Deshaun Watson’s football teams have always been winners.
In his four seasons as a starter at Gainesville (Ga.) High School, the Red Elephants went 46-10 and won a state championship in his junior year.
In his two-plus seasons as a starter at Clemson, Watson went 32-3 and culminated his career by leading the Tigers to a national championship.
Being drafted by the Houston Texans puts Watson in a good position to continue that trend.
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Houston, who traded up to the No. 12 overall pick to draft Watson, was already an above-average team without him. The Texans had a winning record in five of the last six NFL seasons and won the AFC South title in four of those seasons.
But the Texans went just 9-7 in each of the last three seasons and have never made it past the divisional round of the playoffs in franchise history, which dates back to 2002.
The biggest thing that has kept the Texans from being a Super Bowl contender, though, has been never having a great quarterback.
Watson could be the missing piece that changes that.
It wouldn’t be the first time Watson makes a good team great. Gainesville lost just two games in two seasons before Watson arrived, but had never won a state championship until Watson made it happen. Clemson had already had three straight seasons of at least 10 wins before Watson arrived, but didn’t become a serious contender for national championships until Watson took over the offense.
“This guy’s a winner,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said. “I don’t think anyone can argue with that.”
The Texans will offer Watson some of the same advantages he had at Clemson. He’ll have a highly talented group of wide receivers, led by fellow Clemson product DeAndre Hopkins, to throw to. He’ll also have a strong defense, led by arguably the NFL’s best defensive player (J.J. Watt) and another one of its most gifted (Jadeveon Clowney), to help him win games.
He’ll have to win the starting quarterback job before he can win games, but that shouldn’t be tough to do. While Texans coach Bill O’Brien and general manager Rick Smith said Tom Savage remains the team’s starting quarterback, Houston didn’t invest two first-round picks in Watson to keep him on the bench.
Watson will need to continue to improve as a pocket passer, but there’s no reason to think he won’t have success in Houston. O’Brien has a reputation for making quarterbacks better, and Watson should be receptive to learning from his new coaches and teammates.