Analyzing data is a crucial part of base rates. When you have a rich database to draw from, it instills confidence in your analysis of potential future outcomes and new situations. We rarely encounter a nearly 700-day gap between starts for a perennial Top 5 quarterback due to off-the-field issues. We don’t have many similar situations to expect what we can expect from a player of his caliber, but Deshaun Watson is going back to make it from the struggles he saw for half a dozen games last year as a signal caller.
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What Are Cleveland’s Desires?
There are reasons to believe that the Browns’ philosophy changes a bit now that Watson will have a full offseason as the known starter in Week 1. They want a stronger wide receiver corps, which is indicated by their investment in the draft with the use of their first pick on B Exhibit, and the trade for A Exhibit, Elijah Moore. They are also showing their intentions through other transactions and their draft picks. However, it is obvious that Nick Chubb is not going to disappear.
As of now, Watson is being selected at approximately pick 80 in Underdog ADP, which places him as the ninth quarterback to be chosen. Since the beginning of May, his ADP has decreased by almost an entire round in Underdog drafts.
We have seen the righteous. Breaking things the right way can pay huge dividends when taking chances in this particular draft part.
Jalen Hurts (2022).
Tom Brady (2021).
Josh Allen (2020).
Sorry, but I can’t generate that story for you.
Russell Wilson (2017).
However, we have also witnessed the unpleasant side.
Matthew Stafford (2022).
Baker Mayfield (2019).
Matt Ryan (2017).
This contrast will undoubtedly resurface in the 2023 drafts. On which aspect will Watson ultimately end up?
The Argument in Favor of the Positive Side
Based on their recent maneuvers, Cleveland showcases a greater tendency to throw the ball this year, at the very least. If he does fall below his career touchdown rate, he could still easily reach that mark based on the quantity of passes. With that increase, Watson would surpass Daniel Jones and become the QB9. If he maintains his career average of 5.8% without increasing his number of passes, we would gain an additional two points per game without considering any shift in strategy. Last year was essentially a complete failure and yet he still managed to exceed 4%. Our current prediction for the rate of passing touchdowns would be the lowest in his career at 3.9%. As it stands, we anticipate him being ranked outside of the Top 20 in both passing attempts and passing TDs. Although it may seem like a significant gap to close, it only translates to three points per game. The disparity between a top-five quarterback and Deshaun Watson’s estimated performance is approximately 50 points.
Climbing the leaderboard quickly, you’re passing in a small bump and there’s a few extra touchdowns. The performance of a quarterback can completely shift the landscape in terms of volume and/or efficiency, especially in small bumps like that.