2017 NFL Draft
Scouting Report
Prospect:  Deshaun Watson


School:          Clemson
Ht:  6'-2"       Wt:  210
Eligibility:      JR
Uniform:       #4
Position #1:      QB

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Heading into his junior campaign, Watson reminds me of Marcus Mariota entering the 2015 NFL Draft. He has a tall, slightly slender build, with good but not great arm strength and exceptional athleticism. The good news for Watson is he still has his junior year to continue to grow as a quarterback. The unfortunate news is there may not be much more room for him to grow in that Clemson offensive system.

Watson, like most quarterbacks who play in a spread system, will need to learn how to work out of the pocket. He displays good footwork in his short drops out of the gun, but his initial reaction to pressure is to usually go backward and escape. Rarely did I see him step up into the open space which will be essential in the NFL. He has the poise and feet to become a pocket passer, but he won't get an opportunity to improve in this area until his college days are over. He also has limited experience making NFL throws in that system. Very seldom does he display anticipation in his throws or good timing with routes down the field.

Still, he is the top quarterback prospect heading into the 2016 season. He has a calm demeanor, and teammates naturally look up to him. He makes very sound decisions with the ball and displays good accuracy, which gets even better when he is on the move. He has big, strong hands and throws a very catchable ball. Sometimes he shows too much confidence in those hands, and you will see him carry the ball like a loaf of bread when he is scrambling. Obviously, the threat of being stripped is a concern, but it also makes for a longer windup which will give defenders a head start on breaking to the ball. Outside of that, he displays a quick motion that comes from a bit of a lower arm angle at times.

Overall, he shows good touch when he needs to, and the ability to put some heat on a pass as well. His deep ball accuracy is hit and miss, but Clemson doesn't take a ton of shots deep either. Repetition will either help or reveal this as an area of weakness. He is also dangerous when he takes off running but make no mistake, he is a quarterback that just happens to be a great athlete and not the other way around. He displays a good understanding of how important he is to his offense and heads for the boundary or slides as opposed to taking unnecessary hits. He is not going to be the top prospect in the 2017 class like Andrew Luck in 2012, but he has the skills to be drafted one overall next April, and will certainly be one of the most intriguing prospects entering the 2016 season.

Compares to (Current NFL Player): Marcus Mariota (Tennessee Titans)

- Poise - no game is too big for him
- Excellent leader
- Great athleticism and footwork
- Throws well on the move
- Good football IQ

- A bit on the slender side
- Limited experience making NFL throws and zero drop backs from under center
- Arm strength is good enough but far from a strength

Austin Smith
July 14, 2016

1)   Auburn's season-opening dilemma: 'Everything's problematic' about Deshaun Watson   - AL.com
2)   Deshaun Watson Deserves Hype, but He's Not a Transcendent QB Prospect Ever   - Bleacher Report
3)   Clemson's Deshaun Watson learning from the Mannings, living his college football dreamlike?   - Nola.com
4)   Deshaun Watson Twitter
5)   Deshaun Watson Instagram

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