QuarterBack ~ DeShaun Watson ~ Clemson Tigers ~ 6024/222
But I believe not only that Pocket Passing remains the Heart & Soul of successful QuarterBacking, but that the capacity of Speed QuarterBacks to master Pocket Passing can be and often is crippled by the Siren Song of Scrambling: A QuarterBack who has always had that "out" is far less likely to develop the skills that really matter.
Power QuarterBacks ~ The Men with the Golden Arms ~ are equally susceptible to falling Prey to the seductive allure of their own physical Talent: The more powerful their Cannons, the more likely I believe it is that they persistently depend upon that crutch as a Get Out Of Jail Card, and thus fail to develop a more comprehensive Skill Set.
And thus I perceive a Great Irony, one that continues, astonishingly, to elude most: The more explosive a Scrambler that a QuarterBack is, or the more powerful an Arm he boasts, the less likely that he is to achieve Greatness.
Conversely, it's the boring guys who consistently Move The Chains that give you the best Chance to win.
After New Year's Day, when The Only Games That Really Matter are played, History has been relentlessly savage to Power QuarterBacks and Speed QuarterBacks who failed to develop their Games: Once the weaker Teams have been eliminated, the PlayOff Defenses have invariably proven far too much for the Unprepared.
And if you're not prepared to compete after New Year's Day, why play at all??
In consideration of these thoughts, which, like many of my thoughts, fly in the face of what is amusingly considered to be Conventional Wisdom, this is how I break down the Criteria that I focus on, when evaluating QuarterBacks:
1 ~ Processing Speed
2 ~ Precision
3 ~ Pocket Presence
4 ~ FirePower
Processing Speed or Diagnostic Velocity is about how quickly and effectively one Reads & Reacts to the Rapidly Roiling Tactical LandScape. It's crucial at all 22 Positions, but utterly vital for a QuarterBack to succeed...or to even survive. Reading Coverages, working through Progressions, and selecting the best Receiving or Running Option.
Precision speaks above all to Mechanics: A QuarterBack's consistency with his Stance, his Set Up, and his Delivery. I refer to consistent Accuracy in the Short & Intermediate Zones, where the best Offenses all make their Bread & Butter. In breaking it down, I'm looking at Timing, Touch, and Trajectory: Leading Receivers to DayLight.
Pocket Presence & Poise Under Pressure is about Poise, or how one's Processing Speed and Precision stand up Under Pressure, and about one's Temporal & Spatial Instincts in navigating an often chaotic Pocket.
FirePower is a Category that I value, though not as much as others. I refer to Velocity and to DownField Precision, which I don't consider as crucial to Success as Short & Intermediate Precision. DownField Precision makes for tremendous HighLight Footage, but it's Short & Intermediate Precision that Moves The Chains and wins Championships.
Please note, if you will: I don't list 40 Speed among crucial Attributes at all.
Broken down into SubCategories, it'd go something like this:
* Please Note: This is entirely about how rapidly the QuarterBack scans the Field and makes successful Decisions.
* Many College Offenses feature simple Offenses that make this challenging to evaluate.
* It is, nevertheless, far and away the most crucial Aspect of QuarterBacking.
* Accuracy ~ Placement that maximizes the Receiver's Advantage and minimizes that of the Defender.
* Timing ~ Being temporally In Sync with the Receiver. The Ball arriving precisely when the Receiver does.
* Touch ~ The right Speed for the right Play. Only throwing FastBalls when FastBalls are warranted.
* Trajectory ~ Being spatially In Sync with the Receiver ~ enabling him to catch the Ball In Stride.
* Processing Speed Under Pressure.
* Precision Under Pressure.
* Spatial & Temporal Instincts.
* Velocity, irregardless of where he's throwing it: How fast is'is FastBall?
* DownField Precision ~ can he through the Bomb accurately?
I can't say that he's very impressive when he does. He is raw and inconsistent, from what I can discern. This is of course understandable, because of his lack of Time & Training in that Aspect of QuarterBacking, and because of Offense that Clemson runs. Yet it seems to me that he all too often Tucks & Runs when he ought to've kept scanning.
Ultimately, I'll need to dig deeper and extrapolate his Development in this critical Aspect of this Game, and assess whether he's exhibiting the capacity and the probability of developing his Processing Speed to a successful level.
I will say that his well-documented tendency both to rise to the occasion in Big Games, in Big Moments, and against Great Opponents, speaks extremely highly towards his intrinsic ability to react rapidly and perform effectively Under Pressure...And his Reputation for possessing a tremendous Passion for the Game and an extraordinary Work Ethic strongly suggests that he'll put in all the Time & Training needed to develop that Processing Speed.
* April Update: Mediocre. I've probably invested more Time in analyzing Watson's Game than in any Prospect in this Class, and at last I believe that I've got a bead on'm, and how he projects to the next level. Watson's Instincts are sensational, which is certainly a function of Processing Speed: His intrinsic sense of Timing is extraordinary.
But his Spatial Instincts ~ his Field Vision ~ is marginal. As a Passer and even as a Runner, I do not believe that he Reads the Tactical Landscape effectively, and that this is evidenced by consistently inconsistent Speed & Precision, as he anticipates Coverages sporadically and is therefore susceptible to Interceptions and Lost Opportunities.
Precision: Mediocre. He's got a solid Percentage of Completions pretty consistently, but that, in my estimation, is bloated, as College Completion Percentage often is, by a number of Quick Passes and Short Passes. Where it counts most in Moving The Chains and Winning ~ Timing, Touch, and Trajectory ~ Watson is shaky and inconsistent.
I understand that he's improved considerably since High School, though, so there's Cause For Hope.
* April Update: Exceptional. This aspect of my Evaluation will certainly diverge from virtually everyone's, as I believe that I'm the only one who distinguishes between Moving The Chains Precision and DownField Precision, which is how I grade FirePower. In the Short & Intermediate Range, I see occasional lapses from Watson, and his Timing & Trajectory sometimes get shaky ~ because of his marginal Field Vision ~ but overall, his Precision is very impressive.
Pocket Presence & Poise Under Pressure: Mediocre. Watson is sometimes brilliant Under Pressure but all too often Tucks & Runs. He made great strides Down The Stretch last Year, but I say that he's regressed, this Year.
* April Update: Competitive. His Poise is impressive, but he's still far too give to Tucking & Running, as evidenced by the fact that his Running Statistics explode in Big Games when he's challenged by stronger Defenses. He was flat out SuperMan for the Tigers when doing so, but that's not gonna translate very well at the next level.
FirePower: Impressive. And if his Mechanics improve, he could rocket up to Exceptional. From my perspective, that's just about perfect, because the gutters are littered with the Corpses of QuarterBacks with awesome Arms who had it to easy too early and too often...to the detriment of the rest of their Game. Not that Work Ethic is any Issue with Watson.
* April Update: Mediocre. Yes, upon more careful Study, I've virtually swapped my Grades between Precision and FirePower as I've dug deeper into the distinguishing details: Watson does appear to possess the fundamental Arm Strength to become an effective Bomber, but as of the current moment, he is far too inconsistent.
But Marcus Mariota ~ to whom I've read Watson compared, and appropriately so ~ was a Scrambler as well, and one who faced very similar developmental Challenges. And of course I had nothing but Praise for Mariota, who I described as a far better Bet than Jameis Winston, the Year that Winston went 1st in the Nation, right ahead of Mariota.
And he's off, this Year. He's regressed, his remarkable Heroics in Crunch Time not withstanding.
Yet while this Report is riddled with Cautionary Commentary, I should stress that I find scouting QuarterBacks to be extremely speculative in nature. The Idea of course is to assess not what they are today but where you believe their Future lies, and so much of that Future depends on intrinsic Processing Speed and on Work Ethic, as opposed to current effective Processing Speed. Accuracy and Pocket Presence are crucial, but both depend heavily on Processing Speed.
The most important Question on my Mind, regarding DeShaun Watson's Future is: What can I deduce about his intrinsic Processing Speed, based on his Play, and what do I believe his Chances are of developing its Potential?
I'll keep studying him heavily in the Games to come, but my current Impression is a very favorable one.
* April Update: Sometimes extensive Research, Study, and Analysis leads me nowhere when evaluating QuarterBacks, but I'm feeling really good about where I've finally arrived at with DeShaun Watson. We'll eventually see how I did.
I believe that what we've got here is a very raw QuarterBack ~ as most Rookie QuarterBacks are, I believe ~ but a remarkably well-developed Man, one of Intelligence, Vision, Testicular Fortitude, and sensational Leadership Abilities, as absolutely every Soul within 1000 Miles if Clemson will attest. His Leadership against Alabama was epic.I believe that he will squeeze every ounce of Talent out'f'mself that he possibly can, and will inspire and elevate his TeamMates.
Where I have my Doubts are in his FirePower, in his capacity to master the Game well enough to develop the Processing Speed that he's going to need in order to succeed...and in his developing better habits ~ far better habits ~ when he's Under Pressure. I believe that his overwhelming tendency is to Tuck & Run when the Pass Rush comes, being so successful at it as he's been, and that it's going to be very challenging for'm to break that habit and to develop Pocket Passing Skills developed, refined, and instinctive enough to succeed at the next level against NFL Defenses.
Oh, I'll not be the one to bet against DeShaun Watson.
But as tempted as I am to extrapolate his College Big Game Heroics to the next level, I don't believe that they do. I see'm as a tough, scrappy Leader who'll find a way to win more often than not, but I also foresee a lot of recklessness, there: OverThrows, Interceptions, Scrambles when Chain Moving Passes might've been made, and so on.
I believe that he's got a lot to overcome: Processing Speed, FirePower, and the Transition from Easy Read Option QuarterBack ~ with all the Bad Habits attendant to that ~ and that his Risk of Failure is very real.
Do I believe he'll make it? Yes, I do. But I don't count on that, nor do I consider his Potential as lofty as others do.
As such, I'll be changing my Rank & Grade on'm substantially from my original Beast/Top 10.
Thank you so very much, Draft BreakDown, without whom my Work would be virtually possible.
This is not is even remotely a Complaint, mind you, but rather a Warning: Caveat Emptor!!