The New York Jets perpetual need for a franchise quarterback should end in the 2017 NFL Draft by selecting Deshaun Watson at No. 6.
It’s time, New York Jets fans—now is finally the time to grab a franchise quarterback. That franchise signal-caller is Deshaun Watson, 2017 NFL Draft prospect out of Clemson. The Jets have the sixth overall selection in April’s draft. As presently constituted, Watson may be available to them when they are on the clock in that initial round.
Of course, that’s contingent upon the five teams ahead of the Jets in the first round of the draft. There are teams that need a quarterback long term there, so how then would Watson fall to New York?
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Let’s take a look at the draft order and quickly break that down:
1. Cleveland Browns: By all accounts, the Browns are expected to tab Myles Garrett of Texas A&M with the top overall pick. 2. San Francisco 49ers: The Niners signed veteran Brian Hoyer as a free agent at quarterback. 3. Chicago Bears:Mike Glennon is their new quarterback, having inked him to a three-year pact via free agency. 4. Jacksonville Jaguars:Blake Bortles is their starter (at least for now). 5. Tennessee Titans:Marcus Mariota is one of the finest young quarterbacks in the NFL.
That leaves Gang Green with a golden opportunity to tab Watson, a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist (2015, 2016) and the quarterback who led the Tigers to a National Championship with a thrilling 35-31 triumph over Alabama just a few months ago.
Sure, Watson’s statistics were pretty impressive last year: 41 touchdown passes, 17 interceptions, a 67 percent completion rate, 629 yards rushing and nine rushing touchdowns. But what is even more impressive is that the Gainesville, GA native is a calm and cool in the clutch.
Let’s not forget that Clemson was trailing Alabama, 31-28, with 2:01 remaining in the fourth quarter of the National Championship Game. The football was on their own 32-yard line. The national championship was on the line. That’s when Watson’s uttered these very memorable words in the huddle before one of the most dramatic drives in college football history. Per ESPN, Watson gave this message to himself and his team:
“I just kind of smiled and I told myself that they left too much time on the clock … I told the guys, ‘Hey, let’s be great. Let’s be special.'”
Watson culminated the march with a 2-yard scoring toss to Hunter Renfrow with just one second remaining to give the Tigers the title. The kid is a winner. That’s exactly what the Jets need these days.
Measuring at 6-2, 221 pounds, Watson needs to put on a little more weight to withstand the rigors of NFL life and, despite his running prowess, will eventually have to settle in as a pocket passer. That’s the only way to survive long-term in the NFL.
It’s hard to find a box that Watson doesn’t check in terms of projecting his pro success. He doesn’t have a laser attached to his right shoulder, but his arm strength in more than adequate. He can hit the deep out to the far side of the field, and won’t be easily outrun by faster receivers down the field.
New York can’t let this opportunity slip by. Watson led Clemson to back-to-back national championship contests. There is a reason for that. He is the kind of talent and leader the Jets have been desperately searching for. They will be kicking themselves one day if he is a star on another NFL team. You can bet on it.