The Cleveland Browns are known as a quarterback graveyard around the NFL.
Many have come and gone – 26 different starters and numerous other backups – since the team returned in 1999 and the narrative of rookies wanting to avoid being drafted by the Browns continues to surface every year before the NFL Draft.
Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson is the latest to be claimed by the narrative after he skipped the Senior Bowl and the opportunity to work with Hue Jackson and the Browns’ coaching staff. It prompted many to jump to the conclusion that he is trying to avoid being drafted by Cleveland.
In an interview with Andrew Siciliano on NFL Network which aired Thursday, Watson denied that was the case.
“That’s wrong. That’s false information,” Watson told Siciliano. “I talked to Hue Jackson. We had a great conversation right after the national championship game and I told him, ‘Hey, this is what I’m thinking about’ and he understood everything. I talked with my family, my agent, my trainer, all the coaches at Clemson, and it was just best for me to go ahead and get started in the draft process.”
The Browns own the Nos. 1 and 12 picks in the first round of the upcoming draft as well as picks 33, 52 and 65 overall.
“I think I’m prepared for any type of pressure that comes with being a No. 1 pick,” Watson said. “Whatever happens, happens but I think I’ll be well prepared for any situation.”
Watson said that he will attend the NFL Combine in Indianapolis at the end of the month where he plans to throw during the on-field workouts for scouts.
“Honestly I can just go out there and compete and just be the quarterback that I am,” Watson said. “I don’t want to get too focused or focus on what I gotta show or what I need to do because I think I lose track of doing the little things. Doing the little things right – completing passes, doing whatever the coaching staff wants me to do at the combine and just go out there and show what I got.”
Draft experts have graded Watson all over the board from a top-10 pick to the third round.
He was asked to address the doubters.
“Keep doubting me,” Watson said. “Want to keep sleeping on me and doubting me then you’ll figure it out whenever you play against me.”