In the seventh of our Ones to Watch series we’re going to take a look at a wide receiver from Conference USA’s University of Alabama Birmingham, Austin Watkins.
Watkins is a tall receiver, standing at 6’3, and he uses that height to go up and high point the ball and beat any defender trying to cover him. It also makes him a major asset in the red zone, with just under 1 in every 10 receptions he’s made during his college career going for a touchdown.
Far from his height being his only asset though, Watkins is a well-rounded receiver who can run all routes on the route tree, is physically strong and able to hold off defenders, doesn’t drop catches, and has surprising speed for a big receiver. In 2019 he became only UAB’s third ever 1,000 yard receiver, and did those at an average of over 19 yards per catch.
The obvious question mark with Watkins is the level of competition he’s faced – and that’s why his time at the Senior Bowl will be so important. With corners from Oklahoma State, LSU, Georgia and Missouri among others in attendance, Watkins will come up against some stiffer competition and if he can show that he he’s still capable of being a key target then he may well interest a number of teams.
He’s likely to be a day three pick, but could be a guy that the Jaguars, Titans, or possibly even the Seahawks target early on in that day if he can prove himself, as all three squads would surely like to add a developmental possession receiver who can add a red zone threat.