What Deshaun Watson Trade Means for Betting on the 2021 NFL Draft

If a team trades for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, the NFL universe will enter the unknown—almost, anyway.

Listen, if the Texans move Watson before the draft, remember that Trevor Lawrence still goes as the first overall pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars regardless. If Watson’s traded during NFL free agency, it will throw the NFL down two different paths whether he’s traded to a quarterback-needy team.

The most interesting scenario is if the Texans trade Watson during the NFL Draft.

In which case, if you bet on mock drafts and are doing anything other than live betting, I feel for you. A Watson trade during the draft will send shockwaves throughout the betting universe.

Consider the scenarios in the following sections. Each one, at the time of writing, remains likely.

Trevor Lawrence Still Goes #1

The Texans will probably move Watson. But it probably won’t be to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The only way it happens is if the Texans swap Watson for the top pick, in which Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is still going #1.

Trevor Lawrence Clemson Texans

How unlikely is it that the Texans trade Watson to the Jaguars for the pick? Slim to none, and Slim just left town. It’s not happening.

So, if you’re betting on the top pick, the man with the best odds is still going to the team slated to draft him #1 overall. The reason is because the Jaguars and Texans are division rivals. And rarely do you see a team trade such a marquee player to a rival, unless the rival is willing to give up the house and then some.

A Watson trade will definitely affect the NFL Draft. And if you like to bet on the event, know that there’s a 99.9% chance it won’t affect the top pick.

What If Watson Is Traded During the NFL Draft?

What if the Texans hold Watson until the NFL Draft?

If you made bets with mock drafts, played games like Predict the Pick, or bet on whether a team would go offense or defense with their pick or position, chances are you’re losing money. And you’re probably losing money unless you somehow accurately predicted where Watson would go and built your bet around it.

If that’s the case, I’d like to know where you found the time machine into the future! If Watson remains with the Texans until Draft Day, I’d be wary about even betting on the NFL Draft unless it’s live betting. Forget the mock drafts, Predict the Pick, or even positions. Because chances are, the Texans could seek the right team to trade Watson to on Draft Day.

Deshaun Watson Draft Day

If a team takes a player that the Texans like, they can always pick up the phone and offer Watson, the pick, and a king’s ransom. Imagine a team like the Washington Football Team giving up first round picks in 2022, 2023, and whoever they selected in 2021.

A team like Washington is only a quarterback away from doing some damage within the NFL universe.

I’m sure you can outline a few others as well such as:

  • The Chicago Bears
  • San Francisco 49ers
  • Even the New England Patriots are rumors.

But if the Texans can’t wait to get rid of Watson—in what looks like a relationship becoming irreparable by the day—the ball is in your court.

Watson Trade During NFL Free Agency

If Watson’s traded during NFL free agency, you’re in an ideal scenario if you bet on mock drafts, play Predict the Pick, and other draft-related games.

Let’s say he’s traded to the New York Jets.
You know, the team is no longer in search of a quarterback. That goes for any quarterback-needy football team. If he goes to a non-quarterback-needy football team either for that quarterback or another, it also opens plenty of doors.

The next sections will outline each scenario and will show you a couple of strategies that you can use to increase your odds at winning some money during the 2021 NFL Draft if Houston trades him during free agency or when the new league year begins.

Watson Trade to a Team That Doesn’t Rely on the Quarterback

Let’s Say the Texans trade Watson to the San Francisco 49ers for Jimmy Garoppolo and a first-round pick.

Jimmy Garoppolo Texans Pick

Now, you’ll see a couple of things play out. You know the Texans have the pick. But you also know that, since they traded to a non-quarterback needy team and their quarterback, it’s unlikely the Texans take a quarterback. And it’s also likely teams you penned to take a quarterback will still do so.

Now, if the Texans trade Watson to the Niners for two first round picks, now you know they’ll probably use their newfound draft capital to seek a quarterback in the draft. Perhaps they trade up and select someone like Justin Fields or Trey Lance.

Or there may be someone slated to go at the end of the first round or the early second round they had their eye on the entire time.

Please Note:
The key here is to watch who the Texans trade to and whether they received a quarterback in return. If the Texans got their quarterback, who in this scenario is Jimmy Garoppolo, it doesn’t throw a dent into your potential sports betting strategy

But what if the Niners keep Garoppolo as a backup for the time being and the Texans have no clear cut starting quarterback?

You can practically bet that the Texans are picking someone. So, if you’re playing the positional game, you may bet that they go offense in the first round. Or if you’re digging deeper, you may bet that they’re picking a quarterback.

In Predict the Pick, you would select the Texans to go with a quarterback in the draft position you expect them to take the quarterback. Currently, the Niners pick 12th. If you think the Texans want Justin Fields, but the Carolina Panthers are also eyeing him, then you would predict Fields’ landing spot.

Justin Fields Texans

Let’s say you think the Texans leapfrog the Panthers and swap picks with the Eagles with the 6th pick. Then, you’d slate Fields in at the 6th slot.

But if you’re submitting a mock draft, you’ll slate Fields in at the 12th pick, unless the house rules state you must also project trades. At which point, you’d select him to go to the Texans with the 6th pick or whichever pick you believe they would take Fields.

Let’s use the same scenario.
If the Texans swapped Watson for Garoppolo AND a first-round pick, which would also be the 12th pick, now you’d probably predict a position player. Perhaps it’s DeVonta Smith at number 12, to throw a name out there.

If the Texans swap Watson for Garoppolo in this scenario and also a first-round pick in 2022, then you’d bet on who the Niners are picking at number 12.

Watson Trade to a Quarterback-Needy Team

Now, what if the Texans traded Watson to a quarterback-needy team like the New York Jets? Is it safe to say they’d probably take the second overall pick, too? In that case, you’d just bet on the quarterback you think they would take. That’s either Fields, Zach Wilson, or Trey Lance, among other household names.

If the Texans trade Watson to a team like the Jets for a first-round pick in 2022, now what?

You’d probably just bet on the best positional player in the NFL Draft to go to New York—whoever you have on your big board. And you can write up scenarios if the Texans trade Watson to any quarterback-needy team.

These teams would include:

  • Detroit Lions
  • Carolina Panthers
  • Denver Broncos
  • New York Giants
  • New England Patriots
  • Chicago Bears
  • Washington Football Team

Wherever Watson lands, if he’s traded in NFL free agency, you can make a few scenarios for each team—whether they’re quarterback-need or not.

But one thing is for certain: If the Texans trade Watson to a quarterback-needy team, expect them to take a quarterback in the first round. Don’t expect the Jaguars, because they’re a division rival.

Also, expect the Texans to gain that team’s first-round draft pick so they can either select the best quarterback that falls to them or trade up.


So far, betting on the NFL Draft is a murky picture. Until we know when or where the Houston Texans will trade Deshaun Watson, it’s best to not make any NFL Draft-related bets in advance.

The toughest scenario for all of us would be if the Texans waited until the NFL Draft to move Watson.

If you submitted a mock draft or are playing draft-related games before the draft begins, it will be hard to make money from your wager.

Please Note:
If the Texans move Watson before the NFL Draft to either a quarterback or non-quarterback needy team, it makes placing bets at online sportsbooks before the NFL Draft far more manageable.

What do you think the Texans will do with Deshaun Watson? Do they move him before the draft? During? Or does the unthinkable happen and they hang on to him? Let us know in the comments.

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Rex Hoffman / Author

Rex Hoffman is a passionate sports writer, with over five years of experience covering sports journalism in line with the Vegas betting landscape. His favorite subjects include football, basketball, and baseball. As a Las Vegas resident, he enjoys finding an edge against the local sportsbooks and aims to share his extensive knowledge with both beginners and experienced bettors. Rex also dabbles in horse racing wagering and enjoys typical casino fare like blackjack and poker in his spare time.