You can worry about Deshaun Watson’s interceptions and arm strength.
But he won’t.
After being selected No. 12 overall by the Houston Texans in the 2017 NFL Draft on Thursday night, Watson said he’s not concerned about some the mistakes he made on the field his final season at Clemson, or how he tested in shorts and a tee shirt at the scouting combine.
“Just watch the film,” Watson said. “The film doesn’t lie.
“If you really break down the mistakes, half of the mistakes were kinda petty. Tipped balls, miscommunications on the receiver and QB and some guys just made better plays.”
Watson threw 17 interceptions last season at Clemson, tied for the second-most in FBS. But he also threw more pass attempts (579) than all but three players in 2016 (Luke Falk, Davis Webb and Patrick Mahomes) and had none in their National Championship win over Nick Saban and Alabama. Instead, he led a fourth quarter comeback on a drive spanning nine plays, 68 yards and a two-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow with one second left.
While high, Watson’s interception total his final season in college stacks up favorably with former No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston, who in 2014 threw more INTs (18) on fewer pass attempts (467) while playing in the same conference, the ACC. Since being drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Winston has become one of the NFL’s best up and coming passers, alongside Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota.
Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network took a closer look at Watson’s INTs:
Watson also scoffed at concerns about his velocity, stemming from the way he tested at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis last month.
“The arm strength, that speaks for itself,” Watson said.
At 49 mph, Watson’s velocity tested as the worst of the QB class, behind Mahomes (60 mph), Webb (59), DeShone Kize (56), Mitchell Trubisky (55), Nate Peterman and Brad Kaaya (53).
But Bill O’Brien’s offense has historically featured concepts that should compensate for that. Namely, short, quick, rhythm passing that’s much more dependent on the quarterback making good decisions fast, and delivering with accuracy. In the end, it’s something the coaching staff and their franchise QB hopeful should be able to overcome.
Watson seems to have no doubt that they will.
“All that stuff is something that they can talk about, but the Texans know what type of player and quarterback I am.”
Matt hosts Saturdays from 1-4 pm on SportsRadio 610. You can, and totally should, follow him on Twitter @MattHammondShow.