Watkins, a cornerback from the University of Florida, was selected with the 101st overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the first pick of the fourth round. Watkins was touted for his versatility as he could play cornerback or safety.
Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis answered the important question of where Watkins will play with the Eagles. "Right now Jaylen Watkins will work just at cornerback and nickel," Davis told reporters. "We could grow him to play safety eventually, has the skillset."
Watkins started 28 career games in Gainesville with 22 of the starts coming at cornerback but shows versatility making six starts at safety. Football runs in his blood as he is the half-brother of fourth overall pick Sammy Watkins out of Clemson.
The 21-year-old is a strong defender with the ability to stay with receivers and transition out of his backpedal fluidly. Watkins can sometimes get beat but flashes another burst of speed to recovery quickly. He has the ability to play at top-speed running a 4.41 40-yard dash. Watkins is aggressive when the ball is in the air. He reads passes quickly and takes good angles to the ball but doesn't finish interceptions as often as elite cornerbacks are expected. All of this is true for Watkins as a safety as well and he shows strong range in pass coverage at the safety position.
Watkins is a strong defensive back. He put up 22 reps on the bench press at the scouting combine one short of Southeast Louisiana's Todd Washington who lead all defensive backs with 23 reps. Watkins sometimes struggles with translating his strength to the field in terms of play against the run but he doesn't lack in the physicality and aggression department. He is not afraid of a big hit and does a good job of getting off/through blocks and getting to the runner. One thing Watkins does well is tackle as he is a sure tackler which is uncommon these days in the NFL.
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