Deshaun Watson Pre-Draft Scouting Report



NFL: Houston Texans at Cincinnati Bengals



© QB Film Room 2017

#4 Deshaun Watson, 6’2” 215 Clemson  


Based on overall production in college and how he relished the big stage it is pretty obvious that Deshaun Watson deserves an opportunity to show that he can be a starting quarterback at the next level. Watson passed for just under 9,000 yards in 2015 and 2016 while amassing 1,300 yards on the ground during the last two seasons. While statistics alone can be misleading, Watson showed just enough pro level traits through the air that will garner him an opportunity to be selected at some point in the first two rounds of the 2017 draft. That being said, there are definite holes in his game as a thrower. Despite his production and poise on the big stage, he is not viewed in the same light as prospects such as Carson Wentz, Matthew Stafford or Andrew Luck in terms of being a high end can’t miss prospect coming out of college. Some of this has to do with the system Watson was indoctrinated into at Clemson as well as his natural propensity to escape the pocket and fall back on his natural running instincts when faced with pressure. We view Watson as a more talented version of Alex Smith coming out of college.

Watson was a three year starter at Clemson passing for 90 touchdowns and rushing for 26 touchdowns during his time there.


Analysis/Scouting Notes on Watson

Steps up big during most critical moments which speaks to his ability to remain poised under duress. Watson may very well be the best or one of the best deep ball throwers in this draft class (both fade and back shoulder fade throws) as Watson perfected throwing this type of route utilizing anticipation, quick feet and touch from the shotgun formation. Watson continually made his money with critical moment back shoulder throws throughout his career as well.

Watson however is more of an aim thrower as opposed to being a “let it loose” type of thrower. Not as consistently natural of an intuitive passer as a Trubisky or Kelly.

Not extremely intuitive or flexible with release.

At times throws as if he is not fully aware of defenders around him, which can be both good and bad.Will drop his arm slot to ¾ delivery which impacts ball trajectory and leads to batted balls at LOS.  More of an athlete playing the QB position it seems at times. Needs to improve the fluidity of his drops. Very athletic and quick twitched yet his film indicates a guy who although quick in setting up does not look smooth and fluid dropping back from shotgun or under center. Had a static and almost heavy sense at times to his drop backs.

A tremendous leader on and off the field. Rare ability to put a team on his shoulders and lead them to victory. Has an overall knack for making plays out of the designed structure of a play. Extremely athletic.

An upper body thrower that almost seems robotic at times but still fluid for the most part.

Tremendous back shoulder fade thrower of the football


Film Notes –  Wake Forest  (2015) Florida State (2016) North Carolina (2014) Alabama (2016) South Carolina (2016)

Consistently beat the Wake Forest defense with the ball to all levels of the defense throwing with velocity, placement and touch on out breaking and deep routes from the pocket. Watson showed the ability to deliver with a consistently quick release. Flashed elite sense of timing and anticipation during this contest, something that he showed in spades during his up and down 2016 season.

Shows improvisational skills to maneuver and evade pressure at a high level.  Possesses ELITE pocket escapability instincts and plays with good poise. Shows the ability to get north/south fast when running the football. Does not possess a great feel for throwing shallow crossing routes. Does not protect himself as well as he probably should, which at the next level could mean missed time due to injury.  Down the field accuracy can be scattershot at time. Shows the ability to throw with excellent touch making some pinpoint bucket throws down the middle versus Tampa 2 and throwing the corner route with perfect timing and placement.

When he knows what he is getting pre-snap he can beat you with touch and down the field velocity on time, much like he did in 2014 versus North Carolina.


Pro Day Update 3/17/2017

Watson showed some noticeable improvements during his pro day. He has been working with Jordan Palmer on his game and it shows. Watson’s feet looked in-sync and quick while performing multiple under center style drop backs during his pro day and his throwing motion looked sharper with the ball came out crisp and cleaner than what his 2016 film showed. In our opinion he won his Pro Day. The work is done for him and he will be playing a waiting game until draft day.
Projection-  Deshaun Watson is among the top five quarterback prospects in this class. His combination of athleticism, poise and just enough arm talent will garner him an opportunity to prove he can be a franchise quarterback in the league. The jump to the pro game will be an adjustment for Deshaun coming from a pure spread system at Clemson and sitting in year one may be his best bet in order to give him the best chance at achieving long term sustainability as a starting quarterback at the next level.  Look for Watson to be selected anywhere from late Round 1 to Round 3 at the latest.


Trait Grades (Watson)


Arm Talent (B)                                 Toughness (A-)                              Anticipation (A-)


Arm Strength (B-)                            Pocket Presence (B-)                    Football IQ (A-)


Ball Placement/Accuracy (B-)          Intangibles/Off-Field  (A)               Touch  (B)


Delivery/Mechanics (B+)                  Running Ability/Athleticism (A)     Throw on Run (B)




Deshaun Watson – Recognition and Instincts

Watson showed us some things during his first pro action against Carolina. We go frame by frame on his touchdown run. (All Video Content courtesy of NFL Game Pass)

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Carolina is playing a two high safety look in the red area. Watson recognizes the inherent weakness in this alignment pre snap.
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Early stages of post snap – Watson is feeling out the route concept while “feeling” middle linebacker Luke Kuechly. Watson knows Kuechly has pass game responsibility.
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Watson feels the void created by the rush and from this point on it is all instincts coming into play.  By now we can clearly see Kuechly turn his back and run with the seam route.
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Watson takes off and his (X) receiver has an under route against man coverage further creating a running lane for him.
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Watson shows off his quickness and ability to accelerate quickly as he takes off in the alley.
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The definition of dual-threat on this play as Watson heads toward pay dirt.
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Too little too late.

For an In-Depth Report and Analysis on Deshaun Watson and every other rostered quarterback throughout the league be sure to purchase our 2017 Pro QB Almanac

First Reaction, QB’s Round 1.

Author – Bryan Trulen

Image result for patrick mahomes chiefs

(Photo Credit – Houston Chronicle)

Thoughts on Trubisky going to Chicago Like most, I did not see the Bears selection of Mitchell Trubisky at #2 overall coming in advance, we had him pegged as our first QB off the board but I truly believe that Bears GM Ryan Pace sees Trubisky as a true developmental quarterback with a high ceiling. Mike Glennon was signed for a reason and he will remain the starter in 2017 but this pick shows us that Chicago feels really strongly about Trubisky, much like how Philly felt about Carson Wentz last year. I do not foresee Trubisky leap frogging Mike Glennon in 2017. The domino effect on the Bears QB room will be felt somewhere as the Bears will be bringing Trubisky, Glennon, Mark Sanchez and 4th year pro Connor Shaw to training camp in July.  Sanchez or Shaw will end up being cut at the end of training camp.

Patrick Mahomes goes to an ideal situation in KC Andy Reid gets a quarterback he is extremely high on. Reid is a known quarterback guru and puts them in positions to succeed in terms of scheme design, play calling and with how handles them from a communication perspective. Mahomes may be the biggest winner from Round 1. It is going to become very apparent once Mahomes gets to campus how big of a difference exists between him and Alex Smith in terms of arm talent. Mahomes should sit during 2017 but he is in a prime position to take over for Smith sooner rather than later.

Houston selects Deshaun Watson Texans HC Bill O’Brien and Rick Smith were on the same page with the selection of Watson at pick 12. Like Mahomes, Watson will be viewed as a #2 during his rookie year and will be on the developmental track. From a player perspective Watson gives the Texans and O’Brien something they have never had, an athletic quarterback who excels in a timing based passing system and as both O’Brien and Rick Smith stated during their press conference is a “Winner” . Watson displays elite level poise and is a big time performer in clutch situations. Watson has the internal structure in Houston to give him a chance to be highly successful.

Annual Quarterback Mock Draft (2017)

For In-Depth Tape Based Analysis on the Entire 2017 QB Class Check out our 

2017 College Prospect QB Guide

2017 Quarterback Mock Draft

Author – Bryan Trulen

Here it is! Our annual Quarterback Mock Draft. Enjoy

Round 1

1(1) Mitchell Trubisky (Cleveland) There was never any question Mitchell was not coming home to Ohio. With so many QB needy teams directly behind Cleveland, the Browns have no choice but to pull the trigger on their guy at #1.

1(2) Patrick Mahomes (Arizona) Rare In Division Trade with SF (SF Drops back to 12 and accumulates picks) Arians and Company driving this one as they view Mahomes as their guy for years to come.

1(25) Deshaun Watson (Houston) Bill O’Brien brings in something he has never had, a dual threat athletic quarterback who can still throw well. Don’t rule out Houston adding yet another QB later on.

1(27) Chad Kelly (Kansas City) Andy Reid takes a huge gamble on what he hopes to be Alex Smith’s eventual replacement.  

1(30) Deshone Kizer (Chicago)  Chicago Trades with Pitt to draft Kizer.

Round 2

2(39) Joshua Dobbs (NY Jets) Dobbs immediately competes for starting Job in a crowded QB room in New York. Dobbs athleticism makes him the favorite to win the job in 2017.

2(49) Nathan Peterman (Wash) If Kirk Cousins is dealt this would vault Peterman in an outright competition with McCoy and Sudfeld. If Cousins stays in WA this pick may not take place.

Round 3

3 (66) Philip Nelson (49ers) Kyle Shannahan reaches for a pure passing QB early as Nelson will come in and learn behind Brian Hoyer in 2017.

3 (69) C.J Beathard (LA Rams) New coach Sean McVay brings in a similar in a sense QB to Kirk Cousins who will compete from the outset with Jared Goff (Still will be Goff’s job to lose)

3 (103) Dane Evans (New Orleans) Saints take their QB of the future in round 3 as opposed to waiting until their next selection in round 6. Considered a reach but a calculated one by Sean Payton.

3 (105) Davis Webb (Steelers) Mike Tomlin brings in Davis Webb to compete with Landry Jones in 2017 and to eventually replace Ben.

Round 5

5 (148) Alek Torgersen (Jaguars) Coughlin and Company bring an a guy to Push Bortles and compete for the #2 job.

5 (151) Brad Kaaya (LA Chargers) The Chargers get a Developmental generally accurate QB to learn under Phil Rivers and hopefully take over in 2019.

5 (167) Garrett Fugate (D2) (New York Giants) Ben McAdoo gets a Trevor Siemian like QB to take over after Peyton’s younger brother retires or is released.

5 (169) Jack Nelson (D2) (Houston Texans) Houston gets another QB in the RG3/Kirk Cousins Model of 2012. And if we are being honest, Nelson has better Arm Talent than Deshaun Watson and will be competing with Watson in Houston..

Round 6

6 (186) Jerod Evans (Baltimore Ravens) Evans competes for backup job from Day 1

6 (195) Cooper Rush (Buffalo)

6 (210) Trevor Knight (Seattle Seahawks) Competes for backup job with Trevone Boykin from Day 1.

6 (211) Mitch Leidner (Dallas Cowboys) Cowboys OC Scott Linehan has faith that he can fix Leidner.

Round 7

7 (232) Patrick Towles, Boston College (Minnesota Vikings

7 (233) Gunner Kiel, Cincinnati (Carolina Panthers)