The Cleveland Browns’ staff is coaching the South roster at the Senior Bowl on Saturday, and Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson declined their request to play in the game.
Naturally, this led many to speculate that Watson’s decision may not sit well with the Browns, owners of the top overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
And on Tuesday, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney spoke to the media at the Senior Bowl, and said that “if [the Browns] pass on Deshaun Watson, they’re passing on Michael Jordan”:
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) January 24, 2017
“I’m just telling you if they pass on Deshaun Watson, they’re passing on Michael Jordan. I’m just telling you. I don’t know what the heck I’m talking about. I’m just an old funky college coach. (But) Deshaun Watson is the best — by a long shot.”
“He’s 28-2 the last two years, beat Alabama and put up 75 points against Alabama in two games. He played 15 games this year. I think he’s done plenty. If they can’t evaluate that, a week at the Senior Bowl ain’t going to change that. So he’ll be ready. He’ll have all the workouts, the Combines, the pro days and all that stuff. But just turn on the tape and get to know him. When people really get to know who he is, not just watching him on film, he’s one in a million.”
A college head coach praising his player is nothing new, especially when that player is a star quarterback that just won the national championship. But, comparing Watson to arguably the greatest athlete of all-time is pretty eye-opening.
Most evaluators currently expect Watson to be a first-round pick, but the mock drafts have him going anywhere from the Browns at No. 1 to the bottom of the first round. NFL.Com’s Daniel Jeremiah has Watson going 25th, while ESPN.Com’s Mel Kiper has him going 10th and NFL.Com’s Chad Reuter has him going No. 1 to the Browns. Kiper appeared on SportsCenter and explained why he has Watson 10th:
Everyone is in love with Watson’s physical tools, athleticism, and upside, but there are concerns with his erratic accuracy and decision-making. However, if it all clicks for Watson, Swinney’s comparison may not end up being too crazy.