Deshaun Watson was in the Texans’ headquarters even when head coach Bill O’Brien was nowhere to be found.
On an off day when some of the staff’s children were taking advantage of the team facility, they reported back to the head coach and told him that Houston’s first-round draft pick was working out in his first spring with the team.
“There is no questioning his work ethic,” O’Brien said. “He’s in here all the time. There are a lot of things he does well and he’s come a long way. These guys are all working hard at it and they’re taking a lot of mental reps.”
Watson was the No. 12 pick in the latest NFL draft and joins a team with two veteran quarterbacks ahead of him in Tom Savage and Brandon Weeden, both of which started games for the Texans in the last two seasons.
He isn’t looking at the situation as a disadvantage. In fact, his outlook is quite the opposite.
“Everything has been going pretty smooth,” Watson said. “I’m getting a lot of help from Tom and Brandon. I’m taking advantage of the reps Coach (O’Brien) has been giving me so I’ll be ready when the time comes.”
Watson said he has had that work ethic since he was a little kid but added he’s aiming to put the time in and pay my dues so that he can go out on the football field and be ready to show what he has.
He and Clemson beat Alabama in January to win the NCAA National Championship and the Tigers visited the White House in mid-June. Watson wore red sneakers to match his Houston-colored suit.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said he didn’t have a problem if a player wanted to skip the trip to Washington, but Watson was eager to make the trip, and said there were no second thoughts and “It was on my bucket list.”
With the team headed to West Virginia to begin training camp on July 26, there is a clear frontrunner for who will be under center when the Texans host the Jaguars to open the regular season on Sept. 10.
“They’re all my guys,” O’Brien said of the quarterback competition. “It’s a very competitive roster. Tom is the No. 1 guy and he’s done a great job. Weeden and Deshaun have made Tom better and vice versa.”
Watson said he has been able to explore the city a little bit during the off days and the people of Houston have accepted him already. He has started to embrace the city back and embrace the Texans logo.
O’Brien has been throwing different defensive looks out at the offense in practice to make them uncomfortable, which Watson is appreciative of. He doesn’t feel any pressure to win the starting job this early in his career, but he just wants to be ready when the opportunity presents itself.
“I just go out and compete,” Watson said. “Whatever is best for the team is best for the team. I’m just trying to be a team player. I’m going to go out and do my job and play my role and do it well.”