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Red Zone Play: What Deshaun Watson Does For The Texans

What Houston’s first round pick means and how it’ll affect what the Texans do for the rest of the 2017 NFL Draft.

NFL Draft Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

With the 12th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, your Houston Texans select Deshaun Watson, quarterback from Clemson University!

And the roar from Texans fans was heard ‘round the world!

Prior to the draft, Houston’s greatest needs were:

  • Quarterback
  • Safety
  • Right Tackle

Now that Deshaun Watson is on the roster, it’s time to look ahead at what the next rounds might bring and how the trade for Deshaun might affect Houston’s future.


When I read that Houston had made the trade with Cleveland, I knew immediately it had to be for Watson – which was confirmed on Twitter moments before the TV echoed the pick. I have to confess I’m a huge Clemson fan and have been since my days of covering them when DeAndre Hopkins was still in high school (still wish C.J. Spiller would have landed with a team that knew how to use him). But I have no illusions that Deshaun Watson will ever be the next Steve Young – someone the folks on NFL Network immediately began comparing Watson to after the pick was announced.

What’s right about Watson is his “x-factor.” The guy wants to win and finds a way to drag his teammates along for the ride. A lot of that is easily attributable to coaching. Granted, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney is my all-time favorite NCAA head coach for reasons that go far beyond the gridiron – reasons that lay the foundation for the winning program he’s created in Clemson.

Why I think Watson will succeed in Houston: The Texans have built a team that needs a quarterback to simply not lose the game for them. You know, the exact opposite of what Brian Hoyer and Brock Osweiler did in the playoffs the last two years. Watson is certainly not going to lose anything for anyone. The guy is a winner with an indomitable spirit and more willpower than Hoyer or Osweiler ever possessed.

Watson is smart enough to run Bill O’Brien’s offense. O’Brien has managed to get the most out of a cast of 1,000 rejects (minus Brock Osweiler), and when handed the most successful NCAA quarterback in recent memory, O’Brien should be able to have his best offensive year yet.

What concerns me about Watson: A few weeks back, we looked at the new Semtex Rating System. Per Semtex, Watson translates to a bronze level QB. While that system is new, the evidence for it’s accuracy is pretty compelling.

Another knock on Watson is his throwing velocity.

Allegedly, the 55 mph threshold is a make-or-break for NFL level QBs. While the slower velocity might not be a killer against NCAA level defensive backs, when nearly every DB in the NFL runs a sub 4.5 40-yarder, 49 mph passes look like they’re moving in slow motion.

Now, cross-referencing the two metric systems leaves some room for discussion. Brad Kaaya is a gold level QB, yet his velocity is below the 55 mph mark. Rich Gannon was certainly no Michael Vick when it came to drilling a pass, but you can’t argue with his NFL success once he landed in the right system.

Where Watson lands on the all-time list remains to be seen. Surely he’ll be better than Trent Dilfer, right?

Where we are now:

Houston needs to concentrate on fixing the offensive line tonight and then address safety in the later rounds. Essentially, Houston has traded away the top of its 2018 draft to swap Brock Osweiler for Deshaun Watson. What that means is this team is in win-now mode, but getting over the hump will require more than a shiny new field general.

As of this writing, Forrest Lamp and Cam Robinson are still on the board, but will they be by the time Houston gets to pick again? The run on offensive tackles never materialized last night, so maybe Rick Smith can pull off some more draft magic to get one of those two. Otherwise, he’s going to have to grab someone else from the list and hope for the best. Don’t forget last season’s second round pick, Nick Martin, is healthy and ready to go; essentially Houston is getting a rookie star center for 2017.

As for safety, the draft is neck deep in incredible defensive back talent, so pulling down a starting caliber safety shouldn’t be a stretch.

Houston currently holds two more Top 100 picks (57th and 89th). By the end of the day, we should have a far more crystallized picture of what the 2017 Houston Texans will look like.

What do you think? Are you not entertained?