Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
Entering his fourth year in the NFL, Deshaun Watson has exceeded all expectations and played at a fringe-MVP level at various points throughout his career. He entered the league as a national champion at Clemson, proceeded to have one of the most successful rookie campaigns ever cut short with an untimely ACL tear, and has since evolved into arguably a top-five quarterback. Chris Simms of NBC Sports recently placed Watson as the fourth best passer in the league, behind only Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, and Aaron Rodgers.
This season will be a major indicator for Watson’s true leadership ability now that he’ll be playing sans DeAndre Hopkins, one of the most reliable and durable wideouts of the past decade. It’s nearly impossible to replace a player who had attained 8,602 yards and 54 touchdowns in seven seasons with the team, but the Texans’ new offensive approach may oddly help Deshaun Watson’s statistical output more than ever.
Hopkins was targeted a ridiculous 150 times last season, and Will Fuller came in second with only 71 total targets. Helping to spread the ball around between Fuller, Kenny Stills, newcomers Brandin Cooks, and Randall Cobb may actually lead a more well balanced passing attack for the Texans than in years prior.
Considering the fact that the Texans now feature two separate pass-catching running backs named D. Johnson, a quartet of viable tight ends, and an impressive group of receivers with world-class speed, there will be no shortage of weaponry. Last season Watson accrued more than 3,850 passing yards, 26 touchdowns to 12 interceptions, seven additional rushing scores and a completion rate of 67.3% in 15 games.
2020 Prediction for Deshaun Watson: 4,200 yards, 29 touchdowns to 9 interceptions, five rushing scores, and a 65% completion rate.