At the conclusion of Super Bowl LI on Sunday, it will officially (OK, unofficially) be draft season. This year's draft class is loaded with talent but there isn't a no-brainer, turn-the-card-in-at-No. 1-type franchise quarterback in the group. The quarterback generating the most conversation during draft season will likely be Clemson's Deshaun Watson. He's coming off of a national-championship season and he's been ultra-productive at the collegiate level.
We'll spend the next few months debating how high he should be picked (Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has his thoughts on the subject), but for now, I thought it would be interesting to ask some NFL executives where he would best fit. Don't worry about which pick/round -- just tell me which team/organization would be the best landing spot for Watson. I polled five executives and here are their responses.
Note: None of the execs polled voted for their own team and none have a glaring need at QB.
"I'm a big fan of Kyle Shanahan. He would work to feature Watson's strengths and ease him into the role."
"I'd say San Francisco with Shanahan. Kyle is innovative within his scheme and he would build the offense around Watson's skill set. More importantly, Kyle's offense is predicated on the run, which won't put too much pressure on a young QB. I think it's a little bit of a reach to take him at No. 2, but I like the fit."
"He's a great fit in Kansas City. The system already incorporates zone-read concepts, heavy use of the tight end and RPOs (run-pass option). Watson excels on those quick seam routes and pop passes and he'd be surrounded by a staff that knows how to develop a quarterback. He could sit behind Alex Smith for a year or two and then take over."
"I could make the case for Cleveland and Buffalo, but I think Houston would be the ideal spot for him. They have a lot of pieces in place for him to be successful."
Conclusion: These teams appear to be excellent fits for Watson's skill set and I don't think he would be forced to play right away based on their current roster makeup. I would pick Kansas City as the ideal spot for him to have a successful career. Andy Reid is outstanding at developing young quarterbacks and he would mold his scheme/play-calling around Watson's greatest strengths. It will be interesting to see which teams choose to pursue a veteran quarterback in the offseason. That will probably eliminate some teams from pursuing Watson or any of the other top signal-callers in the 2017 NFL Draft.