With the off-season drama of wondering if Carson Palmer will play another season now over, the Arizona Cardinals still need to find the quarterback of the future. Draft experts and scouts are not sold on the overall talent level of the prospects in the 2017 draft, but there are still some players worth taking. With the 13th pick in the draft, some are saying that it is too high of a draft position to take a quarterback that might not see the field this season. Here is why they are wrong.
The Arizona Cardinals Should Draft DeShaun Watson
DeShaun Watson is not exactly what Bruce Arians looks for, but he is more than qualified. Arians has gone on the record stating that Palmer is the prototypical quarterback regarding his size and build. Watson is two inches shorter and 20 pounds lighter than Palmer, but makes up for it with a healthy posture in the pocket and excellent toughness for his slender frame.
The most impressive thing about Watson is that he is a winner; a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist and a National champion. During his two full seasons as a starter, he only lost two games. Watson was able to beat Ohio State and Alabama in his final two games as a Clemson Tiger, both of which have many pro-caliber defensive players. All the intangibles you could ever want in the field general, Watson has displayed over his last two seasons.
Watson can set himself apart against most of the other quarterbacks in the draft by the number of NFL type throws he made. It would be easy to point out the simplicity of the system that Watson ran at Clemson, but if you watch closely he can make all the throws you need. Having Mike Williams as a target has also helped to make Watson look good. To counter that point, you could also argue that having an NFL receiver to work with the last two seasons has helped him develop the kind of timing that Watson will need at the next level.
A Look at the Film
Take a look at a few of the throws by Watson in these clips from a video by Draft Breakdown against the Auburn Tigers:
Watson throws a dart to Williams back shoulder. pic.twitter.com/tuKaUWUZN4
The safety moving to the middle of the field at the snap makes this an easy read for Watson, but not an easy throw. Throwing it to the outside and to the exact spot that Williams was looking for it.
Here is another one to the right side:
Then again to the other side. Watson has great timing with Williams. pic.twitter.com/x0dGVaD8lP
You can’t see the safety at the start of the play, but you see him run into the picture at the end. This shows that it was not as simple of a read by Watson and he does try to look off the route as the snap arrives. This ball again is well thrown outside of the numbers and on the money for Williams to make a play.
Here is a third back shoulder throw from the same game against Auburn:
Watson not a precise with this throw but the timing and route by Williams makes up for it. pic.twitter.com/boxgznovil
You can see that Watson throws this ball more inside than you would like on a back shoulder throw, but the timing and anticipation are exceptional. This is a throw that Williams makes the throw look better than it is by his excellent route running and hand fighting.
Finally, with how in love the Cardinals are with the deep ball, Watson is not afraid to throw it as he shows here. This is a risky throw against very good coverage, but he trusts his receiver to make the play and puts it where he can go get it. This is the type of play that Arians will love to see from an Arizona quarterback.
The Cardinals need to find the quarterback of the future and Watson has a chance to be there at the 13th pick. If he is, Arizona should take a chance on him and let him develop for a year behind Palmer. Having this caliber of a player sit for a year or two to develop would make the Cardinals relevant for years to come.