The Santa Clara
February 16, 2017
Even without hearing Clemson University Head Coach Dabo Swinney liken his former QB to “Michael Jordan,” you can tell there is something different about Deshaun Watson from watching him play on the field. When analysts describe his leadership and ability, the word “special” is often used.
On April 27, when the Cleveland Browns are officially on the clock for the first pick in the 2017 NFL draft, they need to select Deshaun Watson.
Watson is fresh off of delivering Clemson a national title against arguably one of the best teams in college football history, the previously undefeated University of Alabama.
Yet, in many mock drafts he is not considered the first QB off the board—that honor belongs to Mitch Trubisky from the University of North Carolina. But Deshaun Watson is a winner, plain and simple. He only lost two games as a starter his entire college career, finishing with an 18-2 record.
In comparison, Trubisky lost five games in his lone season as a starter for the Tar Heels. There is something to be said about a player who puts his team in position to win every game, and rises to the occasion in the biggest games—as is the case with Watson.
Despite a slow start to last season, Watson finished the season with historic achievements. He annihilated an Ohio State team loaded with NFL talent and orchestrated a legendary, game winning drive in the national championship against Alabama. Yet, at this moment Watson remains on the fringe of the top 10 on most draft boards. What gives?
Watson certainly has all of the tools. He is a dual-threat play-maker who can extend every play and turn it into a touchdown. He can make all the throws and has unbelievable athleticism and elusiveness for a QB.
The last QB who was as prolific of a winner as Watson was Jameis Winston, and he was selected #1 overall in the NFL draft by Tampa Bay. Winston was the consensus number one pick coming out of Florida State, with main difference between him and Watson being size.
Winston may be an exception, because evaluators have made the mistake of overlooking proven winners in years past.
For example, reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys owned a 23-10 record as a starter at Mississippi State and brought the program more success than it had ever achieved. Yet, Prescott fell all the way to the fourth round and was passed up for the likes of Jared Goff, Paxton Lynch and Christian Hackenberg.
Mitch Trubisky has the potential to be successful a NFL quarterback and Myles Garrett is a dominant force on the defensive side of the ball, but if the Browns pass up on Watson they’ll miss out on a player who can be the source of salvation for their franchise.
The Browns need to try and jump-start their franchise with a history of losing by drafting a QB with a history of winning.
Ben Epstein is a senior finance major.