Browns coach Hue Jackson might have been disappointed by not getting to work with Deshaun Watson for an extra week.
But he promises he won’t hold it against the Clemson quarterback for deciding to skip the Senior Bowl.
Via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Jackson shrugged off Watson’s business decision. The MVP of the national championship game will be a candidate for the first overall pick, and there were early indications he might go to Mobile before he decided to keep himself safe.
“There are going to be other guys that are not participating either, so I won’t hold it against him,” Jackson said. “I don’t think that’s the right thing to do. He’s still a draftable player, there’s still a process we have to go through to evaluate him and see if he can fit here with the Cleveland Browns. . . .
“I get it. I understand where he is and I’m sure he understood what we wanted to accomplish. Again, he’s got to do what’s best for him. You only get drafted one time, and I respect that.”
The Browns also pick 12th overall, and obviously need a quarterback (copy, save, paste as needed). They were already scouting Watson prior to the end of the season, along with other quarterbacks including Mitch Trubisky and DeShone Kizer. But of the group of underclassmen, only Watson was eligible to play because he had already graduated.
“Obviously we wish he were here,” Jackson said. “It would’ve been a great chance to have an opportunity to evaluate him doing the things we do in meetings and on the practice field. But that’s not going to happen, so we’ll have to find a different way of evaluating him. . . .
“I think he’s a high-character guy. I think he’s made of the right stuff. I don’t think there’s anything malicious about his decision. I just think he’s like a lot of guys who have made this decision to do what’s best for them.”
Carson Wentz chose to play in last year’s Senior Bowl, and an impressive week of practice helped vault him to the No. 2 overall pick. But he was also coming out of North Dakota State, and didn’t have a national title on his resume, either.