When you have won 32 games in 35 career starts. You won a national championship and played for another and you hold just about every passing record at Clemson and even some in the ACC, you would expect a little more respect, right?
That’s the way Deshaun Watson sees it. However, the two-time Heisman Trophy Finalist and Davey O’Brien Award winner as the nation’s best quarterback does not feel like he has been given that respect throughout his NFL Draft process the last three months.
“It is like a slap in the face, to be honest,” Watson told ESPN’s Josina Anderson in a one-on-one interview which aired on Wednesday.
Watson feels he has been slapped in the face with the negative comments made about him, while North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky is being dubbed the best quarterback in the draft by many experts. Trubisky has all the measurables and arm strength to play in the NFL, but he was a one-year starter at UNC, and was just 8-5 in those 13 starts.
Watson, who also has the arm strength and the measurables to play in the league, was a three-year starter at Clemson who has won countless games, championships and has shined the brightest on the biggest stages. He had four fourth-quarter or overtime game-winning drives this past season, including a 68-yard game winning drive in the national championship game against an Alabama defense that is expected to have three first-round draft picks in Thursday’s NFL Draft.
He capped the drive by throwing the game-winning touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow with one second to play.
“You see all these things that I have accomplished and there is a lot of it. The list, it is a long list,” Watson said. “They want to talk about the little negatives I have, then they bring somebody else up. It is a little disrespectful.”
But as disappointed as he is to hear people say those negative things, Watson says he is not allowing it to change his approach or attitude as a player.
“Really, the biggest thing is nothing has changed,” he said. “People can pick you apart and evaluate you, but the one thing people cannot evaluate is heart. So being able to work, to grind and being able to handle the adversity, all of that stuff does no bother me. I just stay in my own lane and stay focused and do what I have to do.”
With the start of the draft ticking down and Cleveland soon to be on the clock, Watson is looking forward to his draft experience in Philadelphia, Pa. He doesn’t know where he is going to fall in the draft, but he is confident Thursday is going to be a good day for him and his family.
“I’m confident in myself,” Watson said. “I feel like I have done enough to be able to go in the first round. I have always dreamed about walking across that stage so I can check that off the bucket list.”
And for those who don’t think Watson is worthy of a first-round pick or does not have what it takes to make it in the NFL, former NFL quarterback Ron Jaworski disagrees.
“I love looking at tape because it tells you about the skill set and the attributes of a quarterback,” Jaworski said on SportsCenter Wednesday morning. “Deshaun Watson has a skill set which projects nicely to the NFL. I look for a quarterback at the collegiate level who makes those anticipation throws, those that get rid of the football before the receiver breaks open.
“Another strong attribute Deshaun Watson has is his ability to move inside the pocket. Not the ability to run for 15 or 20 years, but those subtle moves inside the pocket, allowing the receivers to get open, avoid the pass rush pressure and get the ball down the field. Those are strong attributes by Watson.
“Also, he has played in big games and he has won, and that projects nicely to the NFL.”
–Photo Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski, USA TODAY Sports