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Texans' Deshaun Watson faces a real test in 2020, but DeAndre Hopkins' departure could actually benefit Watson in the long run

When PFF ranked all 32 starting quarterbacks ahead of the 2020 NFL season, Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson ended up in the second tier of passers. But how much of a step is needed for him to join the game's very best and put himself in the same bracket as Patrick Mahomes?

Watson is very close to that level already. It might not show up in overall PFF grade — Watson's overall PFF grade was 81.0 overall last season, while the best quarterbacks were 10 grading points higher — but if we look at how that grade is compiled, his case becomes a little stronger.

[Editor's Note: PFF's advanced statistics and player grades are powered by AWS machine learning capabilities.]

Watson's baseline is incredibly high, but he punctuates that with occasional awful games that drag down his overall grade on the season. In 2019, he had three games that earned PFF grades in the 40s, and removing just those three from his season vaults his grade over 90.0 and puts him in the same category as the best players at the position.

Obviously, that's not a clean comparison without removing the worst games from everybody else as well, but it serves to illustrate Watson's biggest issue right now — his “off days.”

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