Todd McShay starting to come around on Deshaun Watson. Sort of.
|Tuesday, March 21, 2017, 12:01 PM- -|
NFL draft analyst Todd McShay is coming around on Deshaun Watson. Sort of.
McShay was on hand for Clemson’s Pro Day last week, and he watched the former Clemson quarterback throw in front of 81 scouts, coaches, general managers, and player personnel from the NFL including four head coaches, six Directors of Player Personnel, 22 assistant coaches, three general managers, and seven Directors of College Scouting.
McShay has never been high on Watson – even as late as a year ago he thought Watson was no better than a late round talent – but he reiterated last week that he thinks Watson and former UNC quarterback Mitch Trubisky are not worth a top pick.
“I think both of those guys, in my opinion, are truly late first or second round grades,” McShay said.
“It will not surprise me if one or both of them go in the top 10, but I think as we get closer, people are starting to realize there is more value at other positions if you are talking about the first five or six picks of this draft, specifically on the defensive side of the ball.”
However, McShay’s latest mock draft has Watson coming off the board with the 12th overall pick to the Cleveland Browns.
Why so high? Because he likes Watson’s character, leadership and his football IQ.
“Obviously when you talk about Deshaun Watson, his character is off the charts,” McShay said. “He is football brilliant. He picks things up. He has Great leadership, great work ethic, and he is extremely accurate.”
McShay went on to explain that he did a six-game study on Watson. The study showed that Watson completed 79 percent of his passes within 25 yards of the line of scrimmage. However, Watson struggled with throws down the field, hitting on just 29 percent of the passes beyond 25 yards.
“I think with his deep-ball accuracy, and he knows it, it needs to improve,” McShay said. “He is working on it with Jordan Palmer now. His deep ball accuracy needs to improve, but it can improve. I think there are small mechanical tweaks he needs to work on and it will take time for it to become natural, but that is one area he needs to improve.”
Watson showed improved accuracy on his deep ball during his Pro Day workout, and shook off a slow start to finish strong. He was a little high and behind his receivers to start the workout, but settled in and showed accuracy on medium and long routes as well as the shorter routes.
“I would classify him as good arm strength, not elite, but certainly is capable of making throws that you need to in the NFL,” McShay said. “He is not Matthew Stafford or some of those elite arm strength guys, but Tom Brady had average arm strength coming into the league and he has improved upon it a little bit and obviously can make any throw he wants to make and has done pretty well.”
He then added that he thinks Watson needs to show the NFL that he can read more than half the field.
“It was more half-field reads. There was a lot of zone-read option and the ball coming out quickly,” McShay said. “There was a lot of stuff on the move. I saw him leave a lot of open receivers … a lot of throws on the field. Part of that, too, is decision making. He is not used to having to go through progressions from one side of the field to the other and doing it very quickly, and I think sometimes he did not see linebackers dropping or guys squatting, safeties coming from the backside, those types of things. It was part of the reason why he had 30 interceptions the last two years.”