Now that the 2017 NFL Draft is over for Deshaun Watson, he can finally get back to what he loves to do … playing football.
“I’m happy I finally know where I’m going to go,” Watson said to the media on Thursday following his No. 12 selection by the Houston Texans at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia, Pa. “I’ll be able to go and put in the work. I’m ready to get down there tomorrow and get started with the process.”
Considered by some to be the top quarterback in the draft, Watson was third quarterback chosen in the first round, behind North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky, who Chicago traded up one spot to No. 2 to get and Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes, who Kansas City traded up 17 spots to pick at No. 10.
Watson, who was adamant leading up to the draft that teams who selected a quarterback before him would have to live with that regret, says he’ll be motivate that two other teams picked quarterbacks before Houston chose him, but regardless of the situation, he was going to be motivated. However, he said he left it in God’s hands and did not worry about it.
“Everyone is competitive and everyone wants to go high, but as I learned during this process, time is the best thing you can ask for,” Watson said. “Whatever situation God put me in, I’m going to be happy with it. This is the place he wanted me to be.”
Two picks later, Watson found out he was going to Houston, who continued the trend of trading up to get a quarterback as they moved up 13 spots to get him at No. 12. Some in the media were a little surprised to see Houston, who has never moved up in the draft in general manager Rick Smith’s 11 years, move up so far to go get Watson.
“When you study the young man, I think the better question is why wouldn’t you,” Smith said to the NFL Network. “You start with his character and the adversity and things he has overcome and then what kind of man he is first. Then as a football player, he is a winner.
“You look at his high school career. He is a Gatorade Player of the Year. He is a high school state champion. He is a two-time ACC Champion and he is a national champion. He is 32-3 as a starter. He has that gene. He has an athletic skill set that we think translate to this league and we think he can be a productive player.”
How much trust do the Texans have in Watson that they gave up so much to go and get him? They already lost a second-round pick next year in a previous trade with Cleveland and to move up 13 spots on Thursday, they gave up next year’s first-round pick to Cleveland as well.
“We were having those discussions as the draft was unfolding and obviously we were having those discussions all throughout the day as well,” Smith said. “The foundation of the move probably happened a few hours ago and as the draft unfolded, we made the decision to go ahead and pull the trigger and get him.”
With his No. 12 selection, Watson became the highest former Clemson quarterback to be selected in the NFL Draft, surpassing Steve Fuller’s No. 23 selection in the 1979 draft. He is also the first Clemson quarterback since Fuller to be drafted in the first round.
“My focus is to get in and try to learn as quickly as I can and play my role,” Watson said.
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