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How Many NFL Players Under 25 Years Old Would You Take Before Deshaun Watson?

I reckon your list wouldn’t look like this one from ESPN’s Mike Sando.

Miami Dolphins v Houston Texans
11? Really?
Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

ESPN’s Mike Sando spent some time this past week and throughout the first three quarters of the 2018 NFL season talking to “NFL coaches and evaluators” about who the top players under the age of 25 years old are. The results of those conversations formed this article, in which Sando ranked the top 25 NFL players less than 25 years old.

Biased Texans fans that we are, it naturally follows that we’d be pretty high on Deshaun Watson. Yet even recognizing that our opinion of Houston’s franchise quarterback is sky high, I was still shocked to see how many players Sando listed ahead of Watson.

There were ten. Ten players under 25 years old listed or ranked ahead of DW4 on Sando’s list. Here’s what Sando wrote about Watson:

11. Deshaun Watson QB, Houston Texans

Turns 25: Sept. 14, 2020

Watson has thrown touchdown passes on 7.4 percent of his attempts, easily the highest rate through 17 starts by any player drafted over the past decade. Russell Wilson is second on that list. Mahomes has a higher percentage (8.7) but only 12 starts.

”We are talking about a quarterback with exceptional, rare escapability,” a defensive coach said. “He can run full-speed and then backpedal when you get him, like Michael Vick, where you have guys wrapping their arms around nothing. Then he can accurately throw from everywhere. That is his game, and they are doing a good job with him.”

The players Sando has ranked ahead of Watson are:

  1. Patrick Mahomes
  2. Tyreek Hill
  3. Todd Gurley
  4. Ezekiel Elliott
  5. Kareem Hunt
  6. Alvin Kamara
  7. Christian McCaffrey
  8. Danielle Hunter
  9. Jared Goff
  10. Myles Garrett

How many of the players listed ahead of Watson do you believe are better than DW4? Note that the question says “better” and not “more valuable” or posed as “Who would you rather have?”; the fact that Watson is a QB necessarily makes him more valuable than, say, a running back. I want to know which, if any, of the ten players listed above you believe are better football players than Deshaun Watson.