As the NFL draft nears, USA TODAY High School Sports will look back at the high school careers and draft prospects for former American Family Insurance ALL-USA selections. Today’s installment features Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson.
High school: Gainesville (Ga.)
ALL-USA history: Named ALL-USA Second Team in 2013 as a senior.
Height, weight: 6-2, 221
By the numbers: Reached triple digits in tackles in the last two seasons with 119 as a sophomore and 102 as a junior. Finished with six career sacks. Named a second-team All-American and first-team All-Big Ten as a junior as a key member of a Buckeyes defense that was ranked sixth nationally.
Draft projection: Round 1
Draft positives: Intellect and ability to take in information is off the chart. Bright, intelligent, hard worker that loves the game. Ultra-athletic frame that shows speed, power, and strength. A true two way threat. Stays balanced and upright as a passer. Excellent touch on passes all over the field. Has a feel for how much air to put under the ball when needed. Back shoulder passes are top tier. A true competitor.
Draft negatives: Incredibly inaccurate on simple throws. Was bailed out by his receivers on several occasions. Was almost expected to see them have to dive, leap, change their direction when going after his balls. Doesn’t have a feel in the pocket.
What he says: “The biggest question that I’ve heard from different coaches was if I can change a protection, run the offense and recognize defensive coverages. Every team I went to asked me those questions. I handled it well, answered the questions, and they were very impressed. They know that I’m not just some other quarterback that’s running a spread offense. That [I’m a] guy that can operate, make good decisions and recognize what the defense is doing and be successful doing it.”
Draft analysis by Dan Shonka, Ourlads.com