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Watson draws rave reviews for NFL Combine performance

During his interview session with reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine on Friday, Deshaun Watson was asked what he believes separates himself from the other top quarterbacks in this year’s draft class.

After complementing his competitors, Watson gave an answer that facts support — he’s a winner.

“One thing that translates from college to the NFL is winners,” Watson said. “I think being a quarterback, that’s the biggest thing being recognized is winning games, and that’s all I’ve been doing.”

Watson further backed up those words during his on-field workouts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind., on Saturday, displaying the skills that he used to win a state championship in high school and a national championship at Clemson while recording a combined record of 81-11 between the two levels.

The two-time Heisman Trophy finalist ran the 40-yard dash in 4.66 seconds, elevated 32.5 inches in the vertical jump and leaped 119 inches in the broad jump. His 40-yard time ranks third fastest among participating quarterbacks, while he was fourth in the broad jump and fifth in the vertical jump.

After showcasing his athleticism, Watson impressed with accuracy to all parts of the field and touch on deep balls during the throwing drills.

So, it’s no surprise he drew rave reviews during NFL Network’s broadcast of the combine.

NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah, a former NFL scout with three clubs, called Watson the most impressive of the “big four” quarterbacks at the combine ahead of North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky, Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahommes and Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer in that order.

“Just based off what we saw today, watching them throw the football, I gotta be honest — I thought Deshaun Watson was the most impressive of the bunch,” Jeremiah said. “It was how smooth can you be, how accurate and easy did he make it look? I thought the ball had plenty of pace on it. I thought he threw with a velocity that each throw required, which is impressive to see.”

Analyst Charles Davis, who was a four-year starting defensive back for Tennessee in the early 1980s and later an assistant athletic director at Stanford University, thinks Watson didn’t get due credit for his abilities as a quarterback leading up to the combine.

“Deshaun Watson, I think after a while, was starting to get damned with faint praise,” Davis said. “He plays really well in the big games, he won a national championship, he did this — we forgot to say he’s a heck of a quarterback, a heck of a technician. We got to see that on display today and see the big arm.”

Former NFL quarterback and No. 1 overall draft pick David Carr, now an NFL Network analyst, thought Watson’s performance looked effortless.

“Deshaun has put on a sneakily amazing day,” Carr said. “He’s throwing it really smooth, and it doesn’t look hard.”

Mike Mayock, an NFL Media draft expert, has been critical of Watson in some aspects of his game such as decision-making and coverage recognition, saying he will face an adjustment process in those areas as a pro.

Mayock, though, gave Watson’s day at the combine high marks as well.

“I think this guy had a great day,” he said. “His footwork looked good mechanics-wise, I thought his accuracy was consistent and outstanding all day long. … So, I would say Watson just came in as advertised, let it rip and did everything well.”

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