Deshaun Watson will not participate in the Senior Bowl. Coming off a career performance beating Alabama in the national title game, the All-American says he’s not playing even though, Cleveland Browns’ head coach Hue Jackson is coaching the South team, and personally asked Watson to take part. Even though Jackson asked him. Or BECAUSE Jackson asked him?
Watson is catching some heat for the decision, but I don’t have a problem with this. In fact, if I were him, I’d do the same thing.
Because at this point, what’s Watson have to prove that he didn’t already show when he sliced and diced Alabama? What can he do at practice that you can’t see when you flip on the tape and watch him light up Nick Saban? And what’s the grand prize for dominating the Senior Bowl — Having the Browns fall in love with you, making you their latest franchise quarterback that’s set up to fail?
Again, Watson’s faced some predictable blowback for turning down the invite — understandable considering he’s NOT a lock to be a Top 5 pick and some NFL teams have genuine questions about his game, his on-field decision making and his ability to play in an NFL scheme. Maybe that’s why the Browns wanted him there.
But if you’re Watson, you’re coming off an ALL-TIME performance, playoff wins against Urb and Saban, and back-to-back seasons that ended in Heisman invites, what’s a week in Mobile going to tell people that he hasn’t already put on tape these last three seasons? It probably can’t help you, and might hurt you.
And even if it does help you, it can really hurt you. Again, what if the Browns love what they see. Then the guy is punished for showing up and doing and saying all the right things.
Besides, did you see that Browns offensive line? The one that took turns getting RG3, Cody Kessler and Josh McCown killed? That’s the grand prize in all of this — playing so well you… Punch your ticket to Cleveland?
The Browns have a hundred holes on their roster — and a mess of a depth chart at quarterback. Maybe they think Watson is the guy to fix it — and a candidate for the No. 1 overall pick. But they shouldn’t need a few days in Mobile to close the deal.
And after ripping a title from Bama, Watson doesn’t owe them another look. Especially if that other look means they might actually take him.
Those closest to him probably said, ‘Do you want to play for the Browns?’ And he probably said hell no. Then you’re not going to the Senior Bowl. And that conversation probably took that long.
This guy is doing the right thing. And if were I him, I’d do the same thing. Especially if means the Browns might take me.