On Thursday night, the Texans surprised everyone when they traded up to No. 12 to select quarterback Deshaun Watson. From the moment, Bill O'Brien and Rick Smith met the 6-2, 221-pound national championship winner, they knew he was a good fit for Houston.
"He's a winner, 33-5 as a college quarterback, national champion," O'Brien said Thursday night. "When I met him at the Combine, very poised guy. I felt that he was a guy that answered the questions very honestly, had a good memory, good recall of specific plays that happened during his college career."
The two-time Heisman Trophy finalist led Clemson to 28 wins over his final two seasons. With a 32-3 record as the starter, Watson compiled the best winning percentage in school history for a quarterback. He capped off his career with a dramatic 35-31 win in the national championship game against Alabama, rallying the Tigers from a 14-0 deficit.
"One thing that stood out to me was how he played in clutch moments, in big games, games that really meant everything, national championship games, big ACC games, the guy came through," O'Brien said. "When the chips were down, he was able to lead his team to victory, and I think that says a lot about a quarterback in the end. One of the things we look at."
Watson, who possesses all the leadership qualities, will be "a great fit" for the Texans, according to O'Brien. As a rookie, however, Watson will have to learn the position first. Tom Savage, entering his fourth NFL season, has the most experience of the Texans quarterbacks in O'Brien's offense and will be the starter.
"He (Watson) comes in, he learns, puts his head down and goes to work," Smith said. "Starts to try to earn the respect of his teammates to try to learn how to play quarterback in pro football. Right now, we're very comfortable with where we are with the quarterback position with Tom (Savage). Tom is going to continue. I like Tom's potential in this offense."
The 2017 NFL Draft continues on Friday with Rounds 2 and 3.The Texans currently hold the following remaining picks (overall):
Round 2: 57th
Round 3: 89th
Round 4: 130th and 142nd (compensatory pick from Cleveland Browns)
Round 5: 169th
Round 7: 243rd
Check out the best photos of QB Deshaun Watson during his time at Clemson.