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Grading the Big 5: Week 9 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 9 marks for each of the players.

Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson


Stats: 27 of 43 for 378 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs. 17 carries for 52 yards (3.1 average). (at Florida State)

Skinny: Watson continues to solidify his reputation as a big-game quarterback with strong performances against top teams in prime-time games. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound junior helped his team to a thrilling 37-34 win over FSU. Although scouts will take issue his interceptions (2) and his streaky accuracy, Watson's confidence and poise will earn him high marks from scouts. He delivered when it mattered most, as evidenced by his superb fourth-quarter play (completed 8 of 12 pass attempts and a two-point conversion). Most impressively, Watson didn't wilt under pressure with his team trailing by eight points in the final quarter. Considering how many NFL games are decided by seven points or less, the fact that he thrives in late-game situations bolsters his chances of being perceived as a franchise quarterback by evaluators. There is something to be said for having a knack for guiding a team to the winner's circle. Watson has consistently done it during his time at Clemson by using his arm and legs to create big plays.

From a critical standpoint, Watson must continue to work on his coverage diagnosis and judgment. He was fooled by an underneath defender on each of his interceptions (Watson misread the corner -- Marquez White -- in Cover 2 on his first INT; he was fooled by a fake corner blitz by Tarvarus McFadden on his second INT) and those miscues stunted the Tigers' momentum. More importantly, they lead to questions about Watson's ability to decipher complex disguises at the next level.

Overall, Watson played winning football against a defense loaded with NFL talent, but scouts are still waiting on a "statement" performance in one of the Tigers' marquee matchups to affirm his status as the premier quarterback in college football. -- Bucky Brooks

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.

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