When the first QB comes off the board on Friday night in the 2017 NFL Draft, the chosen one will either be Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, a proven superstar commodity who led the Tigers to the BCS National Championship and got robbed in the Heisman voting, or late-blooming Mitchell Trubisky from North Carolina.
Watson seems like the better QB. He’s beloved by his teammates, he plays for an elite program and he’s performed like a king in the biggest games of his career. His poise and leadership is unquestioned, but when it comes to the science of drafting, what you think is obvious becomes a puzzle.
Trubisky was a one-year starter at Chapel Hill and doesn’t outwardly possess any of the championship intangibles that Watson does. However, combine magic and the mind-warping winds of NFL March and April has Trubisky in the mix to being that No. 1 QB taken.
It’s a spot that Watson feels he’s earned without projections and posturing of possibilities. Trubisky is a hope. Watson is the real deal and has the accolades and film to show it. Neither has an advantage in size as Trubisky stands 6-2 and weighs 222 pounds and Watson is 6-3 and 221 pounds. Trubinsky is a more polished pocket passer right now, but that's just one aspect of being a dual-threat QB.
Nevertheless, reports say the Browns are torn between Trubisky and defensive end Myles Garrett of Texas A&M. Word is, Watson reminds them of an RG3 type, but with less athleticism. In other words, his durability over a grueling NFL season doesn't project well with his skinny frame.
“I continue to hear that Mitchell Trubisky is square in consideration, and may turn out to be the No. 1 pick,” Draft expert Adam Schefter said on ESPN’s SportsCenter. “Now I know everyone thinks Myles Garrett’s going to be the pick, and I will not be surprised if that’s the case (Thursday) night. But I have got very smart, very well-connected people telling me over the last 24 hours that they think Mitchell Trubisky going to be the No. 1 pick. We’ll see.”
Watson was on NFL Network Tuesday and he’s put Cleveland and any team contemplating taking Trubisky over him on gangster notice.
“You’re gonna have to live with the consequences that come with it. That’s how I see it,” Watson said. “I try to stay in my lane. I try not to take the path. I respect Mitch and what he’s done and all the hype he’s getting, but at the same time, my result speaks for itself. I feel like I’ve accomplished everything that I could. I guess if that’s who they’re gonna roll with, so be it.”
He also told Josina Anderson in an exclusive ESPN interview, that Trubisky being ranked ahead of him was "a slap in the face."
Watson’s Clemson coach Dabo Swinney got a first-hand look at how Watson transformed the program in just three years.
“If they pass on Deshaun Watson, they’re passing on Michael Jordan, I’m just telling you,” he told reporters in January, fresh off the Watson’s scintillating performance against Alabama.
That's a strong boost of confidence, but Swinney's opinion doesn’t override the tedious and confusing NFL Draft process full of overrated Wonderlic scores and useless drills that don’t measure the heart, character or in-game skill of a champion.
When you’ve accomplished everything you possibly can as a QB in college football, entering the NFL with a chip on your shoulder isn’t the worst thing in the world. In fact, it could be the best thing that ever happened to Deshaun Watson, because who really wants to go to Cleveland anyway?