The great Andy Benoit of Sports Illustrated’s MMQB did a deep dive on this year’s quarterback class in the NFL Draft. Benoit, like many observers, concludes this is not a strong class at the position. He does see potential in the top signal callers, though. In his article he goes through the strengths and weaknesses of the prospects and find a team that makes sense for them.
His thinking is Clemson prospect Deshaun Watson is a fit for the Jets.
Comparisons will be made to Marcus Mariota, but stylistically the more apt comparison is to Dak Prescott (especially for their similar throwing motions). The question is whether Watson can be as accurate.
Can he prosper as just a decent-armed pocket passer who sometimes runs around? That has worked for Prescott, but Prescott also plays behind the NFL’s best offensive line, is accompanied by the NFL’s best running game and has a true No. 1 receiver in Dez Bryant, which regulates coverages and makes the field easier to read. There’s zero possibility Watson will fall into such ideal circumstances.
The team that drafts Watson must be willing to reshape its offense in this fashion. One possibility: the Jets. Their new offensive coordinator, John Morton, who has never been an NFL play-caller and is a bit of a mystery, comes from the Saints and may run a variation of Sean Payton’s scheme. That would not fit Watson. But with the entire offensive lineup in flux and the coaches and front office presumably on the hot seat, the Jets, instead of enduring the pains of a long-term system installation, might be incentivized to settle for whatever approach yields the best immediate results.
Whether or not this regime is truly on this hot seat is unknown at this time. I don’t think anybody knows.
I think the Prescott comparison could be apt because I think to play as a rookie, Watson will need to be put into a similar infrastructure where he has a lot of support around him. I don’t think he’s ready to carry the load on offense yet.
I do think some adaptability will be in order early in his career, scheming to Watson’s strengths.
I believe Watson is the most pro ready quarterback of this class, but even with that designation I’m not sure he’s ready for a situation like the Jets. If the Jets pick him, it might be wise to keep him on the bench the way they sat Christian Hackenberg early.