"We want to provide a competitive environment across the board. So [Watson will] compete," Smith said Thursday on the Stephen A. Smith Show on ESPN Radio. "[But] like I said, we feel good about Tom and his abilities to manage the offense. But yeah, [Watson] will come in, and just like every other guy on the roster, he'll have time to play."
The Texans traded up to the No. 12 pick on Day 1 of last week's draft, giving up two first-round picks to the Cleveland Browns to ensure they could select Watson.
Throughout the offseason, Smith and head coach Bill O'Brien have stressed how difficult it is for a rookie quarterback to play right away in the NFL because there is so much to learn. Because of this, the Texans hope to give Watson time to develop before he becomes a starter.
"Our mentality is that we try to create the most competitive environment possible, at every position," Smith said. "So there are some things that Deshaun has to come in and learn -- all these rookies. They've got to come in, and there's so much that they don't know about pro football.
"So he is in the class with the rest of those men when they report next week. There's a lot for him to learn that way."
Watson said last week that he is prepared to wait for his turn to start, whenever that may be.
"Learn from the veteran guys, play whatever role I have," Watson said during his introductory news conference on Friday. "But my main focus is getting here, learning about this city, learning about this organization, learning this system, and just being the best teammate I can be, whatever role that is. ... I know it's going to be a challenge, which is what I'm up for. But also, I have a lot to learn, so I'm anxious to get here and get to work and learn from Brandon Weeden and Tom Savage, two guys that I'm a huge fan of, who I watched when they were in college."