Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians is spending the week trying to figure out how to stop Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.
If he’d have had his way, they might both have been someplace else.
Via SI.com, Arians acknowledged that when he was Cardinals coach in 2017, they were a pick away from landing Watson in the 13th overall spot, before the Texans traded up to 12 and took him.
“He would have been drafted in the next pick,” Arians said.
Foiled in that plan, the Cardinals drafted disappointing linebacker Haason Reddick instead.
Watson clearly wouldn’t have minded, as he expressed his admiration for the Bucs coach. They met when Watson was still at Clemson, as Arians and Tigers coach Dabo Swinney had the same agent, and Arians occasionally visited.
“I like Bruce. That’s my guy,” Watson said. “”He’s always been a fan of mine, I’ve always been a fan of his, and we communicated, and that’s pretty dope from a legendary coach like him. It gives me a lot of confidence and a lot of momentum and motivation to keep striving to be great.”
The amount of things which would be different in that scenario is mind-blowing. When Arians and quarterback Carson Palmer retired after the 2017 season, the Cardinals replaced them with Steve Wilks and Josh Rosen, and then replaced them after a year with Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray.