Deshaun Watson Pre-Draft Scouting Report
© QB Film Room 2017
#4 Deshaun Watson, 6’2” 215 Clemson
Based on overall production in college and how he relished the big stage it is pretty obvious that Deshaun Watson deserves an opportunity to show that he can be a starting quarterback at the next level. Watson passed for just under 9,000 yards in 2015 and 2016 while amassing 1,300 yards on the ground during the last two seasons. While statistics alone can be misleading, Watson showed just enough pro level traits through the air that will garner him an opportunity to be selected at some point in the first two rounds of the 2017 draft. That being said, there are definite holes in his game as a thrower. Despite his production and poise on the big stage, he is not viewed in the same light as prospects such as Carson Wentz, Matthew Stafford or Andrew Luck in terms of being a high end can’t miss prospect coming out of college. Some of this has to do with the system Watson was indoctrinated into at Clemson as well as his natural propensity to escape the pocket and fall back on his natural running instincts when faced with pressure. We view Watson as a more talented version of Alex Smith coming out of college.
Watson was a three year starter at Clemson passing for 90 touchdowns and rushing for 26 touchdowns during his time there.
Analysis/Scouting Notes on Watson
Steps up big during most critical moments which speaks to his ability to remain poised under duress. Watson may very well be the best or one of the best deep ball throwers in this draft class (both fade and back shoulder fade throws) as Watson perfected throwing this type of route utilizing anticipation, quick feet and touch from the shotgun formation. Watson continually made his money with critical moment back shoulder throws throughout his career as well.
Watson however is more of an aim thrower as opposed to being a “let it loose” type of thrower. Not as consistently natural of an intuitive passer as a Trubisky or Kelly.
Not extremely intuitive or flexible with release.
At times throws as if he is not fully aware of defenders around him, which can be both good and bad.Will drop his arm slot to ¾ delivery which impacts ball trajectory and leads to batted balls at LOS. More of an athlete playing the QB position it seems at times. Needs to improve the fluidity of his drops. Very athletic and quick twitched yet his film indicates a guy who although quick in setting up does not look smooth and fluid dropping back from shotgun or under center. Had a static and almost heavy sense at times to his drop backs.
A tremendous leader on and off the field. Rare ability to put a team on his shoulders and lead them to victory. Has an overall knack for making plays out of the designed structure of a play. Extremely athletic.
An upper body thrower that almost seems robotic at times but still fluid for the most part.
Tremendous back shoulder fade thrower of the football
Film Notes – Wake Forest (2015) Florida State (2016) North Carolina (2014) Alabama (2016) South Carolina (2016)
Consistently beat the Wake Forest defense with the ball to all levels of the defense throwing with velocity, placement and touch on out breaking and deep routes from the pocket. Watson showed the ability to deliver with a consistently quick release. Flashed elite sense of timing and anticipation during this contest, something that he showed in spades during his up and down 2016 season.
Shows improvisational skills to maneuver and evade pressure at a high level. Possesses ELITE pocket escapability instincts and plays with good poise. Shows the ability to get north/south fast when running the football. Does not possess a great feel for throwing shallow crossing routes. Does not protect himself as well as he probably should, which at the next level could mean missed time due to injury. Down the field accuracy can be scattershot at time. Shows the ability to throw with excellent touch making some pinpoint bucket throws down the middle versus Tampa 2 and throwing the corner route with perfect timing and placement.
When he knows what he is getting pre-snap he can beat you with touch and down the field velocity on time, much like he did in 2014 versus North Carolina.
Pro Day Update 3/17/2017
Watson showed some noticeable improvements during his pro day. He has been working with Jordan Palmer on his game and it shows. Watson’s feet looked in-sync and quick while performing multiple under center style drop backs during his pro day and his throwing motion looked sharper with the ball came out crisp and cleaner than what his 2016 film showed. In our opinion he won his Pro Day. The work is done for him and he will be playing a waiting game until draft day.
Projection- Deshaun Watson is among the top five quarterback prospects in this class. His combination of athleticism, poise and just enough arm talent will garner him an opportunity to prove he can be a franchise quarterback in the league. The jump to the pro game will be an adjustment for Deshaun coming from a pure spread system at Clemson and sitting in year one may be his best bet in order to give him the best chance at achieving long term sustainability as a starting quarterback at the next level. Look for Watson to be selected anywhere from late Round 1 to Round 3 at the latest.
Trait Grades (Watson)
Arm Talent (B) Toughness (A-) Anticipation (A-)
Arm Strength (B-) Pocket Presence (B-) Football IQ (A-)
Ball Placement/Accuracy (B-) Intangibles/Off-Field (A) Touch (B)
Delivery/Mechanics (B+) Running Ability/Athleticism (A) Throw on Run (B)