The Browns hold the No. 1 pick of the draft, as well as the No. 12 pick, and have a clear need at quarterback. When Watson declined to play in last week's Reese's Senior Bowl, where he would have played for the Browns' coaching staff as a member of the South squad, a narrative developed that his decision reflected on the Browns.
"That's wrong. That's false information," Watson said. "I talked to Hue Jackson, we had a great conversation right after the national championship game and I told him, 'Hey, this is what I'm thinking about' and he understood everything. I talked with my family, my agent, my trainer, all the coaches at Clemson, and it was just best for me to go ahead and get started in the draft process."
With the Browns holding two of the draft's top 12 picks, it wouldn't make any sense for Watson to disavow the idea of playing in Cleveland. And while spending a week working under Jackson and his staff might have been a strong opportunity to make an impression on a team with so much first-round leverage, Watson's reasons for passing on the Senior Bowl had a much more practical side to them. He is training in California for the NFL Scouting Combine, and said the travel logistics made Senior Bowl participation a difficult proposition.