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Is Deshaun Watson going to beat projections?

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NCAA Football: Clemson Spring Game
Is Watson going to be wearing Navy and Orange, soon?
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Overwhelmingly, the staff at WCG thinks that Deshaun Watson will be the pick at #3 for the Chicago Bears. This has some happy and others nervous. Previously, there has been discussion of the value of Watson’s “intangibles,” and a lot of speculation has gone into trying to figure out what sort of quarterback Watson will grow into.

Obviously, a lot of people have opinions on how to weigh quarterback prospects. A relatively big name just weighed in, with Football Outsiders teaming up with ESPN Insider to give their projections for this year’s quarterback class. Because it’s behind a pay wall, we’re not going to share a lot of details, but it’s worth making a couple of general observations.

First, this is not a well-loved class by Football Outsiders’ metrics. However, the same was true last year, as well. Still, Watson’s projects very poorly even compared to this limited class. The Clemson quarterback is given a better-than-even chance of being a bust (three quarterbacks are considered safer) and has a projected defense-adjusted yards above replacement in the same range as was given to E.J. Manuel, Carson Wentz, Chad Henne, and Jake Locker.

Second, while quarterbacks frequently beat these projections (Joe Flacco was placed in the same general range by their methods), there is something about Watson’s game that is making both the algorithms and the scouts nervous. A month ago, Lester shared that Semtex is not impressed by Watson (it’s #6), and scouts have placed him up and down their boards. Pro Football Focus notes that:

Watson is as tough of a prospect to evaluate as there is coming out of college. While he shows flashes with his arm, he is wildly inconsistent and lacks the key traits (pocket instincts/poise and field vision).

If Watson is taken by the Bears, the hope will obviously be that the doubters are wrong. However, until he does something to prove them wrong, the doubters seem to have plenty of support for their position.