Name: OG Danny Watkins
Size: 6'3, 310 lbs
Expected Round: 1st-2nd
40 Time: 5.36s
Career Stats: Click Here. (Two year starter at left tackle after transferring from a junior college)
Strengths: Ideal size for a guard. Plays with a mean streak and a good attitude. Hits with a solid first punch to engage the defender. Led his team in knockdowns in every game his senior year. Good bender with good leverage. Able to mirror his opposition. Strong player who is able to knock back most competition. Good vision to block at the next level. Able to manhandle the opposition in run defense. Great amount of upside since he's only been playing for a few years, yet plays extremely well. Willing and able to learn.
Weaknesses: Lacks the quickness to take on elite NFL defensive ends, which is why he should move in towards guard. Old (will turn 27 this November), which means that he'll be 32 at the end of his rookie contract. Inexperienced at the guard slot and is a potential conversion risk. Still learning the game and needs a lot of time in the film room to learn opposing defenses because of his inexperience.
Why and Why Not the Patriots after the jump, and my final verdict!
Why the Patriots?: Watkins is a great fit at guard and has the ability to play both left guard (in the case of a Logan Mankins departure) or right guard. He brings his lunchpail and attitude and seems like a great fit with the rest of the offensive line. He has great upside to go with his solid production, which makes him an ideal prospect to work with Dante Scarneccia. He'll instantly upgrade the interior line and will allow Dan Connolly to go back to his old "do-it-all" role.
Why Not the Patriots?: Some think his age is a problem because Watkins will cost an early pick and most teams want a second contract out of their first round picks- and who will give a long term contract to a 32 year old lineman? He's a project player who needs a lot of work before he can take the field.
Verdict: I really like Watkins as a prospect. He's the best guard so far and, just watching the tape, light years beyond Stefen Wisniewski with respect to upside and the strong attitude he brings on the field. He has a lot more upside than Rodney Hudson due to his frame and the fact that he's still just learning the game. Watkins seems like the typical player the Patriots would take to groom and become an elite lineman. I don't even think the age is a problem due to the few miles on Watkins' tires; he's only played four years. If the Patriots get 5 solid years out of Watkins, in addition to even just a 2-3 year contract at the end, he'll be considered a successful draft pick. I think Watkins is a great fit with the Patriots.