ESPN has put out its annual “Top 25 Players Under 25 Years Old” list, and two members of your Houston Texans—namely, Jadeveon Clowney and Deshaun Watson—made the cut. Here are the relevant excerpts for both.
Age: 24 years, 9 months
Rams coach Sean McVay called Clowney "special" for his ability to disrupt plays, and the stats do not disagree. Clowney has six sacks while ranking second to the Cardinals' Chandler Jones in tackles for loss with 12. He has bounced back from a disappointing start to his career and has become more available than teammate J.J. Watt.
A coach whose team faced the Texans but not the Chargers wondered what Bosa could do that Clowney could not do. "I just feel him when he's on the field," the coach said of Clowney.
An evaluator called Bosa the better pure rusher and Clowney the better pure all-around player, noting that neither one of those things is bad.
"The J.J. Watt injury helps Clowney because he is always a defensive end now," another evaluator said. "People scheme Clowney. If you want to take the No. 1 guy in the NFL for speed, power, quickness and explosion, he is at the front of the line. Plain athletic ability is off the charts."
Would you rank Marcus Peters and Joey Bosa higher than Clowney on such a list? Carson Wentz, who came in No. 1, I get, given the importance of the position and how fantastic Wentz has been this year. But Peters and Bosa? Both were slotted ahead of Clowney in this exercise. I’m not sure I’d rather have either over Clowney but I admit that could be the homer in me talking.
Speaking of Wentz, he and Dak Prescott were the only other two QBs on the list ranked ahead of the Texans’ rookie magician. Here’s the write-up on DW4:
Age: 22 years, 2 months
An evaluator said he'd take Wentz, then Prescott, then Watson if allowed to pick one of the three quarterbacks on this list. The fact that Watson was able to factor into the discussion after only six starts speaks very well of him. He had 19 scoring passes in less than seven full games before suffering a torn ACL in practice.
"You like the stats of Watson, but when you watch the tape, there are picks and errant balls," the evaluator said. "Watson is, 'The team rallies around you, we feel good, I'm going to make some mistakes, but if we are around in the end, we are going to fight and come back,' whereas with Wentz, 'We can beat you any way we want to beat you -- running the ball, throwing the ball, if we are ahead, if we are behind.' Dak is, 'I make good decisions, I'm sturdy, I'm not flashy, you are just going to get consistent production.'"
Would you rather have Wentz, Prescott, or Watson as your QB going forward? How would you rank them? Who do you believe will have the best 2018? How about the best career?