Usually when you are guaranteed to be a first-rounder and a team suggests something for a player to do in order to draft them, they do it. That is, unless the team drafting you is the Cleveland Browns and you are a quarterback. Then you might consider doing exactly the opposite to avoid being drafted by the worst team in the league.
That seems to be the case for Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson who declined an invitation the Senior Bowl this weekend. While he’s only a junior he is eligible for the game because he graduated early. The Monday Morning Quarterback’s Peter King wrote on Monday that “The Browns talked to him and asked him to play this week; he declined.”
But Browns coach Hue Jackson was nice enough to say that he wouldn’t hold it against Watson.
“There are going to be other guys that are not participating either, so I won’t hold it against him,” Jackson told cleveland.com. “I don’t think that’s the right thing to do. He’s still a draftable player, there’s still a process we have to go through to evaluate him and see if he can fit here with the Cleveland Browns.”
That’s so considerate of him even though that’s a game for guys who need an extra game to show they are worth being drafted. It’s also to help players potentially move up in the draft that are borderline picks. So for a guy like Watson who is generally considered a first-round draft pick, it doesn’t quite make sense to play in the game anyway. To him, it’s just another opportunity to get injured, which helps no one.
If you can’t figure out how much you value someone like Watson after playing 15 games this season and last season as well as a regular season in 2014 where he played 12 games, then you might have problems. Yes, there is NFL personnel running the practices and game, but for Watson it’s just not worth it to get the extra time with those guys, especially if he wants to avoid playing for a sad sack franchise like the Browns.