Deshaun Watson and his NFL draft stock may either jumped even higher, or may have taken a hit. Watson, who led the Tigers to their second national title in school history in upsetting defensing national champion Alabama in a 35-31 comeback win, was recently compared to NBA Hall of Famer in Michael Jordan by his head coach, in reference to prospective teams passing on him. I’m not sure if Sweeney was just still in the proverbial afterglow and throes of seeing Watson flash first-round talent against Nick Saban’s latest semi-pro team that has five potential first-round picks on defense, in shredding them—once again—for 400 plus yards and five total touchdowns, but to compare Watson to perhaps this generation’s greatest living basketball player ever may cause interested teams to be a bit more apprehensive and gunshy in drafting him. If Watson is Michael Jordan, then who is Sam Bowie? If the team that selects Watson are the proverbial Chicago Bulls, who are the Portland Trail Blazers? If any one team that may be the Blazers in such a scenario is none other than the woeful Cleveland Browns, who are in desperate need of a franchise QB. The issue is with Cleveland selecting first and at No.12 overall, do they risk passing on Watson at No.1 only to miss out on him again at No.12? Where the Browns are in a even bigger pickle is that due to having multiple needs in the secondary, offensive and defensive lines in addition to quarterback, Cleveland must decide if Watson is “that dude” for them, or go in the likely direction of selecting Texas A & M’s Myles Garrett, like many mock drafts are predicting that they will do. While Watson is a brilliant quarterback in college, his decision to not participate in the Resse’s Senior Bowl—where he would be playing for Browns second-year coach in Hue Jackson—has also raised a lot of concerns in that he indirectly stating that he is not interested in playing in Cleveland. Personally, I feel that Sweeney’s MJ comparison of Watson could potentially do more harm than good for him going forward at the NFL Scouting Combine, private workouts and during the interview process with prospective teams. If he doesn’t run as fast as Deion Sanders, show pin-point accuracy and sell himself better than Entourage superagent Ari Gold, then he will always fail to live up to external expectations from owners, players, scouts and fans. And just wait till OTA’s, training camps and pre-season games come around too. What’s sad—and in a completely unintentional way—is that Watson will now have the extra weight on his shoulder as a NFL rookie of being on the level of His Airness on the gridiron, when he is just about to find his own path.
Jan 9, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) reacts after the win over Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports