Deshaun Watson, Mitchell Trubisky ready to be walk-in starters in NFL

ByJeff Legwold ESPN logo
Saturday, March 4, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS -- Some may have questions about this year's quarterback class in the NFL draft, but two of the guys who lead the way at the position both believe they're ready to play as NFL rookies.

Both North Carolina's Mitchell Trubiskyand Clemson's Deshaun Watson said Friday at the scouting combine they'd like to be, and believe they are ready to be, the draft's No. 1 pick and walk-in starters in the league. The Cleveland Browns have the draft's first pick and the San Francisco 49ers will pick No. 2.

"I'm confident in my abilities and what I can bring to whatever team that selects me,'' Trubisky said. " ... I have the tools to be successful in the NFL.''

Asked if he thought he could be ready to play as a rookie, Trubisky simply said: "I do.''

Watson, who won the national championship this past season and made back-to-back appearances in the title game, said he'd understand if a team said he needed to wait to play, but he believes he too will be ready to start as a rookie.

"I think so,'' Watson said. "I'm going to prepare myself for every moment so if I have to play early, or right away, then I'm going to be prepared for that moment and come in and produce and help a team out to win.''

The two are a study in playing-time contrasts. Trubisky entered the draft after his junior season with the Tar Heels, with just 13 career starts.

Watson had 36 career starts for the Tigers.

Trubisky has been asked by NFL teams about his lack of experience and why he didn't win the job until his junior year. Watson emphasized his play in the biggest moments, including the two title game appearances.

"That's the question everybody's asking,'' Trubisky said. " ... I only have 13 starts, but I played in 30 games ... I was prepared really well. ... I've studied the game, I'm a student of the game, I've seen a lot of defenses.''

"One thing that translates to the NFL is winners,'' said Watson, who had his 48-8 record as a high school starter at his fingertips Friday to go with his 33-3 record as a starter at Clemson. "Being a quarterback that's one of the biggest things that's being recognized is winning games. That's all I've done.''

Asked about criticisms of his footwork or accuracy that are common in the pre-draft process, Watson said: "Winning solves everything. You can't take that away from anybody.''

Watson, who added Friday that "I'm not another quarterback running the spread offense,'' was a Heisman finalist as well as a two-time winner of the Davey O'Brien Award.

Both quarterbacks also said they would embrace playing in cold weather if that's where the draft sent them.

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