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The upcoming 2019 NFL season will be Houston Texans’ quarterback Deshaun Watson’s third in the league and after a record-breaking rookie campaign in 2017 and a trip to the postseason his sophomore season, expectations are high for this talented young player from Georgia.
A torn ACL on a non-contact play during a practice stopped Watson his first year and a healthy Andrew Luck and his Indianapolis Colts stopped Watson this last postseason, but also credit a league-leading amount of sacks (62) in 2018 for affecting Watson’s overall output and limiting his effectiveness.
The Texans’ front office used this offseason to address those issues with the offensive line, so here we take a look at how that may affect Deshaun Watson’s 2019 output as we examine the predictions of how he’ll perform and briefly analyze his chances to beat the odds.
Derrick Deshaun Watson is the 23-year-old NFL quarterback born in 1995 in Gainesville, Georgia to Deann Watson and Don Richardson.
The now 6-foot-2, 220-pound Watson started his football career at Gainesville High School in 2010 and was the first freshman to win the starting quarterback job ever in head coach Bruce Miller’s career.
In his four years as a Red Elephant, Watson set state records for total yards (17,134), total touchdowns (218), career passing yards (13,077) and career passing touchdowns (155), on top of rushing for 4,000+ total yards for 63 touchdowns.
Watson was ranked by ESPN 300 as the number one quarterback recruit in the 2014 class and after fielding many college offers, he committed to playing football at Clemson University.
As a freshman quarterback, Watson initially served as a backup to Steve Fuller, but was eventually named starter and for the season posted 93 completions on 137 attempts for 1,466 passing yards and 14 touchdowns with just 2 interceptions while running the ball 63 times for 629 yards and 9 more touchdowns.
That year, Watson not only broke a bone in his right hand, he also underwent knee surgery on his ACL after playing on it injured while rival defeating South Carolina.
His sophomore year as the starter from the get-go, Watson’s Tigers went 12-0 and ranked #1 in the polls but in the end, they couldn’t defeat the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship game, losing 40-45.
As a senior, Watson threw 388 completions for 4,593 yards and 41 touchdowns and ran 165 times for 629 yards and 9 more touchdowns as he led his Clemson Tigers once again to the College Football Playoff National Championship game, where this time they beat the number one Alabama team by another close score of 35-31 with Watson being named the offensive MVP.
Apparently anticipating that there would not be much more he could do at the college level, Watson declared himself eligible for the NFL Draft in November of 2016.
Three other players from that same Clemson roster also declared themselves eligible: running back Wayne Gallman and wide receivers Artavis Scott and Mike Williams.
The Houston Texans traded up with the Cleveland Browns and selected Deshaun Watson in the first round (12th pick overall) in the quarterback heavy 2017 NFL Draft.
The Texans had just traded their starting quarterback Brock Osweiler, to the Browns for draft picks earlier that season, so they definitely had room for Watson to step up into the starter role.
Two other talented quarterbacks were taken before Watson in that draft: Mitchell Trubisky, by the Chicago Bears with the 2nd overall pick and Patrick Mahomes with the tenth overall pick.
In just two seasons, Watson has played impressively, especially given that his rookie year was cut short to just 7 games due to that season-ending ACL injury.
In those seven games in 2017 (six as the starter), Watson threw 126 completions out of 204 attempts for 1,699 total passing yards and 19 touchdowns with 8 interceptions while running the ball 36 times for 269 yards and 2 more touchdowns.
Last season, Watson was named to his first Pro Bowl after leading his Texans to the 2018 Wild Card playoffs, the team posting an AFC South winning 11-5 record.
A healthy Watson started all sixteen regular-season games and threw 345 completions out of 505 attempts for an eleventh ranked 4,165 total passing yards and 26 touchdowns with 9 interceptions while running the ball 99 times for 551 yards and 5 more touchdowns.
In the Wild Card loss to the Colts, Watson threw 29 completions for 235 yards and a touchdown that ended up being too little too late for the Texans’ postseason cause.
Watson has broken too many NFL records to list them in total, but here are just a few:
Same goes with Watson’s broken Houston Texans’ franchise records, but here a few of those:
The Houston Texans and Deshaun Watson are still held to his rookie deal.
In 2017, Watson signed a four-year contract worth $13.85 million, which included an $8.22 million signing bonus with all of that money guaranteed.
Watson won’t become an undrafted free agent until the 2022 season, though this rookie contract only lasts through the 2020 season, but expect the Texans to offer him enough money after this season to convince him not to go anywhere else.
Watson’s stats for 2018 (see above) were solid enough to put him ranked 11th among NFL quarterbacks, which is impressive considering it was just his second professional season and he was coming off serious knee surgery.
The knock-on Watson last year was that he got shut down by the Colts in the playoffs and his Texans were held to just one touchdown in that Wild Card game, and that score did not even happen until the fourth quarter when a comeback was too difficult for Watson to mount.
That said, it was a remarkable season for the young superstar playmaker and given his talent and the new offensive line being built around him, he’s expected to simply get better every season.
After the Texans’ offensive line allowed a league-leading 62 sacks on Watson last season, the front office went about fixing the problems with the front line using free agency and the draft.
They did that first by signing free-agent tackle Matt Kalil, formerly of the Carolina Panthers, who should start right away.
They also added depth to their line by drafting tackle Tytus Howard in the first round, who can play at both tackle and guard and tackle Max Scharping in the second round, with both rookies expected to take real snaps sooner rather than later.
Watson is lucky enough to throw to the third-most productive receiver last season, DeAndre Hopkins, who caught for 1,572 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Receiver Will Fuller and slot man Keke Coutee are the other starters.
Tight end Jordan Akins can also catch balls, last year pulling in 17 receptions for 225 yards for zero touchdowns.
Oddsmakers are the Indianapolis Colts better odds than the Texans to win the AFC South in 2019, but that will only happen if the Colts can keep their ailing quarterback Andrew Luck healthy, whose sore calf has been keeping him sidelined this offseason.
Currently, the Houston Texans have been given the 8th best chance out of sixteen to win the AFC Championship, tied with the Baltimore Ravens, but at this point, it is difficult to predict exactly how well Watson will adjust to newly promoted offensive coordinator Tim Kelly.
But at least Watson is healthy and understands now what it takes to be victorious in the postseason, yet the Texans remain a long shot to win a Lombardi Trophy in 2019-20, with sixteen other NFL teams having better odds of winning the next Super Bowl than they do.
For more details on the Houston Texans offseason, please check out our prior coverage: The Houston Texans’ Biggest Offseason Moves 2019 – Odds and Predictions
A decent way to judge an NFL quarterback’s season is by tracking how many total yards he has passed for and how many total touchdowns those passing yards have yielded.
Next, we use Watson’s previous output to see if what he’s expected to produce in 2019 matches up with what he has managed to do in the past.
Here are the current odds and predictions of Watson’s output for 2019 plus a brief analysis of his chances of beating the overs or succumbing to the unders.
Caveat: Watson must play in game one for action to commence.
|Sportsbook||Total Passing Yards||Link|
|888Sport NJ||Over 4000.5 -110||Under 4000.5 -110|
* 21+ | NJ only | If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER
Analysis: In his rookie season in seven games (six as a starter), Watson averaged 243 yards per game, so if you do the math, in 16 games he would have thrown for @ 3,883 total yards, missing the over by quite a bit.
Now last season, Watson threw for 4,165 yards and would have easily beaten the same over, so this bet requires a bit of speculation before you place it:
Will Watson truly be better protected this season and continue to throw for even more yards again, or have the Texans done too little to protect their star under center and as a result will his output suffer?
|Sportsbook||Total Passing Touchdowns||Link|
|888Sport NJ||Over 26.5 -110||Under 26.5 -110|
* 21+ | NJ only | If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER
Analysis: This bet is another tough one because, despite having a playoff-worthy season, Watson did not beat the over on this bet in 2018, having thrown for 26 total touchdowns all year.
Now here’s the funny part – do the math on Watson’s record-breaking rookie season when he threw for 19 touchdowns in just 7 games and he would have crushed this over with 43 total touchdowns.
So it’s obvious that Watson is easily capable of beating this over this season – the question becomes does he have the team surrounding him right now who can help him do that?
Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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