Player Profile: Deshaun Watson – Clemson

Of all the prospects entering the 2017 NFL Draft, Clemson’s National Championship winning quarterback Deshaun Watson is getting the most attention. Today’s profile begins with the clutch quarterback.

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Name: Deshaun Watson
Date of birth: September 14th 1995
High School: Gainesville, Georgia
Height: 6 ft 3
Weight: 218 lb

BIO:

Watson began attending Gainesville in 2010 and opted to play quarterback for the high school football team. Watson became the first ever freshman to start at quarterback under Gainesville Head Coach Bruce Miller.

The quarterback set several state records while at Gainesville, including total yards (17,134), total touchdowns (218) and career passing touchdowns (155). Watson also emerged as a dual threat, adding 4,057 yards and 63 scores on the ground.

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In his junior year Watson led Gainesville to a victory in the state championship, earning Junior All-American and 2014 Player to Watch accolades. Watson was inundated with scholarship offers, but verbally committed to Clemson in 2012. ESPN ranked him as the number one quarterback in the 2014 class.

COLLEGE:

Watson’s true freshman saw him receive plenty of playing time despite backing up starter Cole Stoudt. In his first three games, Watson completed 29/41 passes for 479 yards, 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions before going onto become the starter. In his first career start against rivals North Carolina, Watson threw for 435 yards and 6 touchdowns. Later in the year, it was announced that Watson had knowingly played a full game with a torn ACL that would require season-ending surgery, meaning Watson missed the Tigers’ bowl game against Oklahoma.

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As a sophomore, Watson was the figurehead for Clemson’s undefeated 12-0 regular season. Clemson went into the College Football Playoffs ranked as the #1 seed. Clemson advanced to the CFB National Championship Game against #2 Alabama. Despite losing the game, Watson threw for 405 yards, 4 touchdowns, adding 73 yards on the ground. Following the 2015 season, Watson became the first Clemson player to be invited to the Heisman Trophy Presentation. He also received the Davy O’Brien Award for the best college quarterback, the Manning Award, and was named ACC Player and Offensive Player of the Year.

Watson’s successes continued into his junior year in 2016, leading the Tigers to another CFB National Championship Game, earning the offensive MVP honor following a 35-31 revenge victory against Alabama. The victory gave Clemson their first national championship for over 30 years. Watson finished second in Heisman voting, won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and became the first repeat winner of the Manning Award. Watson declared for the 2017 NFL Draft finishing college with 10,168 yards, 90 touchdowns, 32 interceptions and a passer rating of 157.5 over three seasons.

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STRENGTHS:

  • Great mobility and athleticism
  • Elite ability to escape and extend plays when they break down in front of him
  • Has good field vision
  • Great accuracy, putting ball exactly where it needs to be
  • Good arm strength
  • Has the mentality to be a leading franchise quarterback

WEAKNESSES:

  • Durability questions, multiple injuries during college
  • Deep passes often lose their zip
  • Needs to bulk up
  • Might struggle to read and recognise NFL defensive schemes

IDEAL NFL FITS:

  • San Francisco 49ers
  • Kansas City Chiefs
  • Houston Texans
  • Arizona Cardinals

NFL COMPARISON:

Deshaun Watson drew plenty of comparisons to Russell Wilson while the national limelight was on him for the CFB Playoffs, but many scouts compare him to a slightly slower Marcus Mariota. The difference being that Watson has more upside as a passer, while Mariota possesses great ball security for a mobile quarterback.

Projected: 1st round


 

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