Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
The Chiefs are coming off a heartbreaking loss to Pittsburgh in the Divisional Round of the AFC Playoffs that in all honesty was agonizing to watch. I've become partial to the Chiefs thanks to Big Red and watching the defense keep holding the Steelers to field goals and waiting for the offense to step up and do something was painful. That's not to say the defense didn't have its faults, as they were gashed by the run after Derrick Johnson went down with an Achilles injury. The truth is both the offense and defense were mediocre last year finishing 13th and 14th in DVOA respectively. Special Teams finished 2nd in DVOA behind BasedGawdFipp. If DVOA isn't your thing and all you care about is f***ing scoring points or another stat, here's some more:
Total Yards: 5,488 (18th)
Yards/Attempt (Passing): 6.5 (T-14th)
Yards/Attempt (Rushing): 4.2 (T-16th)
Turnovers: 17 (T-8th)
Points for: 389 (13th)
Total Yards: 5,896 (24th)
Yards/Attempt (Passing): 6.3 (T-16th)
Yards/Attempt (Rushing): 4.4 (T-23rd)
Takeaways: 33 (1st)
Points Against: 311 (7th)
My takeaway is that the defense is better off than the offense, but there are still some concerns. If you were to spell out needs on defense, the first place you would look is ILB, because even if Johnson comes back fully healthy he's not going to be playing for much longer. Another spot could be CB2, although Phillip Gaines stepped up in that spot late in the season. You can also never have enough pass rushers. On offense there is a need at RB and at QB. However, I don't think Kansas City has a need so glaring that they would reach at this point. There's also this quote from Andy Reid given to ESPN.com's Adam Teicher:
"In Philadelphia we got to that point, probably during those championship years, where we felt we didn't have a lot of holes,'' Reid said. "You could go into the draft and just kind of take the best player. That's how I feel this year. We're picking 27th and whatever is there, you just want to make sure it's the right guy, the best player. Not every team can say they can go out and play right now and play halfway decent. We're in a position where we could do that if we had to do it today, without the draft.''
So who is the best player available? That's obviously subjective and gets even more complicated when QBs are involved. The one thing I kept coming back to is watching Alex Smith struggle to get anything going despite having weapons in Hill, Kelce, and Maclin. It's the complete opposite situation for Reid compared to his early years in Philly where he had a great QB and mediocre weapons. It didn't help that the run game sputtered as well.
Bring in Deshaun Watson. Coming off a national championship performance of a lifetime, Watson has been one of the most polarizing prospects in the draft. Let's take a look at what the scouts are saying about him:
Strengths: Watson has the arm to make just about any throw he's asked. He is good at looking off defenders to create space for his receivers. When his footwork is in order, he is very accurate and can fit the ball in tight windows. He is extremely athletic and can use his legs to his advantage, though he is good at avoiding hard contact when he scrambles. Watson has also shown he can step up in the big moments, as he played in 2 national championship games and totaled 825 passing yards, 7 passing TDs to only 1 INT, and 116 yards rushing with another TD. It's no surprise Watson is clutch in big games, as scouts rave about his quiet, yet confident leadership.
Weaknesses: When his footwork gets off, Watson becomes inaccurate. Part of his uptick in turnovers last season can be attributed to this. The other part is attributed to his decision-making. Scouts believe there will be an adjustment period for Watson as he gets acclimated to an NFL offense. Watson did break a bone in his right hand as well as tear an ACL during the 2014 season, but he seems to have rebounded and has otherwise had a clean bill of health.
Takeaway: Deshaun Watson has the physical tools to be a good NFL starting QB. He can be erratic at times but in Kansas City he would have time to work on his footwork and acclimated to an NFL offense under the tutelage of Andy Reid. He has also had an answer for every doubt that's been thrown at him, playing his best when it matters the most and showing the leadership teams are looking for. If the board were to fall like this there's no reason Kansas City shouldn't take a chance on a QB, and Watson may be the best available.
Obligatory Spider Graph
Other players considered
EDGE Takkarist McKinley, UCLA - A very athletic "high-motor" edge rusher. Only knock against him is technique. A lack of bend and true moves to beat blockers on the edge are all that limit him. Kansas City currently has Justin Houston, Tamba Hali, and Dee Ford rushing the passer, but only Justin Houston is under contract 2 years from now. This means McKinley would have time to develop technique but also fill a potential future need. On draft day, if Kansas City's choice at QB is taken and they're ho-hum on the others, this might be a more realistic pick.
CB Gareon Conley, Ohio St. - Good cover corner that can make a play on the ball. There are questions about his willingness to support in the run game as well as jamming at the line of scrimmage.
2017 BGN Mock Draft Order
1) Browns (JALupowitz): Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
2) 49ers (sports00fan00): Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
3) Bears (gubby): Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama
4) Jaguars (TheWhalwing): Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
5) Titans (drc242): Jamal Adams, S, LSU
6) Jets (boomorbust): Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
7) Chargers (NowWhat?): Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
8) Panthers (B-Potts): Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
9) Bengals (Kiko’s Delivery Service): Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
10) Bills (jimmyrustler): O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
11) Saints (NotSoSlick): Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
12) Browns (Straight Edge Sid): Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
13) Cardinals (Paulie97): Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
14) Eagles (ablesser88): Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
15) Colts (mconner96): Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
16) Ravens (The Man, The Myth, the Matthews!): Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
17) Washington (kbruneault): John Ross, WR, Washington
18) Titans (mchiodo): JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR USC
19) Buccaneers (ei78): Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
20) Broncos (NVEagleShark): Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
21) Lions (Shark Fighter): Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
22) Dolphins (J. Wil): Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky
23) Giants (BigWardy59): Dion Dawkins, OT, Temple
24) Raiders (big DUB): Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
25) Texans (GotFunds): Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
26) Seahawks (Rogmcc23): Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
27) Chiefs (B1G Cat): Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
28) Cowboys (RegalEagle):
29) Packers (Wutang_):
30) Steelers (General_Lee12):
31) Falcons (SirJon):
32) Saints (Huffs_cellmate):