After bringing home a National Championship, Deshaun Watson will be a hot name in Arizona
It’s no secret that the Arizona Cardinals need a quarterback. Carson Palmer is 37 years old, and might play just one more season. As of now, the team does not have a plan for the future. Even as they try to make one last run with Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald, they need to get ready for 2018 and beyond.
As the NFL Draft approaches, fans and analysts will begin to put out their mock drafts, and many of them will have the Cardinals taking a quarterback, possibly with their first round pick. Inevitably, the attached name will be Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Watson was already seen by most as a first round pick, before his National Championship game performance. Against the seemingly unbeatable defense of the Alabama Crimson Tide, Watson put on a show. After a tough start, and especially in the fourth quarter, he put on a show. His final numbers, 420 yards and three touchdowns, were spectacular, but even bigger was his poise in the face of unbelievable pressure. He shined on the biggest stage of all.
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As a prospect, Watson does have detractors. His accuracy has been questioned, and he had some decision-making issues this season, having thrown 17 interceptions. The placement on some of his passes is off, leaving him to rely on his receiver to make a difficult catch.
On the other hand, he has all of the qualities an NFL team could want in a quarterback. His arm is strong, and he can put enough velocity on it to hit the tight window throws, as well as the sideline throws he’ll need to make in the NFL. He’s also a threat as a runner, and makes big plays with his legs. Most importantly, he’s a strong leader who stays strong under any circumstances, something that was on full display in the championship game.
The Cardinals offense could benefit from a quarterback who can move around. Palmer is strictly a pocket passer, and doesn’t escape pressure well. Watson would add another dimension to the offense, a dimension the Cardinals haven’t had. He can also make the downfield throws that Bruce Arians needs to make his system go.
Arizona has the 13th pick in the draft, and, depending on who is asked, that might be too late. Then again, some people think he could be available in round two. The Cardinals also have other needs that may take precedent.
There’s a lot of time before the draft gets here, and with workouts and the Combine still to go, things can, and will, change. Right now, Watson is a hot name, but as the championship glow wears off, other quarterbacks could take the attention from him. The Cardinals almost have to add a quarterback in this year’s draft, and a large contingent of fans will want Watson. If his performance against Alabama is any indication, it wouldn’t be a bad move.