By all accounts, Bill O’Brien seems thrilled with what he’s seen from first-round rookie DeShaun Watson.
Speaking about his young quarterback in an interview with John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, the Texans head coach pointed to the maturity and intelligence that, among other things, earned Watson high grades ahead of this year’s draft.
But that’s not to say the rookie is entering the conversation as a potential starter just yet, as O’Brien also said there’s still plenty of work to do before Watson gets there.
“He’s a very poised guy,” O’Brien said. “I like the way he carries himself. I like the way he operates. He’s a rookie, and he’s not nearly where he needs to be to be a full-time starter in this league, but you can tell he’s got a lot of qualities you like.
“For being a rookie, he’s wise beyond his years. He asks great questions in the morning meeting, and you can tell he’s studied the night before. Every practice isn’t perfect. He knows he needs to get a lot better. And he did get better every day during the spring. It’s no pads, of course. It’s not real football, but he did improve in his knowledge of the offense.”
The Texans have been adamant that Tom Savage will enter the 2017 season as the starter despite the major move to trade up for Watson in April’s draft. And that’s not an uncommon strategy for teams looking to bring along their first-year quarterbacks slowly.
But perhaps Watson’s strong early impression can be taken as a sign that he’ll have a chance to unseat Savage early in the season, if not at some point over the summer.
Watson is making the jump to the NFL on the heels of a stellar college career. In leading Clemson to a national title as a junior – capped off with an impressive victory over Alabama – he finished the 2016 season with completions on 67 percent of passes for 4,593 yards and 41 touchdowns.
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