Pick Six Podcast: Why Deshaun Watson should be part of any 'Top 25 under 25' ranking
Sean Wagner-McGough joins Will Brinson to defend his 25-under-25 list, and the Times-Picayune's Larry Holder talks Saints
Up on this very website, there is an extremely interesting "Top 25 players under the age of 25" list written by my colleague and friend Sean Wagner-McGough. There's one problem: Deshaun Watson isn't on it.
OK there is more than a single problem with the list, but that's my biggest beef, after Watson, who was a first-round pick for the Texans last year, lit the league on fire for a quarter of the season. He was so good he stormed past Kareem Hunt in the OROY discussion, did not pass go, did not collect $200 and went straight into the MVP discussion before an ACL tear ruined his season and took away yet another nice thing from the NFL season.
And yet, he's not on this list. Why? Sean joined the Pick Six Podcast -- subscribe here for a daily dose of NFL podcasting: via iTunes | via Stitcher | via TuneIn | via Google Play -- to explain himself and basically tried to sell me on some Josh McCown analogy.
"It comes down to small sample size. He played in seven games last year and it's not like he was great for seven games. He was great for four or five of those games," Wagner said. "In 2013, Josh McCown played maybe the best stretch of football we've seen from any quarterback that season and as a Bears fan, I remember articles being written about Josh McCown becoming the Bears long-term quarterback and that they should keep Jay Cutler on the bench.
"So I guess I'm just a little bit wary of guys who performed well for less than half a season. So I think we should cool it a bit on Deshaun. I'm not saying Deshaun won't be good, I just need to see a little bit more. It's the same reason I left a guy like Reuben Foster off the list. He played 10 games. What do you know about 10 games?"
SHENANIGANS, I SAY. There is a valid point here, because it's unfair to just throw anyone with tons of potential on the list. The whole point of a "best player under 25" is that they have performed to a higher standard already in the league. Watson's predraft concerns about running a "pro-style offense" (or whatever) could crop up. He might struggle to recover from his injury. But there is production there, even if it's a small sample size. No one in their right mind would take Jordan Howard -- no offense to Jordan Howard! -- over Watson if they were talking about players in the league under the age of 25. The Bears already have Mitchell Trubisky (also not on the list!) and if the Texans called and offered Watson for Howard, Ryan Pace would have the paperwork faxed over to Houston in 30 seconds, while everyone who works in the Texans front office would be immediately fired.
It's not a trade value list. I get it. But Watson as an under 25 player, even in a short sample size last year, looked like a potential superstar.
But I have more questions about the list, as well, like why Jared Goff (less than 5,000 career passing yards) is present when guys like Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota are not. Sean calls them barely top-25 quarterbacks (!), although he walked that back in the podcast a bit.
One could also scream and yell about a lack of JuJu Smith-Schuster on this list too. The 21-year-old Steelers wideout should be present over someone like Howard. Even if the baseline requirement is production, he had almost a 1,000-yards season as a rookie in 2017.
ALSO: I would take Joey Bosa first over Todd Gurley if it's my list. But enough CBS on CBS crime -- you get the point. Sean's list
is terrible needs a little tweaking, but to each his own in this exercise.
Listen below to us break down the list and to hear the excellent Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune break down how the Saints will handle the running back situation with Mark Ingram suspended, whether they can repeat what they did on defense last year and whether they will go over or under 9.5 games in 2018.
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