With the number one pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns could draft Deshaun Watson, Clemson’s star quarterback. During this Saturday’s Senior Bowl, the Browns could have had a chance to coach him, but Watson said no thanks
The Senior Bowl will be played Saturday, January 28th, in Mobile, Alabama and the Browns coaching staff led by Hue Jackson will coach the South team. Watson, if he played in the game, would play for the South team. So naturally, Cleveland asked him to play and Watson politely said no.
“The Browns talked to him and asked him to play this week; he declined,” MMQB’s Peter King wrote in his Monday column.
Watson’s scenario is unique. The QB is only a junior, but because he already graduated from Clemson, he was eligible to play in the Senior Bowl and received an invite. After he turned down the original invite from the Senior Bowl committee and said he is preparing for the NFL Combine on March 1st, the Browns requested him to play.
“There are going to be other guys that are not participating either, so I won’t hold it against him,” Hue Jackson told cleveland.com. “I don’t think that’s the right thing to do. He’s still a draftable player, there’s still a process we have to go through to evaluate him and see if he can fit here with the Browns.”
Watson not playing in the Senior Bowl won’t necessarily hurt his draft stock a ton, but at the same time it could maybe hurt his future chemistry with the Browns. Jackson said he won’t hold Watson’s decision against him, but even though Watson isn’t playing, it wouldn’t be surprising if Jackson is Watson’s head coach next year.
“Obviously we wish he were here,” Jackson said. “It would’ve been a great chance to have an opportunity to evaluate him doing the things we do in meetings and on the practice field. But that’s not going to happen, so we’ll have to find a different way of evaluating him.”
In his first NFL Mock Draft of 2017, NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah has Watson going 25th overall to the Houston Texans, while ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr has him going to the Buffalo Bills at #10.