Name: Deshaun Watson
Height/Weight: 6-foot-2 and 221 pounds
2016 – 15 games, 4,593 passing yards, 67 completion percentage, 41 touchdowns, 17 interceptions.
2015 – 15 games, 4,109 passing yards, 67.8 completion percentage, 35 touchdowns, 13 interceptions.
2014 – 8 games, 1,466 passing yards, 67.9 completion percentage, 14 touchdowns, 2 interceptions
Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson did just about everything you could ask for while leading the Tigers to consecutive national championship games and a national title in 2016.
Related: DeShone Kizer Draft Profile
The three-year starter completed his collegiate career third in ACC history in total offense, threw 90 career touchdown passes, and is at the top of Clemson’s career list in completion percentage, passer rating and total offense per game.
Watson also hits all the check marks that head coach Hue Jackson is looking for in a quarterback, from size to football IQ and leadership skills.
Among Watson’s strengths, according to Rob Rang at CBS Sports:
"The first thing that stands out about Watson is his remarkable athleticism. He is a fluid athlete with the vision, elusiveness and speed to make even well-coached defenses look silly. Even better, Watson looked no worse for the wear following the knee surgery, demonstrating the flexible joints and explosive acceleration that often takes a year (or more) to return. He shows impressive spatial awareness, recognizing when defenders are near and either sliding or running out of bounds to keep himself from absorbing unnecessary hits."
"Though Watson is aided by Clemson’s shotgun-heavy offense, he shows the quick mental processor scouts expect at the position. Watson can move defenders with his eyes, creating passing (or rushing) lanes to take advantage of over-aggressive defenders. He has a tight release and possesses at least adequate arm strength to deliver long sideline throws. When he sets his feet properly and throws with balance, Watson can place the ball beautifully, fitting the ball through tight windows, including while on the move. He possesses excellent touch on bucket throws, laying the ball out in front of his receivers on deep passes down the seam and sideline."
Just like each of the other quarterbacks that will be available in the draft, Watson has his weaknesses, which Lance Zierlein points out at NFL.com:
"Frame is a little more slender than teams typically like. Accuracy runs hot and cold. Tends to over-stride on drive throws, causing release point to drop and balls to sail. Ball placement on crossing routes and slants needs to improve. Will leave throws behind intended targets. Deep-ball accuracy has been scatter-shot over his last two seasons at Clemson, with throws sailing well beyond his target. Design of offense limited his need to make full-field reads. Has to become adept at working through progressions and playing chess against safeties. Needs to let routes develop rather than rushing anticipatory throws."
"Too many interceptions due to lack of vision, placement or decision-making. Threw interception vs. Troy against bracketed coverage he didn’t see. Baited into bad-decision interceptions twice by Florida State cornerbacks. Has issues improvising away from initial, pre-snap plan even when pathway to target becomes muddy. Shotgun quarterback who, like Jared Goff, could take time getting used to huddling, pace of play-calling and drop-backs from under center."
For some reason, probably more so in Cleveland than anywhere else, people are desperately afraid that Watson will be successful and are going out of their way to discredit what he did at Clemson.
But that may change come draft day.