Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson was undeniably a superstar at the college level, but there are some doubts about whether he has what it takes to succeed as a pro passer. Watson did his best to erase those doubts at the Scouting Combine.
Among the top three quarterbacks in this draft class — Watson, DeShone Kizer of Notre Dame and Mitchell Trubisky of North Carolina — Watson is the one who seems to be getting the most buzz out of his performance at the Combine.
“If one guy kind of struck a chord for me this weekend,” NFL Network’s Mike Mayock said today on PFT Live, “it was Deshaun Watson.”
Kizer showed talent at the Combine, but Mayock said that several coaches he knows are worried that Kizer tended to play his worst football at the biggest moments, while Watson seemed to thrive in big games.
“Talking to a lot of teams this weekend — not on television, just conversations — I sensed a lot of frustration about Kizer,” Mayock said. “So much talent, so physically gifted, why aren’t we seeing more on tape?”
Trubisky was only a one-year starter, which means he doesn’t have a lot of tape to show either. And Mayock said all of the top quarterbacks — as well as Patrick Mahomes of Texas Tech — may have the talent to become very good NFL starters down the road, even if none is ready to start in 2017.
“I went into it thinking if I had to put a grade on these guys, none of them would have a first-round grade even though I think three or four of them have first-round talent,” Mayock said.
So the question will be whether some team is willing to draft a quarterback early, then show patience with him as he develops. That’s the approach that could pay off for Watson, and maybe with every top quarterback in this class.