Houston Texans cornerback Kareem Jackson played college football for the Alabama Crimson Tide, so he had some mixed emotions when his team traded up in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft to select quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Watson has put up big numbers in the last two BCS National Championship games against Jackson’s vaunted Bama defense, even rallying his Tigers to beat them this year. Jackson told The Jim Rome Show on Monday he was willing to put those feelings aside for the betterment of the team and was kind of excited by the team acting so aggressive to get him.
“I kind of looked past him beating my guys in the national championship this year,” Jackson said. “I know what he’s capable of, just watching him in the last couple years in the national championship, and throughout his career at Clemson. He’s done some great things on the college stage, so we’re looking forward for him to come in and definitely give us a huge boost offensively, to be a leader offensively. So just definitely excited to have him here.”
With the Texans assembling a playoff caliber roster the past few seasons, conventional thinking has been the team is a quarterback away from being a Super Bowl contender, but Jackson doesn’t want Watson to feel like he has to do it himself.
“We don’t necessarily want to put all that pressure on him. We have other guys, other pieces surrounding him,” Jackson said. “Lamar Miller was huge for us last year. Our tight ends were huge as well. But at the same time, he’s definitely going to have to come in and he’s going to have to be a leader, and do the necessary things to go out and be successful on Sunday. And I’m sure the coach has done a great job, just looking at his background and knowing he’s a capable guy before even drafting him.
“So for us defensively, we just want to go out and do our job, whatever we can do to make things a lot easier for him or whoever is going to be under center, we definitely want to do that. We want to be dominate each and every Sunday. So anything we can do, like I said, that will definitely help him and the offense for those guys to have better field positon, create turnovers, whatever we have to do to make it a little bit easier for them.”
Jackson is already anxious for the season, knowing how dominant their defense was last year playing without three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, J.J. Watt, who missed most of last season with a back injury.
“With the talent we have on the defensive side of the ball, first and foremost, to get J.J. back, to have him back healthy, man, it definitely means a lot to our team,” Jackson said. “And with the draft picks that we added, we’re extremely excited about this year.”