There have been some good moments and stretches, such as his rookie season when he set an NFL record for first-year players with 27 passing touchdowns, and the 2020 season, when he led Cleveland to its first playoff victory in over two decades.
But the lows have been more prominent than the highs, and that was one reason why the Browns went out and acquired Deshaun Watson this offseason.
Some criticized the move, citing Watson’s legal charges, all of which were dropped just prior to him coming to Cleveland, and those critics feel he won’t be a good presence in the locker room.
But Watson’s talents and skills on the field are undeniable, and he can seriously raise the team’s ceiling this coming season.
Watson Is A Bona fide Star
The 12th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Watson had a somewhat quiet rookie season, but he started to emerge in 2018.
That season, he put up 4,165 passing yards, threw for 26 touchdowns and notched a 103.1 passer rating while leading the Houston Texans to an 11-5 record, a major improvement over their 4-12 finish the year before.
That production earned Watson a trip to the Pro Bowl.
In 2020, he threw for a league-high 4,823 yards and 33 touchdowns while also leading the NFL in yards per pass attempt and yards per catch.
The fact that he put up so many yards without a single Pro Bowl wide receiver to throw to is even more impressive.
Watson leading the league in yards per pass attempt and yards per catch is indicative of how he can help the Browns by providing big yardage plays and stretching the field vertically.
— Zach D (@ZachNoah52) May 10, 2022
— Muni-Lot Madness (@munilotmad) May 8, 2022
They ranked towards the bottom of the league in passing attempts and yards, as well as just 20th in passing touchdowns, and it’s fair to say that those numbers will improve in 2022.
Watson Can Run
Another dimension of Watson’s game is how he can move the chains with his legs.
He isn’t quite Lamar Jackson in that department, but outside of him, Watson has been one of the league’s best running quarterbacks.
In four seasons, he has tallied 1,677 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns while averaging 5.7 yards per rush attempt.
— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) December 23, 2018
The shake. The twirl. The TD.
— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) October 13, 2019
Cleveland’s offensive line is a bit of a question mark, but if it is healthy, Watson could, at times, riddle defenses by getting first downs with his feet rather than with his arm.
Could Watson Maximize Cleveland’s Young Wide Receivers?
In Amari Cooper, Watson will have a proven, veteran wideout to target who has been to the playoffs multiple times.
But other than him, the Browns’ receiving corps is a bit thin.
With Watson’s ability to connect on the long ball, both wideouts will have their best shot at unlocking any talent they truly have.
Schwartz, in particular, has speed while running downfield, which is something Watson can exploit.