Deshaun Watson led Clemson to its first national championship since 1981 this past college football season, taking down the seemingly invincible Alabama Crimson Tide. We already knew Watson was a special talent, but he also silenced any doubters in his triumphant comeback against the Tide in Tampa.
Now, he’s one of the top quarterback prospects heading into the 2017 NFL Draft. He’s already drawing comparisons to Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, who led the Cowboys to the best record in the NFC in his first season.
North Carolina defensive coordinator Gene Chizik told FOX Sports’ Stewart Mandel, “Dak Prescott is kind of what I see Deshaun being, a guy that comes in, he’s a football guy, he picks it up well and becomes successful early in his career.” An NFL scout told NFL.com’s Chase Goodbread that the confidence between Prescott and Watson were similar as well.
Watson doesn’t see how Dak’s success affects him. He deflected it when asked about it at the Forth Worth Club while being recognized as a Davey O’Brien Award recipient.
“I wouldn’t go off what Dak did,” Watson said via the Star-Telegram. “I’m not Dak Prescott. I’m not with the Cowboys. I’m Deshaun Watson, coming from Clemson.”
Former quarterback Jim McMahon feels that Watson has all the tools he needs to succeed, just as Prescott did on his way to being named the Offensive Rookie of the Year. “Just watching him play, I thought, ‘The kid’s got skills. He’s got smarts.’ I think he’s got a real bright future,” McMahon said.
Unlike Prescott, Watson will likely be a first-rounder, with a lot of talk putting him in the top five. "I'm hearing that. First round, anywhere in that range, top 10, top five, just depends on what the teams say,” Watson said Monday via NBC 5.
At the NFL Combine, Watson plans to showcase his entire repertoire as a full participant, which is sometimes passed upon by highly touted quarterback prospects. "That's the plan," Watson said."Run, throw, meetings, everything."
In Dan Kadar’s latest mock draft for SB Nation, he has Watson going No. 3 to the Chicago Bears, with the Browns taking Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett at No. 1, and the 49ers taking North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky No. 2 overall. As far as mock drafts go, Watson has been projected to go to seven different teams which include the Browns, 49ers, Bears, Jets, Bills, Texans, and Chiefs.
When he was asked about his 6’3, 215 frame — which is always a widely discussed aspect when it comes to pro quarterback prospects — Watson didn’t sound too concerned with it.
"It's something I can't control. I just make sure I can control what I can control. Stay positive," he said. "The height is the height. This is how God made me. My hands are this size. I can't really control that.”
There’s no question Watson will hope for the same as his name is called by Roger Goodell on April 27.