After the best performance of his career in the biggest game of his college campaign, how much did Deshaun Watson jump in NFL Draft Boards?
DeShone Kizer and Mitch Trubisky were the first two quarterbacks taken off the board in Slap the Sign’s 2017 NFL Mock Draft 1.0. But after one of the best National Championship performances of all-time, Deshaun Watson may have become the lead passer headed for the pros.
Watson’s 420 passing yards, 43 rushing yards, and four total touchdowns was just enough for Clemson to dethrone the Alabama Crimson Tide. With a 5-0 record in National Championship games, Watson became the first quarterback to take down the legendary Nick Saban in the biggest game of them all.
Now, Watson heads to the NFL draft, where he’s projected to be an early first-round pick. While many believed he’d be the third quarterback taken in the 2017 NFL draft, his National Championship performance may boost him into the first or second play-caller position.
How does that effect, DeShone Kizer? Kizer was the first quarterback taken in the Mock Draft 1.0 by the San Francisco 49ers. But he wasn’t the clear favorite to go first amongst quarterbacks.
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Mitch Trubisky is the most NFL-ready QB on the market, but he seems to be liked by the Chicago Bears. With the flashiness and strong arm of Kizer, the 49ers may be willing to take a shot on a developing player with such high potential.
But Watson isn’t too far behind Kizer with the flashiness. He’s proven during his time at Clemson that he can run or pass, and as we all watched against Alabama, he’s just fine in big moments.
After a game no one was expecting, during a season where his ability was questioned time and time again, Watson became the biggest name in college football. When it comes time for teams to draft, they’re all going to remember that.
What Kizer did this season was impressive. His 2,925 passing yards, 26 touchdowns, and nine interceptions are nothing to take away from him. It isn’t Kizer’s fault his draft stock is now questioned, or he may fall outside the top 10 to mid first-round. Maybe it’s the lack of wins at Notre Dame, but nothing he could’ve prevented personally.
Where he sits now is probably right outside the top 10. With teams like the Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals looking for quarterbacks this draft, Kizer shouldn’t fall too far.
Watson may not have had the best season. But when it all counted, he had the performance of a lifetime, and it will go a lot farther than any regular season statistic will take a player. Unfortunately, for Kizer, he’ll be the first quarterback to swap places with Watson in the draft.
Don’t expect a far drop from Kizer, maybe the 11th or 12th pick. After a performance like Watson had, though, there’s no denying he’s one of the hottest names in the 2017 NFL draft.