Sean Pendergast

Deshaun Watson Named 50th Best Player In 2018 NFL Top 100

The respect level for Deshaun Watson around the league was evident in Monday's NFL Top 100.
The respect level for Deshaun Watson around the league was evident in Monday's NFL Top 100. Photo by Eric Sauseda
We've discussed many times in this space just how well respected Houston Texans' quarterback Deshaun Watson is among his NFL peers, more than any rookie that I can remember in all of my time watching football. When asked questions seeking superlatives, questions that would normally elicit a "Well, he's a rookie, settle down, reporter guy" response, veterans around the league discuss Watson glowingly.

A lot of that respect comes from Watson's superb resume at the collegiate level — two national title game appearances, one title — but those seven games last season in which he lit the league on fire with 1,699 yards, 19 touchdowns passes, and about an hour's worth of YouTube highlights, that really got everyone's attention.

It's not easy to quantify the love of your peers, but one way to do it in the NFL is to point to your NFL Top 100 ranking, if you're lucky enough to be voted onto that its by the NFL players who cast the ballots. It's not often a rookie finds his way onto the list after his first season, but Deshaun Watson, with just SIX starts to his name, made it happen.

On Monday night, the league revealed players 50 through 41 in the 2018 NFL Top 100, which projects performance for the upcoming season, and Watson was named the 50th best player in the league. In my projection for where he wold finish, I overshot the number slightly a couple weeks ago — I put the Vegas number at 29.5 on Watson.

Still, this is an impressive feat. Here is some of the history of this list, which dates back to 2011, as pertains to rookie quarterbacks:

2012 Newton (40)
2013 RG3 (15)
2013 Luck (23)
2013 Wilson (51)

Here are the quarterbacks who have been named to the list, thus far in 2018:

50. Deshaun Watson, HOU
51. Case Keenum, MIN
56. Philip Rivers, LAC
60. Derek Carr, OAK
90. Jimmy Garoppolo, SF
94. Kirk Cousins, MIN

Other Houston Texans who have made the list, in their respective seasons:

2011: 7. Andre Johnson, 25. Arian Foster, 71. Mario Williams
2012: 15. Andre Johnson, 25. Arian Foster, 54. Brian Cushing, 73. Johnathan Joseph
2013: 5. J.J. Watt, 8. Arian Foster, 14. Andre Johnson, 18. Ed Reed, 48. Duane Brown
2014: 12. J.J. Watt, 21. Andre Johnson, 86. Duane Brown
2015: 1. J.J. Watt, 80. Arian Foster
2016: 3. J.J. Watt, 19. DeAndre Hopkins
2017: 35. J.J. Watt, 49. Jadeveon Clowney
2018: 84. J.J. Watt

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at and like him on Facebook at
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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast