It’s Elementary, Deshaun Watson
By BJ Bennett
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With all due respect to his peers, Watson, in my estimation, is clearly the top quarterback prospect in the 2017 NFL Draft.
I find the mixed opinions on Deshaun Watson's professional potential baffling. With all due respect to his peers, Watson, in my estimation, is clearly the top quarterback prospect in the 2017 NFL Draft and, more so, has exactly everything you look for in a number one overall pick. Though there are obvious differences in college football and the next level, Watson's abilities more than connect the dots.
As a prospect, Watson's biggest weakness may be his biggest strength. He, after starring early on at Clemson, has been historically great; each of his positive traits have been chronicled, detailed and displayed, time and time again, on the big stage.We have seen him go 32-2 in games he both started and finished, torch Alabama in a title game not once, but twice, and become the only player ever to throw for over 4,000 yards and rush for more than 1,000 in a single season.
Watson's progression has been paint-by-number. As a true freshman, he played with a maturity beyond his years. Watson took the Tigers to the College Football Playoff Final as a sophomore. He brought the trophy back with him as a junior.
There is no area where Watson hasn't excelled. He threw for 10,168 yards and 90 touchdowns, running for 1,934 yards and 26 more scores. Watson has been a community leader, involving himself in many civic activities, including Habitat for Humanity. He graduated with a degree in communications studies in two-and-a-half years and is believed to be the first quarterback in FBS history to pass at least 37 credit hours and throw 35 or more touchdown passes in the same academic year.
At 6'3'', Watson is an accurate, mobile prototype. His instincts are in-tune. Leadership, for Watson, has been a defining trait. During his college career, Watson proved unflappable, leading the Tigers on two separate game-winning touchdowns drives in the few moments of the national championship game, all against Alabama's vaunted defense. All of the intangibles professional teams want, Watson has.
Timing may be where the disconnect lies. Given Watson's accomplishments, criticism, in the pre-draft process, is the only shift to be made. Just as late-risers can become hot commodities with a change in the talking points, the status quo can be altered, especially with quarterbacks, for seemingly-established prospects. In terms of attention and hype, Watson may have peaked too soon; he is being punished, potentially, for being too good, too soon.
Given what is at stake, we should nit-pick when it comes to top draft prospects. We shouldn't over-evaluate, however, just to be different. It's human nature to observe and react with an inclination towards change. Perhaps some of that is at play with Watson.
Beyond measurables and statistics, Watson has the complete makeup of a franchise player. He elevated Clemson and is poised, with his next opportunity, to do the same.