After watching film of Armani Watts, my first reaction was, “Man, this guy can hit!” Watts has been called the hardest-hitting safety in college football before and I understand now. Hitting people hard isn’t all that matters in the NFL for a safety though, so what else does this guy have?
Armani Watts was a four-year starter at Texas A&M playing free safety. In his senior year, he started all 12 games totaling 82 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, four interceptions, three forced fumbles and honored as an AP Third Team All-American. Throughout his career as an Aggie, he’s totaled 324 tackles, 24 tackles for loss, 10 interceptions, and seven forced fumbles. Just his stats alone say a lot.
If you watch his film, you can see that he goes all out for every play. He is able to cover a majority of the field and will fight to strip the ball even after the play is over. When you need a big play, he can give that to you. He had a game-sealing interception in OT against Arkansas and in 2OT against Tennessee, has had touchdown-saving forced fumbles and interceptions and had two blocked kicks his senior year. Watts is an above average coverage defensive back and can make tackles at the line of scrimmage. He is what you need in a free safety, but he has his weaknesses.
The big thing that stands out for Armani Watts when it comes to things he could work on is his tackling. He tends to rely on his hard-hitting instead of technique to make the tackle, which gets him into bad spots at times. He also struggles with man coverage with keeping up with them and being undersized. Watts has also dealt with three different injuries during his college career making him worrisome for injury. He decided to not run the 40 at the Combine, but he had 13 bench reps, a 35-inch vertical jump and 120-inch broad jump. If he can continue to work hard and improve his tackling, he can overcome his size and speed issues in the NFL. According to an AFC area scout, “He will get a lot better at tackling in the pros. Veterans demand more effort as a tackler, so I’m not worried about that.”
Watts’s motor seems to help him to outweigh his weaknesses. Even though his speed and size aren’t there, he is still found wherever the ball is and can make huge tackles. He is the difference maker that a secondary could use in order to get the ball back or make a big play at the right moment. Most sources are expecting him to go in the third or fourth round, but I can see him being a steal in the draft. I look forward to seeing him in top play videos in the near future.