It’s impossible to predict how the NFL draft will actually play out, and the fact that the Houston Texans were able to select Deshaun Watson as the overall 12th pick was one of the biggest surprises. After all, Watson has one of the best college football records of all of the quarterbacks who were available in this year’s NFL draft.
Despite this, two other quarterbacks who are solid, but not nearly as proven, were selected ahead of Deshaun Watson. As a result, college football coach Dabo Swinney predicted during a Sports Illustrated interview that every team that passed on Watson will live to regret it.
The College Career of Deshaun Watson
What makes Swinney so confident that Deshaun Watson will come back to haunt teams such as the Chiefs, Bears, and Browns? During his college career, Watson won a national title, amassed a record of 32-3 and earned himself a stellar reputation.
He also came in first in the ACC in several categories during 2015 and 2016, including pass completions, pass attempts, passing yards, passing touchdowns, total plays, and total yards. With stats like these, it’s easy to see why Swinney is questioning the logic of teams that passed on the opportunity to pick up Deshaun Watson during the 2017 NFL draft.
Deshaun Watson is Atlanta’s Pick for National Superhero Day
Stats are important, but as many professional athletes have illustrated, they don’t indicate whether a young football player can handle the pressure of becoming an NFL star. With Deshaun Watson, though, the Houston Texans are getting a quarterback who has highlighted his abilities on and off the field.
Watson represents a classic feel-good story that features many obstacles, including growing up without a father and spending much of his life living in poverty, but he has continuously risen above them. This has earned him a lot of acclaim throughout the Atlanta area.
In fact, Deshaun Watson’s hometown of Gainesville, Georgia, has honored the football player by naming a street after him. Formerly known as Touchdown Drive, the street that leads into Watson’s high school alma mater has been renamed Deshaun Watson Way.
Former schoolmate Maria Perez Aguirre provided an exclusive interview to the Inquisitr, during which she stated that Watson showcased multiple athletic talents, saying, “If Deshaun hadn’t made it to the NFL, he might have had a career as a track star because he excelled at that in high school too.”
The Feel-Good Story of Deshaun Watson
Aguirre also touched on some of the best feel-good elements of the top-round NFL draft pick’s early days.
“He grew up with a single mother and three siblings in a one-bedroom home. Eventually, Habitat for Humanity and Homes for the Holidays got involved and built the family a new house. Tragically, his mother was diagnosed with cancer and ended up having surgery while Deshaun was in high school. I remember all that going on.”
When the Houston Texans picked Deshaun Watson No. 12 overall for the NFL draft on April 27, he reacted by showing the numbers 815 stitched into the inside of his jacket. According to 11 Alive Atlanta, the numbers stand for the project he formerly lived in “Harrison Square — 815.”
Another fun fact that Perez Aguirre shared that may not be well know was that Watson used to be a former ball boy for the Atlanta Falcons.
The success of being signed by the Houston Texans during the first round of the 2017 NFL draft becomes even more impressive when you combine all of this with Watson not having a father figure in his life until he began connecting with football coaches. It’s no wonder so many people are rooting for Deshaun Watson to have a long NFL career.
The NFL Future of Deshaun Watson
His compelling rags-to-riches story has Deshaun Watson well-positioned to become a role model for kids who root for the Houston Texans. Watson’s ability to deal with adversity, along with his dedication to always remembering his roots, is likely to serve the Houston Texans well for many years.
This is a future NFL player who appears to have the perfect recipe to become a star, and his mother’s touching letter helped humanize Deshaun Watson even more for the kids and fans who will undoubtedly begin looking up to him. The fact that Watson allowed himself to tear up on camera highlights the young man’s grounded and humble approach to life. As long as he stays healthy, the Houston Texans can expect great things from Deshaun Watson, and several other teams may end up wishing they could redo the 2017 NFL draft.
[Featured Image by Elsa/Getty Images]