Deshaun Watson will make his first NFL start on Thursday against the Cincinnati Bengals. Thursday also happens to be the rookie’s 22nd birthday, and he’s not the first quarterback to make his first pro start on the anniversary of his birth.
The others since 1970: Mark Brunell and former Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler.
— David Ely (@David_Ely) September 14, 2017
Osweiler, who started for the Texans most of last season before being traded away to the Cleveland Browns, got his first start with the Denver Broncos on his 25th birthday.
Peyton Manning was sidelined for a chunk of that season by injury, and Osweiler played in eight games for the Broncos in his stead. It was by far his best game for the Broncos.
Osweiler signed a two-year, $72 million contract with Houston in 2016, but he finished the season with 2,957 passing yards and 15 touchdowns against 16 interceptions. That led to Houston drafting Watson in the first round of the 2017 draft and making him the team’s ninth starting quarterback since 2014.
Now it’s come full circle for Osweiler, who re-signed with the Broncos after being cut by the Browns.
Joining Osweiler and Watson on this less-than-illustrious list is Mark Brunell, who had a more difficult start than Osweiler.
Brunell’s first start came with the Jacksonville Jaguars on his 25th birthday. It was rocky, and the Jaguars lost. But it didn’t keep Brunell from being named to the Pro Bowl in each of his following three seasons in Jacksonville.
When Watson takes the field tonight, he’ll hope his first pro start turns out more like Osweiler’s than Brunell’s.