More than two months before the 2017 NFL Draft, it's unclear who will be the first quarterback selected, much less how early that selection will occur.
But the whispers reaching the ears of Clemson's Deshaun Watson, not surprisingly, are on the optimistic side.
"I'm hearing that. First round, anywhere in that range, top 10, top five, just depends on what the teams say," Watson said Monday in Fort Worth, Texas, per The Associated Press. He was in town to receive the Davey O'Brien Award (top college QB), which he won for the second consecutive year in 2016.
Watson's top draft competition at the quarterback position appears to be Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer and North Carolina's Mitch Trubisky. But initial draft projections for each vary. NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock has questioned whether any quarterback in the class is worthy of a top-10 selection. But teams with a need at the most important position on the field can feel compelled to take a chance. NFL.com analyst Chad Reuter's latest mock draft projects the quarterback-needy San Francisco 49ers to select Trubisky at No. 2 overall, with Watson going to the Cleveland Browns, who also need a quarterback, at No. 12 and Kizer going to the Cardinals at No. 13.
Watson led Clemson to a 14-1 record and a College Football Playoff Championship before entering the draft as a junior. He passed for 4,593 yards and 41 touchdowns, but how well his skills will translate to the NFL is a key scouting question.