When the Texans took Deshaun Watson with the No. 12 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, he was viewed as the long-term solution to Houston’s abyss of mediocrity at quarterback.
The rookie signal-caller will battle for the starting gig throughout the summer against (the previously deemed illusory) Tom Savage. The Texans’ staff has raved about Savage’s progress this offseason, but Watson has also turned heads. Most importantly, he has caught the attention of head coach Bill O’Brien, although it also appears the Clemson product has to gain a lot of ground in the team’s quarterback competition.
“He’s a very poised guy,” O’Brien said, via the Houston Chronicle. “I like the way he carries himself. I like the way he operates. He’s a rookie, and he’s not nearly where he needs to be to be a full-time starter in this league, but you can tell he’s got a lot of qualities you like.
“For being a rookie, he’s wise beyond his years. He asks great questions in the morning meeting, and you can tell he’s studied the night before. Every practice isn’t perfect. He knows he needs to get a lot better. And he did get better every day during the spring. It’s no pads, of course. It’s not real football, but he did improve in his knowledge of the offense.”
The expectations for rookie quarterbacks have shifted rapidly over the years. After watching Dak Prescott shine last season in a city just a few hours away, the Texans are hoping for a similar success story this time around.
The early returns have been promising so far, as Watson has adjusted nicely to the challenges put in place by the Texans.
“We put a lot on his plate during the spring, and he handled it very well,” O’Brien said. “He made mistakes, and he corrected them. You don’t see him make the same mistake twice.
“He can do a lot of things. He can operate our running game and in our passing game. He’s got a lot of athleticism. I don’t think we’ll have to limit him. Training camp and preseason games will be a big test.”
Even if Watson isn’t immediately running away with the job, he’s giving Texans fans something they haven’t experienced in a long time at the position: hope. As O’Brien stated, however, we’ll learn a lot more about Watson’s prospects for this season based off of how he fares against live competition in August.