Among the scouting knocks on QB Deshaun Watson's game in the months leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft was his accuracy. Clemson's two-time Heisman Trophy finalist had plenty of momentum as a draft prospect, from his winning track record to his unshakeable poise, but the consistency with which he could put the ball between the numbers was raised as a concern by evaluators.
It's a concern that Texans coach Bill O'Brien doesn't share about his prized rookie, and he's questioning whether the criticism had any real basis.
"First of all, his accuracy I think is excellent," O'Brien said on Tuesday, per USA TODAY. "I don't know where that came from. I think sometimes there's so much time between the end of the college season and the actual draft that people start just making things up. That's just really my opinion. I mean, this kid can throw the ball. Throws a tight spiral. He's very accurate."
While Watson's accuracy was a concern for some scouts, not every pre-draft evaluation on him was entirely critical. NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks wrote an extensive scouting report on Watson in February. And while Brooks, a former NFL scout, expressed some reservations about Watson's accuracy on deep throws, he also noted: "When he's on his game, Watson can pick apart a defense with a surgeon's precision as a rhythm thrower from inside or outside of the pocket."
The Texans acquired Watson with the No. 12 overall pick of the draft, and traded up from the No. 25 selection to do so. Other pre-draft scouting concerns about Watson included his ability to transition to a pro-style system from Clemson's spread attack, but O'Brien praised Watson's grasp of the Texans' offense, as well. He reiterated that third-year pro Tom Savage remains the club's No. 1 quarterback for now, but said Watson's ability to pick up the offense has been "better than any rookie I've been around."
Of course, accuracy in a minicamp setting and accuracy on Sundays are two different things, but O'Brien has clearly seen enough to declare Watson's accuracy as an asset.