With the 2017 NFL Draft nine days away, NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock believes Deshaun Watson is still the best quarterback in the draft and has him rated as such on his big board.
“I have said all along that Deshaun Watson is the kid that I really want to like,” Mayock said on the NFL Network’s Good Morning Football. “The reason I want to like him is because when the lights are the brightest, when it is most important, he plays his best football. All you have to do is look at the two Alabama national championship games.”
In those two games, Watson combined for 941 total yards and eight touchdowns, while turning the football over just one time. In the 2016 National Championship Game, he set a national championship game record for total yards by a quarterback with 478 and four touchdown passes.
A year later, in the 2017 National Championship Game, Watson lit the Alabama defense up for a national championship record 420 passing yards, while completing 36 of 56 passes and three touchdowns with no turnovers. He also had a rushing touchdown in the Tigers’ 35-31 victory.
The most impressive part was the confidence Watson displayed in leading the Tigers on a game-winning, 68-yard touchdown drive in the final two minutes, which he finished off with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow with one second left in the game.
Mayock said he recognized Watson’s leadership skills when he came to Clemson last month for Clemson’s Pro Day.
“I have been to all the pro days the last six weeks. I have been around all 32 NFL teams for six consecutive weeks,” he said. “I am not saying that pro days mean a lot for quarterbacks, but I really like meeting the kid. I like watching the ball come out of his hand.
“He has this real natural demeanor and confidence. It is not loud. It is not obnoxious, but his teammates pay attention to him. He is highly respected. I think the only major hurdle for him in the NFL is having to go from a spread college quarterback to an NFL pocket quarterback.”
The 2017 NFL Draft begins on April 27 in Philadelphia, Pa. Watson will be in Philadelphia to attend the draft show, which will air live on the NFL Network and ESPN.