One of the biggest moves of the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft came when the Houston Texans traded up with the Cleveland Browns to acquire the No. 12 pick and select Deshaun Watson.
The Browns are one of the most quarterback starved teams in the NFL and have been since reentering the league in 1999. So, why were they so willing to pass on Watson? Per ESPN’s Josina Anderson, a source with the Texans does not know. But that person is happy things worked out as they did.
— IG: JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) April 28, 2017
In reality, Houston and Cleveland are at two opposite ends of the NFL spectrum. The Texans have a Super Bowl-caliber defense and some big time players on offense. In order to keep their championship window open and seriously compete for a title, they need a quarterback. With that in mind, a gamble on Watson is worth what they gave up.
The Browns are far from competing. For them, it made more sense to acquire even more draft picks, even if it means another dismal season in 2017. Acquiring Watson may make Cleveland better in 2017, but by how much? The Browns were 1-15 in 2016. Even with Watson and No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett, Cleveland was not going to be anywhere near playoff contention in 2017. It made sense for the Browns to wait to get their guy, loading up on more draft picks in the process.
As things stand, the trade was completely fair for both sides. The career of Watson, as well as what Cleveland does with those picks, will tell us if it remains that way.