After being sacked the most times in the league last year, Deshaun Watson is glad the Houston Texans have made an effort to upgrade his protection.
After a torn ACL shortened his rookie season, the Houston Texans got a full season out of Deshaun Watson last year and won the AFC South. But he was also sacked a league-high 62 times, and led the league in percentage of dropbacks under pressure (44.7 percent, via Pro Football Focus-minimum 250 dropbacks in 2018).
The Texans signed offensive tackle Matt Kalil in free agency, but when he hasn’t been injured over the last few seasons he’s been a below-par left tackle. So Houston took a couple more steps to upgrade the offensive line early in the draft, taking Alabama State left tackle Tytus Howard in the first round (No. 23) and Northern Illinois right tackle Max Scharping in the second round (No. 55).
Both rookies should be in the mix to start immediately, and in a broader sense Watson is pleased the Texans made an effort to upgrade his protection with two of their first three picks.
I knew exactly what they were going to do in the draft, and what they want to do in the future. We drafted two young guys who can come in and compete and love football and want to come in and learn. They’re going to have an opportunity to come in and learn from the veteran guys and continue to try to make us better.
Watson is still early in his development as a quarterback, including getting better at recognizing pass rush and getting rid of the ball faster. He’s also a significant threat as a runner (551 rushing yards and five touchdowns on the ground in 2018), and that need not go away. But ideally Watson wouldn’t average more than six rush attempts per game (99 carries last year), or be under pressure at anywhere near the rate he was last season.