Round 2 Pick 1: Deshaun Watson, Quarterback, Clemson
Entering the season, Deshaun Watson was regarded as the top quarterback and had potential to be the number one pick. Hype around him has dwindled despite being a Heisman finalist and leading Clemson into the college football playoff.
Out of the big three of talked about quarterbacks, Watson, DeShone Kizer and Mitch Trubisky, Watson is the safest and in my opinion still the best choice. Watson is a three-year college starter and has much more experience to enter the pro game than the others. Watson’s knock is that he is coming from a spread one-read offense and has drawn comparisons to Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota. Mariota, now in his second pro season, is playing at an extremely high level and has Tennessee in the playoff hunt.
Watson is a dual-threat quarterback who has great athletic ability to keep plays alive with his legs. What I love most about Watson is his leadership and his IQ. Watson is praised by teammates as being a strong leader, often willing his team to victories. Another plus about Watson is that he recently just graduated from Clemson this December in only three-and-a-half years. This shows his commitment to not only finishing his degree but also finishing a whole semester early shows a lot about his character.
The downside to Watson is Clemson uses a lot of quick one-read throws and question arise about whether Watson can consistently work pass progressions at the next level. This is a reason he has fallen on some analyst’s draft boards and would be a steal at the top of round two. Also, by picking Watson in round two, there will be no pressure to play him right away and instead the Browns can let him sit and grow as a player and play whenever he is ready.
Round 2 pick 17: Cordrea Tankersley, Cornerback, Clemson
With the selection of Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson atop the second round, the Browns select his teammate in Tankersley a few picks later. Tankersley is a big physical corner, which is a pressing need for the Browns secondary. At 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, Tankersley is the ideal size for an NFL cornerback. He is best projected as a man-corner with his size and length.
During his senior year, Tankersley has elevated his draft stock by being Clemson’s top shutdown defensive back all season. Tankersley has three interceptions on the 2016 season and has shown solid ball skills and playmaking ability to become an NFL starter immediately as a rookie.
In many scouts’ views, Tankersley is a better prospect than his former Clemson teammate Mackensie Alexander who was drafted in the second round in 2015. Tankersley is the bigger prospect and has better all round college production then Alexander.
Tankersley will remain one of the top senior cornerback prospects this winter and will face a tough test against the Ohio State receiving corps in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl playoff game.