With the 2013 NFL scouting combine ramping up I wanted to use today's 2013 NFL Draft prospect profile to look at a prospect who is about to be called "the combine's biggest riser." Let me tell you what that means. Players don't rise or fall too much from a NFL team's standpoint during this process, but what happens is that the media becomes aware of a player, and aware of teams' interest in players.
Watson has an interesting story. He grew up in England and was a good basketball player (he signed a Division 1 scholarship with Marist College) and that's what he hoped to do professionally. Watson then played college football at Saddleback College after moving to the United States, where he was introduced to football before moving onto Florida State Seminoles.
Watson has a lot of buzz around him in the scouting community right now because he has the three golden traits for offensive linemen. Size, length, and athleticism. Watson is listed at 6-foot-6 and 320 pounds, but moves like a power forward. Watson has a lot of speed (reportedly been clocked in the 4.7 range at 320 pounds) and can easily get to the second level. His biggest strength is his quick feet, which project him to left tackle in the NFL even though he played on the right side at Florida State. He has good functional strength and is a pretty good run blocker; can play with good leverage in run blocking or pass protection (but doesn't always). Lastly, he is scheme diverse.
Watson is already 24 and will be 25 in December of his rookie year. He hasn't played that much football and you can see it when he has to diagnose blitzes and stunts. He has to continue to improve using his hands and gets "grabby" at times which could lead to some penalties. Good, but not great strength.
Is getting considerable first-round buzz and will be drafted on potential rather than what he is right now.
Player comparison: Tyron Smith (Fieldgulls.com), Jared Gaither (NFL.com), Michael Oher (CBSsports)
He personally reminds me some of Duane Brown, another very athletic and gifted player who took a while to develop, but is now considered well worth his late first round pick (I think Texans fans almost had a revolt when it happened).
Does He Fit With The Giants?
Does Kevin Gilbride run the shot-gun draw on third and two? In all seriousness, Watson is not limited to a specific scheme and the Giants need all the talent and depth they can get at the offensive line position.
Big Board Rankings
National Football Post-I think it's about 190ish (he lists his grade as 4.95e which is in that range, but he's not on the board)
Sports Illustrated-outside of the top 40
Big Blue View Board-not yet ranked (late 2nd-3rd round range though)
Watson is a talented player and should put on a show at the combine, but all teams are already very aware of his physical capabilities. His first love and life-long love was basketball, so it is probably fair to question whether or not Watson loves football, or if he just started playing it because he thought he had a much better chance at a pay-day (he didn't put up good numbers on the Marist basketball team). Also, (and this always worries me, but not everyone else about prospects) he was older than everyone he played against. The physical maturity between a 19, 20, or 21-year-old kid and a 24 or 25-year-old man, to me, is enormous. I've always felt that way. When an older prospect can dominate younger guys because of more strength and athleticism it doesn't surprise me all that much. Watson is talented, but I think he's going to come off the board (and he might even be in play for the Giants at 19 after the combine, though that could be a bit of a long-shot) much sooner than I would select him.
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