If the Houston Texans believe they will eventually give up and trade quarterback Deshaun Watson, there’s no better time than now.
They’re a franchise without a first-round pick, and their most likely business partner (the Jets) has the second overall pick, as well as an additional scoop this year and in 2022 from Jamal Adams’ trade with the Seattle Seahawks.
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If the Texans wait until after the draft and finally decide to give in once Watson makes it clear that he will hold out (which is a very real possibility), then the offers won’t seem all that attractive.
Watson’s presence looms over the first round of this year’s draft, especially since what the Jets do will likely dictate the rest of the order in a big way.
So how will Jets general manager Joe Douglas approach it? What will teams like the Giants and Eagles do to fill the gaps on offense?
Here’s our latest first-round draft of this year’s draft:
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson.
** TRADE **
Texans get: QB Sam darnold, two 2021 first-round picks (No. 2, No. 23), 2021 second-round pick, 2022 second-round pick, 2023 third-round pick
Jets get: QB Deshaun Watson, 2021 fifth-round pick
2. Houston Texans (via Jets): QB Zach Wilson, BYU.
The Jets may have to include Quinnen Williams, but however they pull it off, Joe Douglas has enough energy to do it if Houston actually answers the phone. Then, of course, if the Texans trade their superstar quarterback, they need to find the next one. Yes, they get Sam Darnold back in this trade, but while he could still unlock his talent and become a solid player, that’s no guarantee. Texans must do everything they can to find their next Watson. Many seem to think that Wilson has that kind of potential.
3. Miami dolphins: WR Ja’Marr Chase, LSU.
If the Dolphins don’t finish Watson, they can go either way here. If they plan to stick with Tua Tagovailoa, they should surround him with a better supporting cast. Chase has star potential.
4. Atlanta Falcons: QB Justin Fields, State of Ohio.
Time to plan life after Matt Ryan. Fields, Trey Lance or Mac Jones are all possibilities.
5. Cincinnati Bengals: OT Penei Sewell, Oregon.
The easiest pick other than Trevor Lawrence, assuming Sewell makes the fifth pick. The Bengals need so much help on the offensive line.
6. Philadelphia Eagles: TE Kyle Pitts, Florida.
If Chase is still here, it’s probably the choice. If he leaves, the Eagles will have a hard time passing Pitts, who is one of the most unique prospects to come out in a long time. He’s a tight end in name only. If he was just a wide receiver, he would also be a top 10 pick.
7. Detroit Lions: LB Micah Parsons, Penn State.
The Lions have many needs, but they are in a complete rebuild and should simply pick the best player available. Parsons has significant talent, even if linebackers have been undervalued throughout the league.
8. Carolina Panthers: QB Trey Lance, State of North Dakota.
The Panthers have made no secret that they want to find an improvement on Teddy Bridgewater. Lance might need some development, so he can sit behind Bridgewater for a year and then take over in 2022.
9. Denver Broncos: CB Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech.
If the Broncos believe in Drew Lock, his greatest need is as a cornerback, and Farley is the best consensual player at that position this year.
10. Dallas Cowboys: CB Patrick Surtain II, Alabama.
If Farley is 1A at cornerback, call Surtain 1B. The Cowboys desperately need to address the cornerback.
11. New York Giants: WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama.
That the Giants have a chance to choose between Waddle and DeVonta Smith is pretty much the best of times. It might even be worth trading a few picks with Mac Jones still on the board for teams in need of quarterbacks. But alas, Waddle has a Tyreek Hill-style skill set and it would add a dimension to the Giants offense that has been lacking since Odell Beckham left.
** TRADE **
Patriots get: First-round pick (No. 12)
49ers Get: First-Round Pick (No. 15), 2021 Fourth-Round Pick, 2022 Second-Round Pick
12. New England Patriots (via 49ers): QB Mac Jones, Alabama.
Cam Newton is not the solution. Neither did Jarrett Stidham. Bill Belichick obviously has connections to Nick Saban and is as aware of what Jones can do as anyone. He’s the only round-caliber quarterback left on the board and the Patriots need to improve life after Tom Brady.
13. Los Angeles Chargers: OT Rashawn Slater, Northwest.
It’s simple: the Chargers need better protection for Justin Herbert.
14. Minnesota Vikings: EDGE Gregory Rousseau, Miami.
Yannick Ngakoue’s experiment failed last year. The Vikings need to put all the talent they can into their weak defense.
15. San Francisco 49ers (via Patriots): CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina.
The 49ers are ready to lose their entire cornerback body to free agency. Easy choice.
16. Arizona Cardinals: WR DeVonta Smith, Alabama.
It may seem crazy to think that Smith, the Heisman Trophy winner, could fall that far, but there are some questions about his size and backboard in a way that teams weren’t going to make wide receiver a priority. This would be the best-case scenario for the Cardinals, who need better help from DeAndre Hopkins, especially if Larry Fitzgerald retires.
17. Las Vegas Raiders: EDGE Jaelan Phillips, Miami.
His passing career is weak. So Phillips, Azeez Ojulari, or Kwity Paye make sense here.
18. Miami dolphins: RB Travis Etienne, Clemson.
The Dolphins improved their wide receiver level at No. 3, and they continue to load weapons with the best running back in this draft class.
19. Washington football team: WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota.
Washington doesn’t know who his quarterback will be, but he will have an impressive collection of weapons by adding Bateman to a group that already has Terry McLaurin, Logan Thomas and Antonio Gibson.
20. Chicago Bears: OL Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC.
The Bears are attacking quarterbacks and the best catching prospects in this draft, turning their attention to their weak offensive line. Vera-Tucker has potential to play tackle or guard.
21. Indianapolis Colts: WR Kadarius Toney, Florida.
The Colts need to have Carson Wentz weapons on the outside, especially if TY Hilton leaves as a free agent. Toney is a speed demon and would make a fun replacement.
22. Tennessee Titans: EDGE Kwity Paye, Michigan.
Titans pass fever is miserable. Paye is a project but it has a high ceiling.
23. Houston Texans (via Jets): EDGE Azeez Ojulari, Georgia.
His shares have risen since the end of the college football season. The Texans need to replace JJ Watt’s fast-paced pass production.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: C Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma.
Maurkice Pouncey has retired and Humphrey can immediately join as his replacement on the offensive line.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars: T Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech.
The Jaguars need to improve protection against Lawrence, and Darrisaw could fit in as their new left tackle.
26. Cleveland Browns: S Trevon Moehrig, TCU.
Cleveland has an obvious need for safety, even with Grant Delpit coming back from injury, and Moehrig could be the only first-round talent at safety this year.
27. Baltimore Ravens: EDGE Jayson Oweh, Penn State.
The Ravens could lose Yannick Ngakoue and Matthew Judon in free agency and need to develop their next dominant pass rusher. Oweh has a high ceiling.
28. New Orleans Saints: LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame.
The Saints linebackers (outside of Demario Davis) were a mess last year. Owusu-Koramoah is an exciting gamer and elite athlete.
29. Green Bay Packers: WR Elijah Moore, Ole Miss.
It’s about time the Packers gave Aaron Rodgers more weapons, and Moore is a fun, fast prospect who can line up in a few places.
30. Buffalo Bills: OT Teven Jenkins, State of Oklahoma.
The Bills have a need on the offensive line, especially if Daryl Williams ends up leaving as a free agent. Jenkins can replace him at right tackle.
31. Kansas City Chiefs: EDGE Zaven Collins, Tulsa.
Collins is a fun and versatile prospect who can help from the edge and as a linebacker off the ball. The Chiefs have a need in that area.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DT Levi Onwuzurike, Washington.
The Buccaneers’ defensive line is aging, especially on the inside, and it could use an infusion of youth and talent at a low cost. Onwuzurike is an intriguing prospect.
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