Danny Watkins is a tough, physical, aggressive offensive lineman and former firefighter who has only played football for 4 years. He played left tackle in college, but projects as a guard in the NFL mainly due to lack of length, height and the necessary quickness needed to play outside at the next level. Watkins displays amazing technique for a player with as little experience as he has, which points to his amazing work ethic and passion for the game. He has never missed a game, is mature, and gives great effort on the field. A big concern with Watkins will be his age, as he will be 26 years old when the NFL season starts, and he will be switching positions. NFL teams will have to weigh the risk factors of developing an older player at a new position. Watching Watkins on tape has quickly made him one of my favorites in this draft and he should be off the board early in the 2nd round.
Watkins is good in pass protection, particularly against players coming at him with power. He has good anchor strength and keeps a wide base so as to stay on balance. He plays with extremely strong hands and extends his arms to be able to control the defender with relative ease. He is a natural knee bender who sits in his stance as good as anyone. Against speed rushers he does an ok job extending his arms and trying to run the defender out of the play. He will probably not be able to handle edge speed at the next level. He doesn’t have the experience to hold up to more savvy NFL rushers. He has the tendency to relax his feet too quickly, allowing defender to beat him with an aggressive second move. Watkins shows good lateral movement and enough athleticism to mirror defenders exceptionally well.
Watkins is a solid run blocker, who plays with the kind of mean streak and attitude that NFL teams salivate over. He has great strength and is extremely tough to shed once locked on. He gets under the pad level of the defender well and displays strong, aggressive leg churn to finish blocks. He uses his natural flexibility to keep his hips low and he plays with a good amount of fluidity. He is good in space, locates defenders well and has good balance when on the move. Watkins is not overly quick or explosive off the snap and his combine number were very average. His aggressiveness gets the better of him at times as he can be seen lunging at defenders. Watkins is just an average athlete but makes up for it with good technique and great effort.
While he has learned an amazing amount in 4 years playing football, Watkins is still an inexperienced player who can be beat with stunts and double moves at times. He will be learning a new position in the NFL which may slow down his learning curve a bit. But what Watkins has going for him is he is a mature person with great character and work ethic. He has a passion for the game of football and a drive to be the best. It is amazing he has become such a good technician in such a short period of time, and better awareness is surely to be achieved with more experience.
Watkins general has nice hand placement and even better he plays with strong hands. He locks onto defender with his grip and is tough to shed. He extends his arms really well and controls defenders away from his body. He keeps his hands moving and has a decent initial punch at the point of attack. Watkins needs to work on his second counter attack as his hands can tend to relax a bit after initial contact.
Watkins has good mobility at the line of scrimmage but may struggle with his slow foot speed to get out on the edge and pull as a guard. He did not have to be out in space all that much in college, so this will be a minor concern. He moves well laterally along the line. Watkins is just an average athlete so don’t expect amazing things with this aspect of his game, but he is mobile enough to be effective. As a cut blocker he is quick to the ground and takes out his defender which will be a plus in any scheme with zone blocking concepts.
Generally Watkins has good footwork, perhaps better than expected for a player with such little experience. His kick step on the outside is a bit inconsistent at times, but that won’t be a problem in the NFL when he moves to the interior of the offensive line. He has great leg churn and finishes blocks with his lower half. He keeps his feet moving most of the time, but can have the tendency to stop and anchor his whole body and rely solely on his strength. He moves well in space and doesn’t look awkward or unathletic. Watkins does a good job of getting his feet wide and maintaining a good strong base. This is perhaps what he does best of all.
Some interesting notes on Watkins: He will be 26 years old as a rookie, which is a bit unusual and will be taken into consideration when being evaluated. He has only played football for 4 years. He played hockey and rugby in high school and also spent time as a volunteer firefighter in his hometown of Kelowna, British Columbia. He went to Butte College more interested in their fire academy, and ended up trying out for the football team. He transferred to Baylor after 2 highly successful seasons at Butte College. Although he projects to guard in the NFL, Watkins exclusively played left tackle at Baylor, filling in after Jason Smith was drafted by the St. Louis Rams. Watkins was drafted 4th overall in the CFL Draft by the B.C. Lions.
2010: Played and started in all 13 games at left tackle.
2009: Played and started in all 12 games at left tackle.
2008: Played and started in all 12 games at Butte Junior College.
2007: Played and started in all 11 games at Butte Junior College.
Watkins is a general studies major.
Awards & Honors
2010: Named first-team All-Big-12.
2008: Named a junior college All-American at Butte College.
Prospect Video Clips
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