2018 NFL Draft Preview: Armani Watts

Armani Watts has been a stud at Texas A&M and will be a great value during the 2018 NFL Draft.

Armani Watts walked on campus as a 4-star recruit and by the end of his freshman year he had already made a name for himself in the Texas A&M secondary. Winning a starting position in fall camp, he racked up a team-high three interceptions and deflected nine passes–the second-most on the team behind senior Howard Matthews. In his sophomore season, he led the team with 126 total tackles, while also forcing two fumbles. He had a productive junior season, but suffered a leg injury in week eight. In those eight weeks, he had 56 tackles (six for a loss), two interceptions, two forced fumbles, and three pass breakups.

Watts is a versatile player. Although he is listed as a free safety, he occasionally plays up near the line of scrimmage at a linebacker position. He’s an excellent run stopper, as he has great instincts to find the ball and get to it. Watching the game tape, he can be seen running across the field to make a tackle, no matter the situation. Even if a few Aggies are in the process of making the tackle, Watts will run the width of the field to help out.

However, although he has a knack for getting to the ball, he needs to learn proper tackling. Too many times, he’ll simply knock into a ball carrier without wrapping his arms around him. He “throws” himself at ball carriers rather than executing a proper tackle. Other times, he’ll engage in a tackle that is too high above the ball carrier’s center of gravity. He needs to learn to get low, lower his shoulder, and get his entire body on a ball carrier. With his ability to pursue a runner, he’d be a scary facet of any defense if he can become an above average tackler.

Many expected him to leave for the draft after last season, including us as we wrote a preview on Watts.  At SEC Media Days earlier this summer, he discussed what went into his decision.

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