In the same comments during which former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson said he will do “everything” at the Scouting Combine, Watson also gave a fairly broad assessment of where and when he thinks he’ll be drafted.
“First round, anywhere in that range, top 10, top five, just depends on what the teams say,” Watson said. “It’s something I can’t control. I just make sure I can control what I can control. Stay positive.”
The first round is a very broad range; top five or 10 becomes a far more specific estimate. It will be critical for his agent to properly gauge Watson’s expectations, so that Watson won’t be upset if he slides farther down the board than he thought he would.
Four years ago, and fueled by media that overvalued his stock, quarterback Geno Smith reportedly entered the process thinking he’d be the first overall pick. After he slid to round two, he fired his agents.
And so it’s critical that, between now and late April, all players expecting to be taken early in the draft have a firm, clear understanding as to where the floor and the ceiling reside, with the floor being the much more important factor. When players go lower than the lowest they believed they’d go, that’s when tough questions get asked.
It’s more than a point of pride. The projected draft range influences decisions made about the pre-draft process. Whether to attend the Senior Bowl (Watson didn’t), whether to work out at the Scouting Combine (Watson will), whether to accept offers to visit certain teams, whether to work out privately for certain teams. Each question needs to be resolved with a clear understanding of whether and to what extent a given activity could help or hurt or not matter at all.
Ultimately, the player needs to decide whether to attend the draft, if invited. It’s important for the player to know how long he’ll be sitting in the green room, if he chooses to attend.
Watson may already have a more specific idea as to where he’ll be drafted than his comments suggest. If he doesn’t, he has a couple of months to get there. Helping to boost his stock as high as possible and making sure he knows where that stock resides when the draft begins will be the two most important job of Watson’s agent during that period of time.