2017 NFL Draft Prospect: Deshaun Watson

Ohio State vs. Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl on December 31st is one of the best games bowl season has to offer. Deshaun Watson, one of the best players in this game, has been sliding down draft boards for some reason. He’s finished second in the Heisman voting two years in a row, and is an incredible runner. His decision-making has been often cited as a main concern among scouts, causing him to fall on many scout and draftnik boards. He could end up being a big value for both NFL and fantasy teams.

Efficiency at a Young Age

Much like Mitch Trubisky, Watson was very efficient at a young age. While he wasn’t as efficient as Trubisky, he did so at a younger age and while starting for three seasons. Here’s how he stacks up to Trubisky and other NFL quarterbacks:

NameAgeAYACompletion %Rushing YardsTD/INT Ratio
Deshaun Watson218.267.65242.47
Mitch Trubisky239.268.92707
Derek Carr238.768.91176.25
Russell Wilson2311.872.83388.25
Cam Newton2211.266.114734.29
Aaron Rodgers218.566.11263
Marcus Mariota2211.568.377010.5
Matt Stafford219.261.4402.5
Jameis Winston217.765.3651.39
Carson Wentz248.762.52944.25
Dak Prescott238.766.25885.8
Jared Goff229.464.5-83.31
Andrew Luck239.471.31503.7
Blake Bortles229.667.82722.78
Kirk Cousins24863.7-392.5
Paxton Lynch229.466.82397
Robert Griffin III2211.872.46996.17
Teddy Bridgewater2210.371784.43
Patrick Mahomes219.265.72854.1

He has the second most rushing yards of the group and is highly accurate, but has among the lower AYAs and TD/INT ratios. His numbers are very to similar to Aaron Rodgers’ final college season, but they also look similar to Blake Bortles’. Although he’s been one of the top quarterbacks in the nation over the past three years, his efficiency numbers haven’t been that of an elite quarterback.

What’s Still to Come for Watson?

We know that Watson will declare, since he’s already graduated and announced his intentions to leave early. And we generally have an idea of how he’ll test at the combine, since he put up these numbers at the Opening:

  • 4.89 40-yard dash
  • 4.24 20-yard short shuttle
  • 34.2-inch vertical jump

From this, it looks as though he was an average athlete. Judging by his rushing ability and on-field explosiveness, he might be a better athlete than these numbers indicate. Even though he’ll be compared to Robert Griffin and Marcus Mariota throughout the draft process, he’s not very close to the two as prospects. As an athlete and statistically, he’s more similar to Johnny Manziel than either of these players. Watson is bigger (listed at 6 feet 3 inches, and 215 pounds) than Manziel, and also appears to have his head on straight, so the comparison isn’t direct. Other questions about Watson that will help us further evaluate him are:

  • Three Cone
  • Velocity
  • Draft Position and Landing Spot
  • Hand Size

Ideally, Watson will land on a team such as the Chiefs, Bears, or Texans. These teams have some established players on offense and will be able to build around Watson as the future of their franchise. Another interesting landing spot would be if he goes in the top five to the Bears, who have some moving parts but an intriguing, young nucleus. If they add a receiver in free agency or the draft, the supporting cast could benefit Watson early on in his career.

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By Kyle Pollock | @KylePollockFF | Archive

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