DeShaun Watson and the Clemson Tigers did the unthinkable on Monday night. They stopped the roll of the Alabama Crimson Tide to win college football's national championship. We know Watson is entering the 2017 NFL Draft, but what can we expect to see with his first Madden ratings?
During the preseason, Watson was a favorite to be the No. 1 player selected in the 2017 draft if he declared. He had a few ups and downs during the regular season, but in the postseason Watson proved he rises to the occasion in big moments.
On Monday against an Alabama defense chock full of future NFL stars, Watson completed 36 of 56 passes for 420 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions.
That will resonate with NFL scouts, and it should impress the folks in charge of ratings with EA Sports.
For the season, Watson threw for 4,593 yards, 41 touchdowns, and 17 interceptions.
That's a pretty amazing season considering he played for a powerhouse program that was circled on the calendar of every opponent. The newest mock drafts haven't begun to hit the virtual streets just yet, but it wouldn't shock me to see Watson as high as No. 1 on draft prognosticator's big boards.
That could mean Watson is in line to be drafted by the Cleveland Browns at No. 1, the San Francisco 49ers at No. 2, the Chicago Bears at No. 3 or any QB-hungry team willing to trade up to put itself in a position to draft him.
Here's my best educated guess for Watson's most vital rookie ratings in Madden 18.
Arm strength isn't an issue for Watson. He can make all the throws necessary to be successful in the NFL.
He deserves a 92 in Throwing Power. The accuracy ratings will be a little less gaudy. He'll get dinged for the 17 picks.
Perhaps the biggest criticism of him is his inconsistent throwing accuracy. The zero-pick performance against Bama will help, but expect an 87 in Short Accuracy, 83 in Medium Accuracy and a 77 in Deep Accuracy.
Watson's mobility was a big deal in the National Championship Game. His ability to throw on the run is one of his best assets. An 80 rating in that area seems logical.
Watson doesn't run like Michael Vick, but his speed is a real weapon.
Coming out of high school, his 40-time was clocked around 4.64. That's plenty fast enough to make a play with his legs. Let's give him an 80 in speed, but his elusiveness is slightly more problematic for defenders than his straight-line quickness.
That's why I expect his Agility and Acceleration ratings to be an 83.
Rookies almost always have modest Awareness ratings in Madden. Watson won't be any different. A 79 in this category seems appropriate. The good thing is when you're controlling him, the Awareness rating is irrelevant.
With these ratings in the most vital areas, Watson should be an 80 or 81 overall.