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Grading the Big 5: Week 12 grade for Clemson's Deshaun Watson


Editor's note: analysts and former NFL scouts Bucky Brooks and Daniel Jeremiah will grade the performances of 5 top prospects each week of the 2016 season. Click the tabs above to see their Week 12 marks for each of the players.

Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson

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Stats: 23-of-33 for 202 yards, TD. 7 carries for 47 yards (6.7 average), 2 TDs. (at Wake Forest)

Skinny: The Tigers' star QB1 was rock-solid for most of the night against Wake Forest. He efficiently distributed the ball to his playmakers on the perimeter while avoiding the costly mistakes, particularly in the red zone, that have plagued his game in recent weeks. Watson directed most of his throws to the Tigers' top playmakers: Mike Williams (six catches for 58 yards and a score) and Jordan Leggett (three catches for 50 yards), but he also kept the team's complementary weapons in the game. Scouts will appreciate his balanced distribution because it suggests that he understands how to play "connect-the-dots" football when the defensive coverage takes away the primary options.

Watson also showed good athleticism and mobility picking up yards on a variety of designed quarterback runs. Although he isn't quite an A-plus running talent, the Clemson standout has enough scrambling skills to create big-play opportunities on the edges as a run-pass threat. Considering how Marcus Mariota and Alex Smith are able to impact games with their legs, Watson's running skills and improving ability as a passer could make him a viable option as an NFL QB1 down the road. He simply needs to string together more consistent performances like this one to convince NFL scouts that he has the tools to develop into that guy.

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.



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