Has really improved his pad level as well in the pass game, consistently is able to sit into his base on his kick slide, takes compact, balanced steps off the edge and possesses good range vs. speed off the edge. Exhibits good change-of-direction skills to quickly redirect and mirror in tighter quarters. At times will get a bit overextended, but has the fluidity and body control to quickly catch himself, make up for a false step and mirror in space. Doesn't ever really give up much penetration in the pass game and has the balance, body control, range and flexibility to consistently mirror and hold his own in space. Was one of the best offensive tackles I saw in college football all season.
Impression: If he were two inches taller and three years younger the guy is a first-round pick. However, I worry about his length as a left tackle and there is a concern about his age. However, he is a mature kid whose best football is still ahead of him and I think he's a guy who can come in and start from day one as a guard in the NFL and will give a team four-to-six very good years as a starting NFL guard."
Run Blocking: Adept positional blocker, has good strength and attitude to seal his man inside or outside. Plays with a wide base, uses his strong legs to get forward movement. Aggressive and sticks to defenders once latched on; extends arms to push defender back or even put him on the ground. Gets under his man's pads when drive-blocking, keeps his hips low and feet moving. Still learning how to explode from three-point stance. Occasionally lunges to reach his man or is shed by violent hand play.
Pulling/Trapping: Usually not asked to pull or trap from the left tackle position, but his agility gives him a real chance to succeed moving behind the line and into space. Can hit a target when going to the second level and NFL linebackers will meet him to attack the ball inside. Will take to coaching to find inside target and open holes.
Initial Quickness: Lacks the elite initial quickness of typical early-round picks, but combines fair athleticism with very good technique so it does not affect his ability in pass protection. NFL defenders might take advantage with their exceptional outside speed. Gets out of a drive-blocking stance quickly and should improve with time.
Downfield: Has the athleticism to reach linebackers at the next level, and gives the effort to reach multiple defenders in space. Sustains once engaged with upper- and lower-body strength. Might not hit his target due to indecision and being a step slow.
Intangibles: Older prospect (turned 26 during 2010 season) with maturity and work ethic. Full of personality, referred to as "gregarious" in the team's media guide. Canadian national who played hockey and rugby in high school; has two fake front teeth as a result of his work as a hockey enforcer. Worked as a firefighter during and after high school, originally looked into Butte JC because of their firefighting academy. Very raw, only four years of playing experience."
Movement: Baylor didn’t really use Watkins a lot on the move. As a guard prospect, Watkins might work best in a power scheme because he might not have the foot speed to pull and trap. When Watkins does work on the move, he’s really good when he engages defenders. Watkins targets players well and really likes to dominate his opponent.
Pass Blocking: Watkins started at left tackle for Baylor for two seasons (25 starts in total). He played pretty well there because of his strength as a pass blocker. Watkins works a good kick slide and maintains good balance after his first move. Was asked to cut block some and did well enough. For a somewhat inexperienced player, Watkins’ footwork is sound enough to mirror speed rushers to the outside. Struggled some when a pass rusher worked to the inside. For someone expected to move inside to guard, that may be troubling.
Quickness: Most consider Watkins a much better guard prospect because he’s not as classically quick as you want in a tackle. He works his hands with plenty of speed and fluidity, but Watkins has a tendency to sometimes get heavy footed when he’s stationary.
Run Blocking: When Watkins kicked inside to guard at the Senior Bowl, he really showed his potential as an NFL player. He was nearly immovable in run blocking situations and really looked the part. Watkins plays with a lot of toughness in the run game and is a powerful player. When engaged on a defender, they have a hard time shedding Watkins.
Strength: Although it may be a product of his advanced age (26), Watkins has the power to play in the NFL as a rookie. When he sets his feet to hold his spot in the run game, Watkins is hard to push around. He’s strong throughout his frame, and it shows in his playing style.
Technique: If Watkins does move to guard, as expected, he’ll have to learn how to play more frequently out of a three-point stance. He didn’t always fire out of a three-point and will need to quicken up his movement. Watkins has shown he has fine footwork, so this shouldn’t be an issue. Is about as technically perfect in his upper body and arms as you can be.
Final Word: Even though Watkins only played two seasons of top-level college football, he’s the kind of player an NFL team can draft and confidently play as a rookie. A college left tackle, Watkins projects to either guard spot in the NFL. He’s a powerful and aggressive blocker who should endear himself to his offensive line coach. He’s known as a mature, hard worker so it would be a shock if Watkins busted in the pros.
Already 26, Watkins spent some time as a firefighter. He played at Baylor for his final two years of college and did well starting 25 games in the team’s wide open spread attack. Watkins may not be the most fleet of foot blocker, but he’s physical and mean."
Watkins can hack it at the next level.
Watkins stock has risen greatly with his Senior Bowl performance and excellent senior season.
Perhaps Watkins most impressive strength is his quickness and athleticism. He succeeded as a collegiate left tackle because of his speed and agility to handle edge rushers. He can maintain that ability in the NFL, but as a guard. He does a nice job of anchoring down and getting a good knee bend. He gets underneath his defender gaining leverage and using his excellent strength to mirror them. Watkins is quick to get to the second level in the run game, and is strong when pushing defenders back. He is a smart athlete who has a high football IQ.
His short arms and lack of height will cause him to move inside from left tackle. He lacks a true mean streak, and is very raw. He has only played football for a few years. Being 27 years old as a rookie could hurt his draft stock as well. He doesn’t have much room to grow, and he is exactly what you get. While he is strong, he needs work on his initial punch and holding his defender at the point of attack.
His age and position make his draft stock move into the middle of the second round at the very highest. But Watkins is a very talented player and his intelligence will make him more coveted by NFL teams in that 50-70 range. Look for New York (Giants), Philadelphia, Kansas City, Seattle, San Diego and Chicago to be exceptional destinations for him.
NFL Comparison: Chris Snee"
Positive: Fundamentally sound blocker who uses all his assets well. Bends his knees, blocks with leverage, and is patient in pass protection. Makes terrific use of angles, stays square, and seals defenders from the action with good body positioning. Quickly gets his hands up, extends them into defenders, and turns opponents from the action. Plays with great quickness, can adjust to opponents, and knocks them from their angle of attack. Works hard until the whistle blows.
Negative: Average strength and does not get much movement run blocking. Will be 27 years old in November.
Analysis: Watkins is a tremendous story who has played solid football the past two-years. He's a hard-working lineman who is NFL ready at a variety of positions and is a quick learner who should immediately break into a starting lineup this September at guard or tackle."
Negatives: Will stand upright into his stance when pass blocking... Kick step can be a little shallow... Can be a little slow to re-direct... Plays with a narrow base at times but still manages to maintain his balance reasonably well... Allows his hands to get a little high and wide at times... Will be a 26 yr. old rookie."
Strengths: Excellent athlete with tremendous upside. Replaced All-American and first-round draft selection Jason Smith at LT as a JUCO transfer, and more than held his own. Quick feet and fine balance, and good upper-body strength. Sticks to blocks very well once he locks on, and moves well to stay in front of his man. Can handle both speed and power in pass protection. Runs well and can reach the second level. Good cut-blocker. Very solid technician despite lack of experience.
Weaknesses: Not very tall and likely will have to switch to guard at the next level. Lacks lower-body strength and doesn't get push as a run-blocker. Needs time in the weight room. Accomplished but lacks much experience.
Projection: Project who is well worth developing on the offensive line, and should be a mid/late round pick. Likely a guard, but could have some value as a backup who can fill in at OT in a pinch, and would be well-suited to learn to snap."
Quarterback Robert Griffin has garnered most of the attention on offense this season, but it has been the play of Watkins that allowed the Baylor offense to flourish. Watkins has done a superb job protecting Griffin's blindside and a solid job paving the way for running back Jay Finley. The result for the Bears is an end to the 16 year bowl drought.
Watkins is finally getting the credit he deserves for taking Baylor to the postseason. Obviously his lack of experience is an issue heading into the NFL, but it is also a good thing. Watkins will only get better with time. However, many NFL teams will look at Watkins and think time is something the 26 year old does not have. Either way, Watkins is a smart player who should be off the board by the end of the third round."
Danny Watkins, the FireFighter + Hockey Player, has no weak areas to his game: He's a tremendous Croucher, he shows good Power in the Run Game and Strength against the Pass Rush, and he's got the Lateral Agility to Mirror and the Flanking Speed to Pull + Trap. He most definitely needs to Convert from O Tackle to O Guard, and might very well become one of the best.
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