Hue Jackson and his Cleveland Browns coaching staff will not get a chance to work with Deshaun Watson in the Senior Bowl, but that doesn’t affect his stock.
The Cleveland Browns were rewarded after a 1-15 season by being granted the right to coach one of the teams in the 2017 Senior Bowl.
Deshaun Watson was a potential player to be coached by Hue Jackson in the game, but he decided to skip the game.
Surprisingly, this move was met with some backlash by fans who wanted Watson to work with Jackson and the Browns coaching staff. But it is hard to blame the former Clemson quarterback for his decision.
After playing in two postseason games and winning a national championship, there is zero need for Watson to play in yet another game. The Senior Bowl is a great opportunity for players looking to improve their draft stock, but Watson does not need to do this. His play in the win over Alabama earlier this month proved much more than anything he could do in an exhibition game.
While it would have been nice for Hue Jackson to work directly with Watson, this does not change anything when it comes to the Browns looking at Watson as a potential draft pick. The months leading up to the Draft gives teams plenty of time to meet with players, and see them in every workout imaginable. Hue Jackson has enough experience scouting quarterbacks to be able to see talent even if he is not coaching the player directly.
Drafting Watson is not even a sure thing, so there is no need for any Browns fans to be upset with the national champion missing a meaningless game. Football is a dangerous sport, and no top prospect is going to risk his health in a game that may not change anyone’s view of him.
The Browns front office will use the next few months to further evaluate countless prospects, and Watson will surely be a name that comes up often. He may not be the smartest choice with the No. 1 overall pick, but he is an option at No. 12 or even earlier if the Browns want to trade up to take him. His status for the Senior Bowl has no bearing on the decision the front office must make in a few months.
The time to focus on Watson will be during the NFL Combine, although he showed plenty during his time at Clemson for him to remain a top option for the Browns in the first round. That is, if the team feels comfortable selecting yet another quarterback with a top pick.