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Mel Kiper on Deshaun Watson: “Scouts aren’t going to overreact to one game”

Jan 10, 2017 at 2:42 PM


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The quarterback for the National Champion Clemson Tigers, Deshaun Watson, will be talked about and analyzed a lot leading into April's draft. Watson ended his collegiate career in dream fashion, winning a title in the final seconds of the game with a game-winning touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow. He finished the game completing 36 of his 56 passes and throwing three touchdowns. Watson did not throw an interception against the defending champion Alabama Crimson Tide.

Prior to the impressive display, ESPN analysts like Mel Kiper and Todd McShay viewed Watson as the third best quarterback in the upcoming draft class – behind Mitch Trubisky of North Carolina and DeShone Kizer of Notre Dame.

Following the victory, Watson announced that he was headed to the NFL. "It's my time to go," he told reporters after the game. The San Francisco 49ers own the second overall selection in the upcoming draft and quarterback is a glaring need – among many – on the team. If the 49ers are unable to acquire a quarterback via a trade, they may use that selection on a quarterback like Watson or Trubisky, depending on how each impress (or don't) leading up to the draft. But would the number two pick be too high for Watson or any quarterback for that matter? Of course, we don't even know who will be making those decisions because the team is currently without a head coach and general manager.

In two games against the Crimson Tide, both national title matchups, Watson has amassed 941 yards of total offense, thrown seven touchdowns, and just one interception against an Alabama defense that was in the discussion as one of the best ever.

Did Watson's performance on Monday night do enough to raise his draft stock? Mel Kiper still points to Watson's up-and-down season, saying that his 30 interceptions over the past two seasons are worrisome.

"He has shown that he can make every throw that an NFL quarterback needs to make, but his lapses in decision-making hurt Clemson in the middle of the season," wrote Kiper. "He didn't play like a first-round pick. He was much, much better down the stretch of the season, including on Monday night, but scouts aren't going to overreact to one game, good or bad."

Kiper also notes that Watson displayed toughness on Monday night as Alabama went after him and he kept getting back up following hits. Right now, Kiper sees Watson as a Day 2 selection but acknowledges that, with things like the combine and pro days still ahead, that projection could change. It will be important to see how Watson compares to other quarterbacks in his class. Could the 49ers trade down and still select a quarterback like Watson? We'll find out on Thursday, April 27 when the NFL Draft kicks off.
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