Pro Football Focus considers Texans’ Deshaun Watson fifth-best starting QB heading into 2021

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Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is still regarded as one of the best signal callers in the game despite the fact he won’t be playing for Houston in 2021, if he even plays at all this season.

Nevertheless, Pro Football Focus compiled their latest ranking for all 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL ahead of the 2021 season. Although Watson doesn’t want to play for Houston ever again, he is still on the roster, and even though he is facing legal issues the NFL is investigating that could compromise his availability, he has yet to be suspended.

Watson is technically on the Texans, and technically still eligible play.

Former NFL quarterback Bruce Gradkowski ranked Watson as his fifth-best starting QB going into the regular season.

Surrounded by the league’s second-least efficient running game and second-least efficient overall defense last season, Watson was arguably the best quarterback in the NFL. Couple that with the Texans trading away his top-five receiver and firing his head coach, and Watson clearly put the team on his back.

The most impressive thing about his 2020 campaign was how rarely he made mistakes in structure and how consistently he created positive plays out of structure. He played well from a clean pocket and under pressure while also taking care of the football. Watson had 42 big-time throws to only 14 turnover-worthy plays after making 27 turnover-worthy plays in 2019.

What the ranking demonstrates is the chasm the Texans will have to bridge in order to replace Watson’s talent level at quarterback. It is fair to say the Texans are going from a top-5 quarterback situation to a bottom-5 conundrum as they determine who to start between Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Finley, and third-round rookie Davis Mills. The challenge is one of many that new general manager Nick Caserio and first-year coach David Culley will have to navigate as they help Houston recover from a 4-12 season in 2020.