The pre-draft visit with Deshaun Watson solidified the Houston Texans stance on the former Clemson quarterback, giving them the courage to make Watson the team's first round pick. Watson comes to Houston as one of the most decorated players in college football in recent seasons but the calling card which made him a household name across the college football landscape is now in the past as he embarks on his professional career with the Texans.
Watson, on his conference call from Philadelphia, was already showing what the Texans expect from their rookies.
“For me, all I need to do is keep 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, whatever role that is, play it well and help the team out, win,” Watson explained.
Bill O’Brien was instrumental in evaluating Watson from the start of the NFL Combine, up until recently, to his pre-draft visit. O’Brien liked what he saw from his new signal caller during the draft process.
“There’s so many different things you can do from what I’ve seen and I’ve learned from Coach (Bill) O’Brien over the visits,” Watson explained of the multiple meetings with O’Brien during the draft process.
“When he came here to meet with us here, he met with our whole offensive staff and it was impressive,” O’Brien said shortly after the Texans selected Watson, “He was able to learn plays, teach the plays back to us, talk about his own; like Rick (Smith) said, his history, his own ability to overcome adversity. He’s a very impressive guy. He’s a very impressive guy and we are excited about being able to add him to the team.”
Watson knew the Texans were interested in him and there was mutual interest after he impressed the organization the moment he stepped foot in the building. Spending over three hours in Houston at NRG Stadium, meeting with the offensive coaches and current players, that set the ball in motion for the Texans to keep a close eye on Watson.
“I thought it was a big possibility,” Watson said of potentially landing in Houston. “I knew that they were very interested, but I didn’t - with the draft there’s so much uncertainty and not really knowing what’s going on. I didn’t know what they were doing. I didn’t know if they were going offensive tackle, defense or quarterback, so I was just trying to keep an open mind.”
With Watson being selected as the third quarterback in the draft, he never wavered from the work he put in during his college career to prepare him for this moment. With Mitchell Trubisky (Chicago) and Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City) coming off the board prior to the Texans selecting Watson, Watson knew the work he did would pay off.
“I just knew that type of player I am and I knew the type of work I was putting in,” Watson said of waiting to hear his name called on Thursday night. “I just felt comfortable with myself. I know who I am. I just knew that one day I was going to become one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL Draft.”
The Texans moved up to get their potential quarterback of the future, the first quarterback they have selected in the first round since 2002, when David Carr was the top selection. This is a moment Watson has been waiting for his entire life and after bringing Clemson a nation championship last season, it just did not compare to landing in Houston as their quarterback of the future.
“This moment is just a little bit over that National Championship because I’m actually living my dream….”
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