(As it stands now, the Browns have the first and 12th overall picks in the upcoming NFL Draft as well as the top pick (33rd) in the second-round. We've taken a consensus of the majority of mock drafts and will profile the players that have been most associated with the Browns in the upcoming draft.)
DeShaun Watson (6-2, 222) Quarterback
Watson had a private work out with the Browns on Thursday. Pro Football Focus ranks Watson as the second-best quarterback in this year's draft class and the 13th overall best player. Watson passed for 10,140 yards in his three-year career at Clemson with 90 touchdowns and 32 interceptions. In 2016, Watson threw 41 touchdowns with 17 interceptions in leading Clemson to the national championship over Alabama.
What experts are saying about Watson's strengths: Pro Football Focus summarizes what Watson does best this way: "Smooth, efficient delivery...Throws a very catchable ball...Displays a complete inventory of passes with zip, firm with touch... Changes the pace of the ball well when needed...Extremely athletic with the ability to escape when things break down...Good initial burst...True timing/rhythm passer, heavily reliant on pre-snap reads...Throws cover-3 and cover-2 seams very well...Best “glance” route thrower in the class...Anticipates well on timing routes outside the numbers...Flashes good go-ball touch... Good feel for back-shoulder throws to big-bodied receivers...Delivers in big moments... Confident player."
What experts are saying are Watson's weaknesses: PFF list the following as their biggest Concerns: "Limited instincts/feel in the pocket...Does not react smoothly when initial read is not there...Lacks consistent pocket poise, drops eyes down for a running lane instead of creating within the pocket...Played in an offense where the field was cut in half with simple reads...Field looks small to him; limited vision to get through progressions...Relatively slow post-snap processing speed...More interested in taking a yes/no go-ball on the outside than reading out the concept of the play...Overall, not as accurate as he should be considering his style of play... Inaccurate on many easy throws in the short passing game...Played with elite playmakers around him, will have to learn how to function without big-play receivers on the outside."
What reasons Watson gives for him being a successful NFL quarterback: "I'd just say my past history. Starting back in high school, the way I was raised, coming from the projects home and being able to get out of that. Being the face of college football for two years, handling the success, handling all the criticism and the adversity. And then being 48-8 in high school and winning a state championship and then going to the collegiate level and being 33-3, so one thing that translates from college to the NFL is winners and I think, being a quarterback, that's the biggest thing being recognized, winning games. That's all I've been doing."
How Watson fits with the Browns and why he thinks he can be a part of the turnaround for the Browns: “Just come in and just create our environment, a winning environment and get everyone on the same page. You just gotta be patient with it and take time. Winning at the NFL level is not easy. It’s tough. Each and every week is a tough week. You gotta be able to be on the same page with guys and pull it out so just being able to have that experience of winning, maybe it can spread throughout a team and franchise and spread throughout the players and maybe turn a franchise around.”
PFF gives their bottom Line on Watson: "Watson is as tough of a prospect to evaluate as there is coming out of college. While he shows flashes with his arm, he is wildly inconsistent and lacks the key traits (pocket instincts/poise and field vision). He will need to play in an offense specifically built around him with a quarterback run game and pass- game scheme creativity. There will be games when the coverage structures will be simple and the route concepts will match up with the route combinations, and he will have success. Then there will be games where the defensive movement will give him problems or the pass rush will force him to move within the pocket and get through progressions, and he will struggle mightily. Watson is not a pure progression passer, with his limited pocket feel and vision, and whenever that’s the case, there will be a huge risk involved when hoping to land a franchise quarterback. The former Clemson quarterback’s work ethic and intangibles will make him an attractive option, but there will be some risk involved.
Next Up: We'll take a look at LSU safety Jamal Adams