Carolina Panthers

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney doubles down on Michael Jordan-Deshaun Watson comparison

Deshaun Watson is among the top quarterback prospects in the NFL draft – and should be at the top if you believe Clemson coach Dabo Swinney.
Deshaun Watson is among the top quarterback prospects in the NFL draft – and should be at the top if you believe Clemson coach Dabo Swinney. AP

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney raised a few eyebrows – including those of one his former players – at the Senior Bowl when he compared Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson to Michael Jordan.

“I’m just telling you if (the Browns) pass on Deshaun Watson (with the No. 1 pick), they’re passing on Michael Jordan,” Swinney told reporters in Mobile in January, drawing a sarcastic response from Clemson receiver Artavis Scott, among others.

Swinney doubled down on his MJ comparison Thursday at the Tigers’ pro day, while providing some context to why he used the Hornets owner and maybe the best basketball player in history as a point of reference for Watson.

“Some of the media folks got mad at me because I said if you pass on him you’re passing on Michael Jordan. But I don’t know how to articulate the type of greatness that’s inside of him. And for me that’s what Michael Jordan represents because that’s what I grew up with,” Swinney said at the Tigers’ indoor facility.

“I’m sure when Michael Jordan was coming out of North Carolina his 3-pointer wasn’t very good. And he probably had some flaws, whatever, when you start poking holes on him,” Swinney added. “But it’s who he was, that will, that drive. You can’t coach that and that’s what I want to make sure I articulate. This guy is brilliant between the ears and he’s special in his heart.”

Watson did not run Thursday, but he participated in passing drills and threw several nice deep balls to Mike Williams and Scott.

Joseph Person: 704-358-5123, @josephperson

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