Bud Shaw asks the right questions in his latest column about DeShaun Watson. It all centers around Watson as a legitimate NFL quarterback prospect after his amazing performance in the National Championship game.
Of course Watson will be one of the top quarterbacks taken in the NFL Draft, and of course he brings many skills that should translate to the NFL game. But the Browns have the top pick in the draft and can select a defensive stud in Myles Garrett, who many consider to be the best player in the draft. So for the Browns we have to consider where Watson or another quarterback might be taken given that they’re sitting on picks 1, 12 and 33 in the draft.
Shaw brings up some legitimate concerns regarding Watson if you’re considering him at #1. As you move down the first round and into pick 33, the positives certainly start to outweigh any of these concerns.
The Browns may get the opportunity to coach Watson at the Senior Bowl, which is a huge positive. Shaw seems concerned this may lead Hue Jackson to fall in love with Watson in the same manner he became intrigued by RG3. But it’s worth noting that RG3 was a calculated risk for the Browns with little downside, so in one sense it’s not fair to compare these situations. Jackson has to realize the opportunity cost of taking Watson high if he happens to love him as a prospect.
The bigger issue raised by Shaw is the assumed reliance by the Browns on Jackson’s opinions. Of course he knows quarterbacks, but so did Mike Holmgren. Perhaps the best quarterback coaches aren’t always the best evaluators of quarterback talent, since they sometimes overestimate their own abilities to work out the flaws in a prospect.
Shaw argues persuasively that the entire organization needs to get behind a selection of Watson or any other quarterback that they would select at #1. So without that consensus they should probably stick to the best player there, and then look for a QB at 12 or 33.