Without DeAndre Hopkins, you can't draft Deshaun Watson as a top-three quarterback any longer, but he should still be selected in the first eight rounds. Watson had the fourth most rushing yards in 2019 among quarterbacks and tied for the second-most touchdowns on the ground. In his first three years in the league he's been one of the most efficient young passers ever, so he can deal with an efficiency decline and still remain a good starting quarterback. If Will Fuller or Brandin Cooks stays healthy for 16 games, it's possible Watson could still have a top-five season, but it's safer to draft him just outside of that range.
The Texans exercised Watson's fifth-year team option for 2021 on Monday, Field Yates of ESPN reports. Houston's decision to pick up the option was a foregone conclusion, given that Watson has already established himself as one of the league's top signal-callers through his first three seasons. The fifth-year option may just serve as a placeholder until the Texans are able to come to terms with Watson on a long-term deal that will likely make him one of the highest-paid players in NFL history.
The Texans acquired another wide receiver (Brandin Cooks) for Watson on Thursday, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports. After shipping out DeAndre Hopkins last month, Houston's receiving corps was a bit short-handed, even with the addition of Randall Cobb soon after. Following the trade for Cooks, Watson now has a more well-rounded group, with the oft-injured Will Fuller (sports hernia) and Kenny Stills still on board. Cooks has four 1,000-yard seasons under his belt but also has concerns with concussions, as he suffered the fifth of his career in 2019. Still, the Texans have done OK in their effort to restock the weapons at Watson's disposal.
The trade of DeAndre Hopkins leaves Watson with Will Fuller and Kenny Stills as Houston's top two wide receiver targets, Bill Barnwell of ESPN.com reports. Hopkins had become a crutch for the offense and rarely missed games. He topped the team in terms of catch and target share (29.3 and 28.8 percent, respectively). Watson and Hopkins were an elite combination, one that will be hard to replace. In steps the oft-injured Fuller and also Stills, both considered deep threats that are not near the franchise wideout that Hopkins had become. The Texans could add a wide receiver in what is considered a strong draft class for the position, but Watson has lost a security blanket and will need to adjust.
Watson completed 31 of 52 passes for 388 yards and two touchdowns, while running for 37 yards and an additional TD on six carries during Sunday's 51-31 divisional-round loss to the Chiefs. The third-year signal-caller delivered once again from an individual perspective during Houston's 2019 finale, wrapping up the postseason with 700 combined passing and rushing yards along with five total TDs. Though the ultimate result was disappointing, there's no denying Watson got off to an electrifying start Sunday, going 4-for-4 with a TD on Houston's opening drive while leading the Texans to 21 first-quarter points -- the most ever in 298 regular-season and playoff games in franchise history. The former Heisman winner closes out 2019 with a 29:12 TD:INT and more than 260 passing yards per game, as well as 505 rushing yards and an additional nine scores on the ground. Watson will be in the fourth season of his rookie deal in 2020 and carry an economical cap hit of $4.4 million, but he remains poised for a massive pay raise within the next two years.
Watson completed 20 of 25 passes for 247 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 55 yards and a second score on 14 carries in Saturday's 22-19 overtime win over the Bills. He also ran for one two-point conversion and threw a second to DeAndre Hopkins. After being held scoreless in the first half by a Buffalo defense that ended up sacking him seven times in total, Watson got Houston on the board late in the third quarter with a 20-yard TD scamper before leading the team to two more scoring drives in the fourth. The quarterback saved his best efforts for last, making a miraculous escape on another seemingly certain sack in OT to find Taiwan Jones along the sideline for a 34-yard catch-and-run that set up the game-winning field goal. Watson will try to keep pace with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs next Sunday on the road in the AFC divisional round.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/11||@Kansas City Chiefs||14||17.89|
|7||10/25||Green Bay Packers||3||14.33|
|11||11/22||New England Patriots||1||11.06|
|3 Year Avg||66.8||3239||24||10||411||5||322|