The Houston Texans traded up to the No. 12 overall selection in Thursday’s NFL draft to select Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Houston moved up from the No. 25 slot in the trade with the Cleveland Browns, giving up next year’s first-round pick in the process.
The Browns previously acquired the Texans’ 2018 second-round pick in a deal to acquire Brock Osweiler from Houston.
Watson called the selection a “perfect situation” for him after he was selected. Texans coach Bill O’Brien and general manager Rick Smith said in conference calls that Tom Savage would remain the starting quarterback, a point they reiterated Thursday night, and that Watson would come in and learn.
“As a rookie quarterback it’s a big jump,” O’Brien said. “Tom is our starter and Deshaun will come in and he’s going to work hard and we’re going to teach him and feed him a lot of information, and he’ll work at it.”
Said Smith: “I don’t know if people believe us but we’re comfortable with Tom Savage as our quarterback.”
Watson was the third quarterback taken, nearly five months after leading Clemson to a national championship, with North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky going to the Chicago Bears at No. 2 and Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes to the Kansas City Chiefs at No. 10.
“It’s amazing,” Watson said. “I tell myself not to cry but can’t hold it back. Now I’m finally being introduced into the National Football League. It’s a blessing, but I worked for it.”
Watson brought his mother, Deann, onto the draft stage after the selection.
“She’s the one who raised me,” Watson said. “And I don’t even know what to say. I’m going to take care of her for sure.”
Watson is the first quarterback the Texans have taken in the first round since they selected David Carr in 2002.
Last season at Clemson, Watson threw for 4,593 yards and 41 touchdowns, leading Clemson to a national title.