It’s now been five days since the opening round of the 2017 NFL Draft and I can’t stop asking myself one question — how in the hell did so many teams pass on Deshaun Watson?
The Clemson star was still taken high, in the first round, pick 12 to the Texans. And while Houston traded down to grab him, they will be celebrating the move for the next decade.
The surprise to me isn’t only that Watson wasn’t the first player off the board, but not even the first quarterback. In fact, there were two QBs taken ahead of him. In both cases, teams traded down to draft them. And it’s embarrassing.
The Bears gave up the farm to move up one pick, from No. 3 to No. 2, to grab UNC quarterback Mitch Trubisky, a quarterback who is coming off a great junior season but is entering the NFL with only 13 college starts to his resume. The last quarterback to be drafted in the first round with such few college starts was Mark Sanchez in 2009, who came out of USC with only 16 career starts. And we all know how we’ll that NFL career has turned out. So it’s worth noting the Bears are getting lit on fire for the decision. Here’s how Bears fans reacted.
Then, eight picks later, the Chiefs traded up to select Pat Mahomes II at pick No. 10. He’s another solid quarterback whom Chiefs head coach Andy Reid believes has a Ben Roethlisberger body with a gun-slinging disposition of Brett Favre.
Let me tell you why Watson would have been the better choice under both circumstances.
He’s taller and bigger than Russell Wilson and threw for 1,400 more yards than Wilson when comparing their senior years.
Watson has a better completion percentage and more yards (both rushing and passing) than Dak Prescott did in the SEC in 2015.
Watson threw for more yards than Jameis Winston when he was at FSU in 2013 (500 more).
And yes, Watson even had a better completion percentage than Cam Newton when he won the national championship with Auburn.
Of course you can bend numbers any which way you want to support your argument. But what about all the coaches who have backed him up?
Jon Gruden was amazed by his poise, stating that “he never gets rattled” and that he wants him on his team.
Oh ya, then there’s this:
He defeated an undefeated Alabama team in the final seconds of this year’s National Championship Game — a team that was, at the time, hailed as possibly the greatest defense in the history of college football. Seriously, this is the third-best quarterback off the board?
Trubisky and Mahomes both have solid potential. But you’re not trading up in the first round of the draft to draft potential. You draft Deshaun Watson. And he’s going to thrive in a place like Houston.
Josh Helmuth is the editor of Crave Sports.