After months of speculation and debate about his future, former Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson is officially heading to the NFL after the Houston Texans selected the national champion with the No. 12 pick in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Despite talk about how good other quarterbacks can be, Watson is the most accomplished passer in the draft. A starter for two-plus seasons, he led Clemson to two national title games and won the national title in his final year at Clemson.
As a starter, Watson lost three games in his entire career while throwing for over 10,000 yards with a completion percentage slightly above 67%. He’s shown an ability to diagnose defenses and Clemson’s coaching staff gave him the ability to audible out of the playcall based on what he sees.
But for all those positive traits there are some valid concerns. Watson is slightly smaller than the normal NFL quarterback and he’ll have to be smart about how he runs the ball. Watson’s velocity is also a question, he had the lowest of any quarterback at the NFL Combine, and NFL scouts have real concerns about his ability to diagnose plays correctly because of the number of interceptions he threw in college.
Watson is definitely not a finished product. He’s going to have to do some learning at the NFL level to become a star. But he has the winning mentality and with the right coaching and right supporting cast he will have a great opportunity to succeed in the NFL.
The quarterback was the second Clemson player taken in the first round, following wide receiver Mike Williams at No. 7 by the Chargers.