As the NFL Scouting Combine gets set to begin on Wednesday, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson will perhaps be the most scrutinized player at the week along event at Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis, Ind.
Since leading the Tigers to a national championship win over Alabama, in which for a second year in a row he picked apart a Nick Saban defense, Watson has been under the gun like no other quarterback in recent drafts.
Though all the draft experts believe Watson has special abilities as a quarterback, and his work ethic is like no other, they either love him as a top 10 pick or they believe he is anything but one. The latest critic to come out and criticize the two-time Heisman Trophy Finalist is NFL Network Draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah.
In a story written by Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman, Jeremiah, a former NFL scout, explains why Watson is not a top 10 pick in his mind.
“For me, I couldn’t do it for a couple of reasons: Number one, the decision-making was a little bit inconsistent,” Jeremiah explained to Feldman. “Then, number two, it’s the accuracy, especially down the field, was troubling. A lot of people will point to completion percentage, but that’s not really what accuracy and ball placement is about when you’re scouting for the next level. You wanna see where it’s located and not (rely on), can Mike Williams or (Clemson tight end Jordan) Legget make some circus catch? I don’t think he’s pinpoint accurate.”
Watson completed 67 percent of his 579 passes for a Clemson and ACC record 4,593 yards and 41 touchdowns. ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay’s findings dispute Jeremiah’s claims somewhat. In the six games he reviewed, McShay says Watson completed 79 percent of his passes 25 yards or in.
However, McShay did add that Watson completed just 29 percent of his throws beyond 25 yards, which like Jeremiah is one of his biggest concerns with Watson.
Jeremiah told Feldman his biggest concern is Watson’s 17 interceptions.
“When I went back and looked at those individually, 11 of the 17 were what I deemed poor reads where he’s forcing the football and it was a decision-based mistake.” Jeremiah said. “That to me is troubling, especially in that type of system. Coming out of a similar type of system, you can look at Marcus Mariota who only had four interceptions. Dak Prescott only threw five picks. Deshaun Watson had 17. That’s an issue for me.”
Jeremiah broke down his findings in these two tweets.
When Watson announced last week, while accepting his second straight Davey O’Brien Award, that he will participate in every drill at the combine, some analyst scratched their heads wondering why. Looking at what critics like Jeremiah and McShay are saying, it is easy to understand why Watson is doing it.
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