine. The motto of the team is "If you work hard, good things will happen—to someone else."