NFL Draft Scouting Report: Armani Watts, S, Texas A&M
Texas A&M safety Armani Watts is profiled ahead of the 2018 NFL Draft.
You are watching: Watts, armani texas am nfl draft profile
Position: SafetyHeight: 5"11"Weight: 202Year: SeniorHometown: Forney, TXExperience: 4-year starter
40yd dash: DNPBroad jump: 120 in.Vertical: 35 in.3-cone: 7.25 s20yd. Shuttle: 4.37 sBench Press: 13 reps
Watts was able to put together a very productive four-year career at College Station. Living up to his four-star recruiting status out of high school, Watts was able to win the starting free safety job as a freshman and never relinquished the role. Throughout his football career he’s gained the reputation as a turnover-creator and a playmaker, intercepting nine passes his senior year in high school and being named first-team All-State in Texas 4A.
He continued to make plays in his college career, intercepting 10 passes, deflecting 17 more, forcing five fumbles and recovering seven. He just seems to find the ball, even blocking two kicks his in 2017.
Despite missing four games his junior year, Watts tallied at least 55 total tackles in each of his college seasons, and he led the SEC with 83 solo tackles his sophomore season. His ability to make plays near the line of scrimmage improved throughout his career, racking up 24 total tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. In 2017 he was named second-team All-SEC and third-team AP All-American.
Watts made the first eight starts of his junior campaign before being sidelined with a broken leg, missing the rest of the season. Otherwise, he remained healthy throughout his 45-game college career.
2017 Stats: 87 tackles (58 solo), 10.0 TFL, 0.5 sacks, 4 INT, 5 PD, 3 FF, 2 FR
Athletic Ability: 4.0/5.0
Although Watts’ combine numbers weren’t eye-popping, his tape shows that he’s a fluid, rangy athlete who shouldn’t have any problem covering ground as a single high safety at the next level. He’s able to change direction well enough to match up with slot receivers and running backs if they motion out of the backfield, and although he doesn’t appear to have elite top-end speed, it’s at least above average. His quick first step and loose hip swivel should allow him to continue making plays in the NFL.
He displays the ability to stay with receivers in both man and zone coverage and has quick feet that allow him to play in space. His awareness is very good in zone coverage, allowing him to anticipate route combinations and make early breaks on the ball. His 10 career interceptions are evidence of his instincts in coverage, but he can be a little too aggressive at times when trying jump routes, making him susceptible to double-moves. He may have to fine-tune his balance between freestyle playmaking and individual responsibility in coverage, but the tools are all present to be molded by the right coaching staff.
Ball Skills: 4.0/5.0
Watts got his hands on 27 passes in his college career, showing a good ability to break on the ball. Despite his smallish frame, Watts showed he can defend jump balls and deep passes, utilizing good timing and a solid vertical leap. He does a good job locating the ball and made a few interceptions simply by adjusting to off-target throws better than the intended receiver.
The biggest problem for Watts is his consistency as a tackler. While he shows the aggressiveness and willingness to be physical and deliver hits, his form is erratic and occasionally dangerous. He does have a knack for slipping around/under blockers when trying to stop the run, and he got better at finishing those plays later in his career. But too many times Watts seemed content to either dive and swipe at the ball-carrier’s ankles or lower his head without wrapping up. He needs to keep his head up better while attempting to tackle, both for his own safety and to prevent misses.
When he’s the second man to the ball he delivers a solid thump, but he was unreliable in making stops in space. His pursuit angles are sometimes too aggressive near the line of scrimmage, but he does a pretty good job containing plays downfield. He’s definitely not a lost cause as a tackler, however. As long as he’s willing to be coached and get stronger, he could be an adequate tackler at the next level.
This is where Watts shines—he has a rare feel for making the big play. Whether it’s leaving his own coverage area to break on throws or ripping at the ball to force fumbles after the ball-carrier is wrapped up by his teammates, Watts seems to always have the big play in the back of his mind. He simply has a knack for the ball, much like Tyrann Mathieu did coming out of LSU. Watts even made two game-clinching overtime interceptions for the Aggies. His flair for the big play in big moments will make him a tempting prospect for NFL front offices.
See more: Trail Glades Range,Miami Fl Rifle & Pistol Ranges, Trail Glades Range (Miami)
Overall Grade: 3.65/5.0
Watts projects as a middle-round prospect who has some serious playmaking upside. He has the toughness to play special teams early in his career, but ultimately he’ll have to improve his tackling consistency and technique to get on the field much on defense. His penchant for all-or-nothing plays could make him frustrating to coach or root for, but his playmaking ability is undeniable.
If drafted by the Packers:
Watts could be a viable mid-round target for the Packers, who will likely add multiple defensive backs in the draft. If they feel confident in their ability to teach Watts to tackle better, he could be an interesting piece in Mike Pettine’s defense, showing the ability to play in the slot or as a deep safety. He’d likely be a role player early on, but the Packers could really use some game-changing plays from the defense, and Watts has provided plenty of those at every level he’s played on.