4. Deshaun Watson (Jr.) – Clemson
Height: 6-2 Weight: 225
40-Yard Dash: 4.66
10,168 passing yards, 90 TDs, 32 INTs, 67.4 comp. %
Player Comparison: Dak Prescott
Projected Draft Round: 1
Deshaun Watson enjoyed a tremendous career at Clemson University. He beat out Chad Kelly early in each of their careers at Clemson and never looked back. When you look at the stats (over 4,000 yards and completed over 65% of his passes), you’d wonder why Watson is showing up at the fourth spot and not at number one. In my personal opinion, there just isn’t a lot separating any of the top four quarterbacks in this class. What does separate Watson from his peers is winning. He single handedly torched the Crimson Tide in back-to-back National Championship games. In those games, he faced a lot of guys he’ll be playing against at the next level. What I enjoy most about Watson’s game is his athletic ability. He has a touch of Cam Newton in his game and accounted for a large portion of Clemson’s offense. I think what you get in Watson is a steady hand who’s seen a lot on the field at the college level, but concerns about his pocket presence and accuracy on intermediate routes worry scouts in the NFL. Like most quarterbacks coming from college, Watson mostly operated out of the shotgun and got his signals from the sideline. He’s not a finished product, but I believe if he gets an opportunity to play in an offense similar to the one being run in Carolina with Cam Newton, then Watson can have success in the NFL.
What They’re Saying:
“Teams will have to weigh the inconsistent field vision and decision-making against his size, athleticism, leadership and production. While not perfect, teams can add checks to both arm and accuracy boxes for Watson. However, discussions about whether or not his areas of improvement can be corrected will likely determine whether a team will view him as a high-upside prospect or a franchise quarterback. Watson’s transition from Clemson’s offense to a pro-style attack will obviously take time, but his combination of intangibles and athletic ability make him worth a first-round selection.”
– Lance Zierlein (NFL.com)
“He consistently identifies the best route for success before the ball is snapped. When forced off of his initial read, Watson shows great rythym in moving to his next progressions and firing on time. Watson’s ball placement is impressive, both on first read throws and on later developing passes. He does not possess great arm strength, but he knows how to carefully place passes where they need to be in a timely manner. Watson is a timing and anticipation based passer through and through. Watson is a strong field general, too. He does not falter in key situations, such as third downs and the fourth quarter, and he does not negatively snowball after making mistakes.”
– Derrik Klassen (Optimum Scouting)
“There are a lot of growth issues that Watson will need development for in the NFL – aside from his passing skills. Watson is also going to need to learn how to work under center, call plays in a huddle, and develop his footwork to make drops from being under center. His college offense has a lot of quick throws, screens, and designed runs that inflated his numbers but don’t translate to the NFL. Some NFL sources believe that Watson is going to need his pro offense to be catered to him and that he could have issues fitting a NFL system.”
I like Watson a lot. I think he possesses the traits needed to be a team’s franchise quarterback. Obviously, concerns about his arm strength and overall accuracy on intermediate and deep throws are drawbacks, but Watson possesses a quality none of the other prospects in this draft have: he’s a winner. If the Bills could use anything, it’s an injection of a winning attitude, and Watson will bring that. A majority of his throws were at or around the line of scrimmage, which has been a big negative against him. But if the Bills were to draft Watson, then he wouldn’t be asked to start right away. This would be key to his eventual development into a starter. I like any of the top four quarterbacks that will potentially be available for the Bills at the tenth pick, but I think the guy who makes the most sense may end up being Watson.
This is one of my favorite plays on film I’ve seen from Watson. His performance in last year’s national championship game against Alabama was nothing short of spectacular. This is a throw he’ll have to make with consistency in the NFL, and I think he possesses the tools to do just that. What impresses me the most about this play is the fact that he climbs the pocket and delivers the ball with velocity and accuracy, and most importantly, he delivers it on time.
What. A. Throw.
This is another example of a throw Watson will have to continue to show he can make. There’s simply no margin for error on this play, and he puts it literally where only his receiver has an opportunity to make the play. This may be one of the most impressive throws I’ve seen him make.
Here’s a great example of a play that scares a lot of scouts across the league. It’s something you see from time to time when you put on Watson’s film. He struggles to scale the pocket while simultaneously keeping his eyes down field. His eyes have a tendency to drop, and he’ll run around and find himself in trouble. He has a lot of in-pocket issues that current Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor has also struggled with. I’m not convinced it’s an issue that can’t be corrected, but it’s certainly an area of concern moving to the next level.