Jordan Palmer, Deshaun Watson’s private quarterbacks coach, said Clemson’s Pro Day on Thursday at the Poe Indoor Practice Facility was just another Thursday to the former Clemson star.
“I have worked with a lot of guys that have been drafted really high and they were really nervous on pro day. It is a big day, but I think that is why he was so cool in the national championship game and in those situations,” Palmer said. “I have had Drew Brees come out. I had Norv Turner come out. Those were his best days.”
One can argue Thursday was a good day, too. Though Watson missed on a couple of passes, especially in pressure drills, for the most part the Davey O’Brien Award winner was not bothered by the fact more than 100 NFL scouts, coaches and general managers were there to watch him spin the football.
He did not care that Pittsburgh Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin was there. He did not care that Tennessee Titans’ head coach Mike Mularkey was there. He did not care that Bears’ head coach John Fox was there. He did not care that Detroit head coach Jim Caldwell was there. Watson just did what he likes to do. He played football.
“I don’t think he convinces himself that he is good, but it is more about how he handled the first 18 years of his life,” Palmer said. “Just because there are a bunch of teams here, that does not mean much to him. The cool thing is, and what I get to see that no one else gets to see, is that he is like that when no one else is around.”
Palmer, who scripted Watson’s Pro Day, said he built in a few things he wanted to the scouts to see that they will not see on film or from what happened at the NFL Combine.
“He never turned his back to the defense at Clemson,” Palmer said. “That is not an indictment on Clemson. It is the best college football program in the country. They are wearing the crown right now. But there is an aspect of getting comfortable with those things. Our time spending the last two months together is not going to turn on the on-switch and make him a super star. What it does, I train and develop muscle memory on things that are new.
“A lot of the things we did today were play action, faking off to the running back and all of that. It may look really easy, but I want to get him to the point where he is not thinking about doing that. He has to develop the muscle memory where when he gets into rookie mini-camp he is just worried about what is happening over there and not worried about what he is doing.”
What Palmer did with Watson on Thursday was put him in situations that the scouts and the coaches are not going to see on tape.
“I can deal with adversity. I can manage the situations I need to manage,” Watson said about what he had to prove. “I am a winner. I am a champion. That’s what I do.”
Watson threw passes to wide receivers Mike Williams and Artavis Scott. He also worked with Jordan Leggett and running back Wayne Gallman. Of the more than 30 passes he threw, he missed on just seven and two were on Williams, who did not get his feet down on one sideline pass and dropped a bomb when he tried to one-hand a catch.
But, Watson did not let it affect his mood. He laughed it off as he joked around with a team-manger from time-to-time as well as a couple of pro coaches who talked with him after the workout.
“It is normal for me. I just go and play football and I don’t let an anything affect me or my game,” Watson said confidently. “So I just have to go play football and go from there.”
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