Houston Texans trade up to get QB Deshaun Watson
HOUSTON (AP) — Deshaun Watson is the newest quarterback for the Houston Texans.
For now, the two-time Heisman Trophy finalist is also a backup.
The Texans addressed their need at the position by trading with Cleveland to select the Clemson standout with the 12th overall pick in the NFL draft on Thursday night. They traded away the 25th overall pick in this year’s draft as well as their first-round selection next season to nab Watson.
The Browns already have Houston’s second-round pick in 2018 after receiving it in the trade for Brock Osweiler this offseason. Houston was in desperate need of a quarterback after giving up on Osweiler and trading him away one inconsistent season after signing him to a $72 million contract in 2016.
Before the draft, Tom Savage and Brandon Weeden were the only quarterbacks on the roster. The Texans insist that they’re OK with that.
“I don’t know if people believe us but we’re comfortable with Tom Savage as our quarterback,” general manager Rick Smith said.
Coach Bill O’Brien agreed, adding: “As a rookie quarterback it’s a big jump. Tom is our starter and Deshaun will come in and he’s going to work hard and we’re going to teach him and feed him a lot of information and he’ll work at it.”
Watson seems prepared to do whatever the Texans ask of him.
“All I need to do is put my head down, don’t say anything, learn from all the veteran guys, learn from Tom Savage, learn from Brandon Weeden and just play my role,” he said. “Whatever role that is play it well and help the team win.”
This is the first time the Texans have selected a quarterback in the first round since taking David Carr with the first overall pick in their first season. They’ve had a revolving door at the position in recent years, starting eight different players since 2014.
In Watson they get a player who threw for 4,593 yards and 41 touchdowns last season to lead Clemson to the national title. He had 28 wins in his last two seasons and helped the Tigers to consecutive appearances in the national championship game. Watson went 32-3 in his career as a starter, which is the best winning percentage for a quarterback in school history. He finished his career third in Atlantic Coast Conference history with 12,094 yards of total offense and threw for 10,163 yards and 90 touchdowns in his career.
“One of the things that stood out to me was how well he played in clutch moments, in big games, in games that really meant everything — national championship games, big ACC games, the guy came through,” O’Brien said. “When the chips were down he was able to lead his team to victory. And I think that says a lot about a quarterback. In the end, one of the things that we always look at is is the guy a winner and this guy is a winner ... I don’t think anyone can argue with that.”
He joins a team featuring star receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who also went to Clemson. Hopkins, Houston’s first-round pick in 2013, expressed his excitement about the pick by simply tweeting a smiling face emoji soon after he was selected. Hopkins was asked about the possibility of Watson joining the Texans a couple of weeks ago.
“We haven’t talked, but we have mutual friends. I still have cousins that play at Clemson,” Hopkins said. “So, I’m pretty sure he would like to throw me the football.”
Watson is looking forward not just to playing with Hopkins, but with everyone on a team that has won the AFC South title the last two seasons.
“I’m very excited not just to play with DeAndre ... but to be able to play with all the guys and have that defense and just be able to get in there and start working,” he said.
The Texans will add two more players on Friday with the 57th overall pick in the second round and the 89th pick in the third round.