Weight: 215 pounds
School: Clemson Tigers
Deshaun Watson 2017 NFL Draft Profile
From the moment he suited up for the Clemson Tigers, Deshaun Watson screamed potential. Against North Carolina, in his second start as a true freshman, Watson completed 75% of his passes for 435 yards and six touchdowns. Just two weeks after turning 19 he was already picking defenses apart and putting up impressive stat sheets. The trend has continued throughout his strong college career.
When his sophomore season came around, his first as full-time starter, Watson was ready to impress. He put up stats that looked like they could almost be from two separate players. He picked up 1,105 rushing yards on 207 attempts on his way to 12 touchdowns. The century mark was eclipsed not once, not twice, but five different times counting the playoffs. Those stats are on the same level as some starting running backs. On top of his insane rushing performance, Watson also completed 67.8% of his throws for 4,104 yards and 35 touchdowns. There haven’t been quarterback seasons much more complete than that.
Despite his sophomore season being perhaps his best statistically, Watson’s junior campaign is his crowning jewel. He aired it out for 4,593 yards to go with his 41 touchdowns on the way to leading Clemson to a national championship. In that game against the vaunted Alabama defense, Watson carefully diced them up by completing 36-of-56 attempts (64.3%) for 420 yards and three touchdowns. Just to top it off he got a rushing score in as well and this dazzling performance all came without a single turnover on Watson’s part. He got his second chance on the biggest stage in college football, and he stole the show.
The only blemish on his passing performance in 2016 is the whopping 17 interceptions he threw. If he had turned the ball over a little less by displaying the field vision and decision making teams covet, Watson would have been a lock for first overall pick. Instead, the polarizing prospect has received grades anywhere from the top of the first down into the second.
- Exquisite leadership and character.
- Elite athleticism.
- Playmaker on the ground.
- History of clutch plays.
- Good arm strength.
- Throws with touch and poise.
- Nice release that leads to smooth spiral on throws.
- Fairly accurate throwing on the run.
- Good pocket presence. Calm and collected against pressure.
- Hot-and-cold accuracy.
- Slender frame.
- Didn’t make full-field reads in college.
- Often overthrows receivers on deep passes.
- Lapses in field vision and decision making.
- Tends to rush throws before a route develops.
NFL Comparison: Marcus Mariota, Tyrod Taylor
Teams With Need at Position: Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears, New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers, Buffalo Bills, Houston Texans, Denver Broncos
Projection: Early to mid first round
Deshaun Watson possesses one-in-a-million leadership and intangibles along with elite athleticism and a prototypical NFL body. There are some questions about his accuracy, which was hot and cold over his college career, but his mechanical issues are highly correctable. A good coach will be able to work out the kinks in Watson’s game and develop him into a true franchise quarterback. If given time to learn and develop, Watson has the kind of potential that could change the game.