National champion Deshaun Watson would give the Browns an invaluable assist in their search for a franchise quarterback if he were to accept an invitation to play in the Senior Bowl later this month in Mobile, Ala.
Senior Bowl Executive Director Phil Savage has no doubt about it.
"It would be a big deal if in fact this can happen," Savage, a former Browns general manger, said Wednesday during a phone interview.
Savage said he expects to know by the end of this week whether Watson and several of his Clemson teammates will accept their invitations to participate in the Senior Bowl coming off the Tigers' 35-31 victory over top-ranked Alabama in Monday's College Football Playoff title game.
"We're very hopeful that as many of them as possible will commit to the game," Savage said.
If Watson were to commit, he would play for coach Hue Jackson and the Browns coaching staff as a member of the South team. Although he's a junior, Watson is eligible for the game because he graduated early with a communications degree.
The Browns are armed with two first-round picks (Nos. 1 and 12 overall) in April's draft, and they need to determine whether Watson could solve their decades-old quarterback quandary.
"It would be big because they get a chance to work with him up close and personal," Savage said. "They get a chance to really see if they believe that he can adapt to what they want him to do, and, of course, it gives them a chance to really be able to make a comparison between he and some of the other quarterbacks that are out there that they're going to be trying to evaluate."
North Carolina's Mitch Trubisky and Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer join Watson as the top-ranked quarterbacks in this year's draft class. But unlike Watson, Trubisky and Kizer aren't eligible for the Senior Bowl.
Practices will run from Jan. 24-26 with the game Jan. 28.