Former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson is impressing at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine, and he hasn’t even thrown the football in front of scouts yet.
Watson has handled himself well during interviews with NFL teams since arriving to the combine in Indianapolis, Ind., on Wednesday, and he got off to a good start with his on-field workouts Saturday.
The national champion and two-time Heisman finalist recorded unofficial times of 4.68 and 4.67 on his two attempts in the 40-yard dash at Lucas Oil Stadium. His official time of 4.66 is third best among participating quarterbacks.
NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock called Watson’s times “real solid,” and had high praise for him.
“He had seven touchdown passes and one interception over a two-game period against the best college football team,” Mayock said during the broadcast, referring to his performances the past two seasons against Alabama. “When the lights are brightest, that’s when Deshaun plays his best.”
Host Rich Eisen was very complimentary, as well.
“He’s just impressive on every level,” Eisen said. “I mean if you want to talk about Alabama’s defense being the most pro-ready, what he’s done in two games against them with the highest stakes on the line, you can’t deny it.”
Watson also logged a broad jump of 9 feet 11 inches, fourth best among quarterbacks, and a vertical jump of 32.5 inches, fifth best.
On Thursday, Watson surprised some when he weighed in at 6-foot-2 1/2, 221 pounds.
“Some of the scouts were knocking him on being really lean,” Mayock said. “He was listed at 210, but he came in at 221, which is good.”
Off the field, during his interviews with teams, Watson has convinced them of his leadership ability and knowledge of the game.
“The biggest questions that I’ve heard from different coaches was if I could change the protection, run an offense and recognize defensive coverages,” Watson told reporters at the combine on Friday. “Every team I (met with) asked me those questions, I handled it well and answered those questions, and they were very impressed.
“They know that I’m not just another quarterback that’s running the spread offense. I’m a guy that can operate and make good decisions and recognize what the defense is doing, and be successful doing it.”
Watson and the other quarterbacks in his group will continue their on-field workouts today with skill drills that test them as passers.