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Profiling the Prospects: Clemson QB Deshaun Watson a proven winner, leader


Over the next month, will break down some of the best players in this year's NFL Draft class and what they could bring to Cleveland's youth-laden roster.*

Name:QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson

Measurables: 6-foot-2, 221 pounds

What makes him a first-round pick?

In some ways, Watson was the face of college football for the better part of the past two seasons. He defined excellence at Clemson, lifting the Tigers to their first national title since 1981 and, in the process, cementing himself as a household name.

A two-time Heisman Trophy finalist, Watson went 33-3 over three years and passed for more than 10,000 yards and 90 touchdowns. He also accounted for almost 2,000 yards and 26 rushing touchdowns. And perhaps most of all, Watson consistently receives high marks for being a "tremendous leader and winner," writes’s Lance Zierlein. And Watson's coach, Dabo Swinney, compared him to Michael Jordan earlier this year.

Now, Watson is out to prove that production translates to the NFL. He'll also have to show teams he's learned from the 32 interceptions he threw at Clemson, including 17 last season.

"Teams will have to weigh the inconsistent field vision and decision-making against his size, athleticism, leadership and production," Zierlein writes. "While not perfect, teams can add checks to both arm and accuracy boxes for Watson. However, discussions about whether or not his areas of improvement can be corrected will likely determine whether a team will view him as a high-upside prospect or a franchise quarterback. Watson's transition from Clemson's offense to a pro-style attack will obviously take time, but his combination of intangibles and athletic ability make him worth a first-round selection."


Biggest college moment?**

Watson was brilliant in the 2017 national championship game. He completed 36 of 56 throws for 420 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions to beat then top-ranked Alabama. Watson, voted the game's Most Valuable Player, also ran for a touchdown. It was a storybook ending for a storybook career.

How did he do at the combine?

Watson showed off his athleticism in Indianapolis, clocking a 4.66 40-yard dash (third best among quarterbacks) and placed top five in the three-cone drill, vertical, and broad jumps.


Quote to know**

"I'm going to prepare myself ready for every moment, so if I have to play early or right away then I'm going to be prepared for that moment and come in and produce and help a team out and win, but if I have to sit then I just wait my turn, be patient and continue to grind and work at it."

Why he would make sense for the Browns?

Watson is a proven winner and leader who played his best when the lights shined brightest. While there are questions over how that production might translate to the NFL, the Browns would be getting a playmaker who's comfortable on the big stage.

Reasons why he won't be available at No. 12?

Watson's production at the college level and intangibles could make him a top-10 pick. If the Browns, owners of the first overall pick, go in a different direction, other quarterback-needy teams could pounce.

Clemson QB Deshaun Watson led the Tigers to the 2017 national championship.

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