Thursday, March 9, 2017

2017 NFL Draft Profile: DeShaun Watson

DeShaun Watson, Clemson
6-3, 215
Watson is yet another player that most people in the football business are highly split on. He took Clemson from an average ACC program to an elite unit over the last two seasons, as the Tigers were national semifinalists in 2015, and national champs in 2016. He played in eight games as a freshman in 2014, passing for 1466 yards, 14 TDs, and two INTs. He added five rushing scores as well. As a sophomore, he took Clemson to a national title game appearance. He passed for 4104 yards, 35 TDs, and 13 INTs. He added another 1105 yards and 12 more TDs on the ground. Clemson won the national title his junior season in 2016. He passed for 4593 yards, 42 TDs, and tossed 17 INTs, and averaged 306.2 yards per game passing. He completed between 68 and 69% of his passes each of his three seasons. He added nine more scores as a runner in 2016, and finished with 629 yards on the ground.
The Good
He certainly knows how to win. He finished as a finalist for the Heisman twice, and played in two national title games, winning one. In that title win for the 2016 season a couple of months ago, Watson led a wild 4th quarter rally to deliver the title win.
Over his last 1181 pass attempts, he has been sacked just 32 times. He can move the pocket easily, and does not get shifty with his run ability too soon. He will stick in the pocket and deliver throws under pressure, rather than break down and take off when he does not have to. He became more of a passer in 2016, and less of a runner, but still ran when necessary with success.
He has solid size for an NFL QB.
He seems to stand up the tallest against the toughest competition, and does not get derailed in tough games against big time opponents. Very confident. High character guy who can lead a locker room by example.
The Bad
Watson tends to make some concerning decisions in critical moments at times. He has tossed 30 INTs in the last two seasons, which averages out to 15 per season. That is a high number for a guy who had a gifted roster around him to make plays in. He was only hurried 42 times in two seasons, and tossed 30 picks. Do the math there, but it is not good.
He tends to have Danny Wuerffel syndrome at times, where he just chucks the ball up and hopes his receivers can get to it. And sometimes can be known to misread what defenses are doing.
He is still having a tough time reading through progressions, and this is something that he should have dealt with a while ago. He locks onto his favorite targets and does not always do a good job of looking them off.
He is another "system guy" who works in a playground like no huddle, shotgun offense. He will have to learn how to lead from a huddle, and will have to be taught to work from under center, meaning that he cannot be ready to be a starter for at least two seasons, maybe three.
His numbers will not translate to the NFL, and his game will have to change dramatically to succeed.
He did have an ACL injury in 2014, and although it has not given him problems, it needs to be addressed.
Final Overview
Watson is not ready to be a front line starting QB in the NFL right out of school, and some teams may be dumb enough to try to make him one, which could destroy his career. He is a system QB, and played in a strictly college offense that does not translate to the next level. If he tries too hard to be a dual threat guy in the NFL, he will get hurt badly. His turnover numbers are big, and that is concerning as well. I see too many bad traits despite his winning in college. He is the kind of QB in this league that you pass on and let the other guy take the chance and the developmental time that it will take to get him NFL ready.

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