40: 5.20 (estimated)
Has nice technique and footwork, and sets up well. Shows ability to redirect pass rusher outside. Has a decent punch as a run blocker. Does a good job getting position on the kick out block. Shows some ability to lock on and does a good job finishing his blocks. Has decent pop. Does a nice job getting on the second level, locks onto linebacker or can hit the cut block. Plays with good mean streak and doesn't give up until he hears the whistle. Drives his defender downfield or to the ground.
Needs to improve his punch on the edge and do a better job initiating contact. Whiffs on his punch in pass protection and gets caught overextending. Will lose his feet in a short area. Needs to improve his hand placement. Doesn't do great when asked to adjust in space, and opens up his stance too early. Doesn't have the feet to mirror speed off the edge. Doesn't have great pop as a straight-ahead blocker, and rarely asked to do that. Works out of a two-point stance almost every snap.
Watkins is a solid position blocker with a good mean streak. He has very little experience playing football, as he didn't suit up in pads until 2007, his freshman year at Butte JC. He transferred to Baylor as a junior, and started 25 games at left tackle over the past two years. You couldn't tell that this is only his fourth year playing football when you watch him. Grew up playing hockey and rugby in British Columbia, and was a volunteer firefighter in his hometown, and the reason he went to Butte was because of their firefighters academy. He was the 4th overall pick in the 2010 CFL draft, and he'll be 27 in November.
Because of Watkins limited experience, but solid play, he looks like a natural as a football player. He's not going to play left tackle in the pros, but should be a solid fit inside at guard. I'm not sure his length to impact is that short because he'll have to go from working in a two-point stance on a constant basis, to playing almost exclusively in a three-point stance at the next level. And due to the slow progress of Jason Smith, another ex-Baylor prospect, I'm not as confident that he'll hit the ground running in the pros. But ultimately, he could be a Logan Mankins type player at the next level. He'll fit best in a zone blocking scheme. He's a more polished run blocker because his hand use isn't quite fully developed in pass protection, but his upside is higher in the latter area. I'm not convinced he'll be as good as Mankins at the next level, mainly because I'm not convinced he'll hit the ground running, but I think he can be a solid to good starter at guard. If he takes to NFL coaching, and I have little reason to think he won't, then he could potentially become one of the better guards in the league. His age isn't a huge concern, because guards and offensive linemen can typically play until their 35 if they are good enough. So the team that drafts him should be able to get 8 solid years out of him, most of which should be as a starter.
Watkins could give Johnson a run for his money as the left guard of the future. He's not quite the run blocker that Johnson is, but is an upgrade in pass protection because of his superior footwork. He probably wouldn't be a starter right off the bat, but could be a nice insurance policy at guard in case Johnson doesn't work out, or as a long-term replacement to Dahl or Blalock (if both or either return) at either guard spot. He could be a good starter in Atlanta, although he probably won't be an elite guy because he is not as good a straight-ahead run blocker as the Falcons prefer. But eventually, he should be a nice starter for the Falcons before his rookie contract expired and be a solid starter for the better part of his career.
For a team looking for a poor man's Logan Mankins, he might sneak into the latter part of the second round, but is probably more in line with third round talent since he's not a strong bet to come in immediately and be a good starter.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Pass Blocking: 3.0
Run Blocking: 3.0
Mean Streak: 4.0
Scouting reports of the centers, guards, and tackles in the 2011 Draft.
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