Dabo Swinney: If Browns pass on DeShaun Watson at No. 1, they’re ‘passing on Michael Jordan’

Dabo Swinney: If Browns pass on DeShaun Watson No. 1, they’re ‘passing on Michael Jordan’
Clemson quarterback DeShaun Watson celebrates after throwing the game-winning touchdown in the last second of the national championship game against Alabama on Jan. 10.
(John Bazemore / Associated Press)

The Cleveland Browns would be making a big mistake if they don’t select Clemson quarterback DeShaun Watson with the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft.

That, at least, seems to be the opinion of Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney.

“If they pass on Deshaun Watson, they’re passing on Michael Jordan,” Swinney said Tuesday during a visit to Senior Bowl practice. “I mean, I’m just telling you: I don’t know what the heck I’m talking about, I’m just an old funky college coach, but Deshaun Watson is the best by a longshot.”

Watson led Clemson to the College Football Playoff championship. He is not participating in the Senior Bowl, where the Browns’ staff is coaching the South team.


When asked what he thought of Browns Coach Hue Jackson teaming with Watson in the NFL, Swinney said it would be “awesome” and that Watson would be “the easiest player he’s ever coached.”

Swinney, Alabama Coach Nick Saban, Louisiana State Coach Ed Orgeron and Stanford Coach David Shaw were among the college coaches attending practices at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

Saban was asked how he thought former offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin would do as head coach at Florida Atlantic University. Kiffin, who coached previously at Tennessee and USC, was Saban’s offensive coordinator for two-plus seasons before he was replaced by Steve Sarkisian for the College Football Playoff title game against Clemson.

“Really not for me to say,” Saban said. “It’s great that Lane has an opportunity to be a head coach again, and he certainly did a good job for us in the time he was with us. And we’re hopeful that he has great success there.”


Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @LATimesklein

Get our daily Sports Report newsletter