A 26-year-old former firefighter in Kelowna, B.C., Baylor offensive lineman Danny Watkins played two seasons at left tackle for Baylor, replacing No. 2 overall pick Jason Smith two years ago. At 6-foot-4, 310 pounds, Watkins projects more as a guard at the next level, and doesn’t consider his age a hindrance in terms of where he will get drafted.
Watkins talks to reporters in the audio above (I apologize in advance, the audio is a little rough).
“Well, I don’t have arthritis so I’m feeling pretty good,” joked Watkins, when asked if league scouts were concerned about his age. “I don’t think so. I was doing my physical today, and I was one of the first guys out of there.”
Watkins is considered a fringe, first-round guy whom the Seahawks could consider selecting at No. 25 to fill their need for an interior offensive lineman. The other player is Florida center Mike Pouncey, who did not make it to the media center today, but likely will speak to reporters on Friday.
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“I moved inside in the Senior Bowl and it felt pretty good,” said Watkins, talking about his experience playing guard. “When these teams ask me where I want to play, I tell them wherever you feel I can best help benefit the team.”
“The X-factor of waiting for the end to come to you and close that distance is gone,” said Watkins, when asked what he liked about playing guard. “I mean he’s right there, and you can get your hands on him and roll him up, get him moving or whatever you want right away.”
Watkins never played football in high school. Instead, he played hockey and rugby growing up, more popular sports north of the border, and never even considered playing football. Watkins said he was a defensemen in hockey, but at 270 pounds his senior year in high school, he understood there was little chance of making it to the NHL.
“I never especially cared to watch football. I watched the (Vancouver) Canucks, and that’s about it,” Watkins said.
After high school, he went embarked on a career as a fire fighter, working at a fire station in his hometown for four years.
But his life changed when he attended Butte Junior College in Northern California to pursue a fire science degree. Coaches there saw his potential, and coaxed him to turn out for the football team.
As they say, the rest is history. Watkins earned All-American status after his sophomore year, leading to Baylor recruiting his services.
Watkins is known for playing with a nasty disposition, but still had enough athleticism and foot speed to play offensive tackle for the Bears.
Hudson is considered a second or third-round prospect. Hudson’s main concern is gaining weight in order to show NFL teams he could shoulder the load inside. Hudson played effectively at 285 pounds at left guard during his final year at Florida State. He played at 291 pounds during the Senior Bowl last month, and came in at 299 pounds today for the combine. Hudson said his goal is to get up to 305 pounds for his first season in the league.
Hudson said he’s also willing to move to center. He hasn’t played there in a game, but he practiced there frequently at Florida State. Hudson was an Outland Trophy finalist and named to the All-American team by the Associated Press.
Hudson’s considered a technician who plays bigger than his size would indicate. Both players are guys the Seahawks will eye closely as they continue to look to add depth up front through the draft.