RSP Boiler Room No.68: QB Deshaun Watson (Clemson), General vs. Pinpoint Accuracy

Clemson Quarterback Deshaun Watson's game tape analysis offers insights into his 2017 NFL Draft Stock

Clemson Quarterback Deshaun Watson's game tape analysis offers insights into his 2017 NFL Draft Stock

Middle of the field accuracy is an important part of successful passing in most NFL offenses. It’s an area where DeShaun Watson must improve. 

Deshaun Watson is a National Championship Quarterback because he’s an excellent college football player. He’s also a good quarterback with room to improve.

My last quick look at Watson involved his reads of underneath coverage. This week’s Boiler Room examines an occurrence that I’ve observed throughout his tape: General accuracy that’s good enough to make a play but limiting the upside of the scheme and his teammates.

I define the quality of accuracy in two ways: General Accuracy and Pinpoint accuracy. The former is getting the ball within range of the receiver to catch it. The later is delivering the ball in an area where the receiver makes the play in stride with his break and with minimal adjustment.

The oft-mentioned story about Bill Walsh telling Mike Holmgren to stop praising Joe Montana’s successful delivery of a post route to Jerry Rice in practice is a good example of these two types of accuracy. Walsh explained to Holmgren that Montana’s throw didn’t hit the exact spot over Rice’s shoulder where the receiver could make the catch in stride.

Walsh didn’t want his young coach or quarterback to accept general accuracy when the expectation was pinpoint. For some of you, this standard seems excessive.

While true that there are many successful passing plays throughout NFL history that lack pinpoint accuracy, it’s also true that the margin for error in the NFL passing game is far narrower than even what’s exhibited during a championship game between college football’s top two teams.

Watson’s lack of pinpoint accuracy occurs most often in the middle of the field. Here’s an example that I’ve seen several times throughout his tape.

It’s a common issue for many young quarterbacks. The fact that Watson displays general accuracy in this range of the field is a positive to build on. But if he cannot make the transition from general accuracy to pinpoint accuracy, he’ll reach a significant obstacle in his development path.

For analysis of skill players in the 2017 draft class, pre-order a login for the 2017 Rookie Scouting Portfolio – for April 1 download  Better yet, if you’re a fantasy owner the Post-Draft Add-on comes with the 2012 – 2017 RSPs at no additional charge. Best, yet, 10 percent of every sale is donated to Darkness to Light to combat sexual abuse. You can purchase past editions of Matt Waldman’s Rookie Scouting Portfolio for just $9.95 apiece.

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