The 2017 NFL Draft class is generally regarded to be an average year for quarterbacks, with no clear franchise players standing out from the pack. At least one NFL scout is convinced, however, that former Clemson star Deshaun Watson is even better than Cowboys Pro Bowler Dak Prescott, the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year. FOX NFL Draft analyst Peter Schrager has Watson going sixth overall in this year's first round to the New York Jets.
Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe debated Deshaun Watson's potential as a rookie on Wednesday's episode of "Undisputed", and Sharpe pointed out that Watson won't have many of the advantages Prescott inherited in Dallas.
Deshaun Watson can do more with less
“I do not go that far, but I will go this far: I believe so much in Deshaun Watson’s intangibles, what I call his ‘clutch gene,’ that I’m going to give him a shot to be in the ballpark with Dak’s effectiveness.
"They’re different players to me, overall, but I believe he can be as good as Dak, and maybe given his situation - we don’t know where he’s going to land… but you put him in the right situation, and I believe Deshaun can do a little more with less than Dak can.”
John David MercerJohn David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Dak Prescott's character is what made him successful in Dallas
“But, in the end, the reason they’re comparable is because of those unmeasurables that people are underestimating now in Deshaun, and they way underestimated in Dak. Which was why he fell all the way into the fourth round.
"But it’s that football character. Whatever burns inside you. Whatever gives you poise and guts under fire… Dak’s got it. Like, times 10. And I’m not as sure about Deshaun in that regard, but all I know is you’ve often said, ‘Hey, Dak fell into heaven.’ That you’re surrounded [by great players], you’ve got three Pro Bowl offensive linemen, you’ve got these weapons and you’ve got that kid behind you who is really good. He might be a Hall of Famer.
"But I’m going to say it again - I’m not sure there’s a more scrutinized position in all of sports than Dallas Cowboy quarterback, and to get thrown into that fire, that blaze, as a fourth-round rookie with no experience. Game 1, ‘dance, show us.’ For him to play with the poise at the highest level that hedid, and they won 11 straight games, and half of them he won with Tony Romo saying, ‘I’m healthy, I’ve been cleared, let me back in. Put me in, coach.’”
Matthew EmmonsMatthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Dak has some physical advantages over Deshaun Watson
“To do that really convinced me [Dak] has high-level intangibles. And I do think he has a little more accuracy than Deshaun. I think he has a little stronger arm, and I think he’s a bigger man than Deshaun is as far as stature, pocket presence. So Deshaun is a little more volatile. We see him under pressure, and he might throw a pick here or there - but man, when we saw the money on the table, all the chips pushed to the middle with [Nick Saban’s] defense, right? And he throws up 500 and 500 in two national championship games. I’m going to bet on that.
"I tweeted this yesterday. I sat back after our show and I thought ‘is the NFL really convinced that Mitchell Trubisky is better than Deshaun Watson?’ That is laugh-out-loud to me. I’m sorry. I don’t see it remotely. I would take Deshaun very high in this draft. I wouldn’t take Mitchell Trubisky until the third or fourth round.
"The point is, I get where the scout is going, because they are similar in what they’re made of. And both of them are going to be very successful in the NFL. I like Dak’s poise and presence, he’s more understated and even-keeled, I think, than Deshaun. So I’ll give him a slight edge, but only a slight one.”
Kirby LeeKirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Watson is the better overall pro prospect
“Let me ask you this: If they’re both coming out of college right now, and the Dallas Cowboys has a chance to draft Dak Prescott or Deshaun Watson, which one are they taking?”
Skip Bayless: “Deshaun.”
Shannon Sharpe: “Exactly. That’s my point. Deshaun Watson is a better prospect. It’s hard for us to see because we’re looking at Dak after one year, going to the greatest situation a quarterback has ever inherited. No quarterback has gone to a team that has three of the five best offensive linemen in football. No guy had ever had the fourth pick in the draft be arunning back and he turns out to be one of the two best running backs in all of football. No quarterback has gone to a situation that has a guy that’s going to be a Hall of Famer at tight end, former All-Pro, and a former All-Pro wide receiver. So he inherited a very good situation.”
Kim KlementKim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Dak thrived in a dream situation for a rookie quarterback
“If you’re just looking at it like that, well obviously you’re going to take Dak because you see how well he played in that situation. But as a prospect coming out of college, Dak at Mississippi State, Deshaun from Clemson. There’s no guy on no board that said Deshaun Watson was less valuable than Dak. Every college evaluator would have said, ‘Deshaun is a better pro prospect than Dak.’
"So, given that, I’m saying as a prospect Deshaun would be better… but this is what we know, Skip. If he goes somewhere - let’s just say, for the sake of argument, he goes to Kansas City. He’s not starting this year, so that means he’s going to have to bide his time. If he goes to a worse team, he’s not going to a team that has three All-Pro offensive linemen. He’s not going to the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have one of the best two running backs in football. He’s not going to a team that has an All-Pro wide receiver and a Hall of Fame tight end. So it’s going to be so hard, so unfair.”
Matthew EmmonsMatthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Watson faces different expectations because his team will be worse
“Dak made it so unfair for guys coming out, because they think it’s easy. But when you look at what he has to work with, yeah, you can see why Dak had the success. Now I’m not saying he’s not a good player - he’s a very good player, he played well within the system and I think he has the potential to be great.
"But it’s hard for you to really give a fair assessment, because most quarterbacks that come into the league that are counted on to do something, they go to a bad situation. They go to Cleveland, they go to Buffalo, they go to the Jets. They go to a situation that’s not very favorable.”