Austin Watkins 2021 NFL Draft Overview
Position: Wide Receiver
Weight: 209 lbs.
School: University of Alabama-Birmingham
Pro Day Results
40-yard Dash: 4.5 seconds (unofficial)
Vertical Jump: 31.5”
Broad Jump: 9 feet, 8 inches
Bench Press: 18 reps
3-Cone Drill: 7.35 (unofficial)
Short-Shuttle: 4.39 (unofficial)
Austin Watkins 2021 NFL Draft Profile
Austin Watkins, who is the younger cousin of Sammy Watkins, had his football journey start out a little differently than most NFL draft wide receiver prospects. He went to Dunbar High School in Fort Myers, FL. He was still an extremely raw player coming out of high school so he didn’t have much interest from any FBS or FCS schools. Due to the lack of higher level opportunities he chose to take his talents to Dodge City Community College in Kansas. Though he did show flashes of greatness now and then, he still didn’t have the breakout he was hoping to have but he did enough to garner some interest from lower level FBS schools. He ultimately ended up committing to UAB and redshirted his first season there in 2018. In 2019, he finally had the production that he was hoping for as he was one of the top wide receivers in the C-USA. He amassed 1,092 receiving yards on 57 catches with 6 touchdowns. He didn’t have as good of a senior season in 2020 due to inconsistent quarterback play and was hampered with a couple of nagging injuries.
Watkins has been climbing up draft boards lately due to his exceptional performance at the Senior Bowl. He showed that he has elite explosion off of the line and is already an extremely good route runner. His ability to glide in and out of routes as well as his head/shoulder fakes in route stems are what separate him from most of the other wide receivers in this class. You always want to see wide receivers show the wherewithal to catch the football away from their body, and he also does this on almost every play.
Though he shows many exceptional NFL traits, he does not possess great long speed. It takes him a couple of seconds longer than you would like for him to reach his top speed. If you’re looking for a burner outside receiver, Watkins isn’t your guy. Instead, he is more of a possession receiver who makes up for his lack of straight-line speed with twitch and quickness to create separation from defensive backs.
- Exceptional route running ability;
- Strong hands;
- Explosive off of the line;
- Extends arms to catch the ball away from his frame;
- Great separation ability;
- Does a good job of locating and adjusting to the ball when it’s in the air;
- Hand-eye coordination
- Shows a willingness to block downfield
- Doesn’t possess great speed;
- Not a “Big play” threat;
- No special teams or kick return experience;
- One year of true production
- Will unnecessarily jump to catch passes, which limits YAC opportunity
NFL Comparison: Gabriel Davis
Projection: Fourth or Fifth Round
Bottom Line on Austin Watkins
Austin Watkins shows a lot of great potential to be a solid WR3 at the next level. He’s never going to be one of your top downfield threats, but he will be a great addition to a teams passing game due to his natural route running ability and separation skills. He profiles more as a slot receiver at the next level. He’s been a late riser on NFL draft boards, and there’s a good chance that he gets selected somewhere within the round four-to-five range with the potential to be taken even earlier.
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