Baylor OL Danny Watkins charms the media at the 2011 NFL Combine.
The best interview in my relatively short day at the Combine yesterday was Baylor OL Danny Watkins. If there were an interview equivalent of a 4.2 forty, the 26-year-old did it. Watkins possess a calm, humorous, assuring demeanor and just enough "aw shucks" (doubtlessly part of the Canadian DNA) to be a St. Louis favorites...if the St. Louis Rams draft him.
Age is the only thing limiting Watkins' draft stock right now, and after yesterday it might not be limiting him all that much. Asked if he thought his age was a limitation, he remarked, "well, I don't have arthritis." That was it. Questions about his age quelled with fell swoop. Just enough sarcasm to lightly say, don't be an idiot. Watkins has just four years of football on his body, unlike some seniors heading into the draft that have more than a decade.
Watkins, from British Columbia, did play hockey as a kid. His hockey career ended when he tipped the scales at 270 lbs as a high school senior, a little big even for an enforcer. He did note that knowing how to skate translated directly to playing offensive line, the quicker feet in the run game, the agility of skating backwards made it "all very natural" to Watkins.
As far as which teams he's met with, all of them, or he will meet with all of them. Which goes to show you the value of guards and just how highly regarded Watkins is in the eyes of NFL personnel folk.
Transferring to Baylor from JuCo in 2009, Watkins never played with Jason Smith. He did, however, note the recent legacy of Baylor linemen in the NFL. When I asked him about the opportunity to play next to Smith in the NFL he simply stated "it'd be great."