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Senior Bowl: Jaylen Watkins, CB, Florida


Aug 31, 2013; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators defensive end Ronald Powell (7) and defensive back Jaylen Watkins (14) celebrate after they stopped the Toledo Rockets on third down during the first half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings have reportedly hired former Titans defensive coordinator Jerry Gray to coach their secondary. Gray has Xavier Rhodes and Harrison Smith to work with, but beyond those two guys, the cupboard is pretty bare.

Let’s get Jerry Gray some more talent to work with, how about?

One DB draft prospect getting stellar reviews throughout the Senior Bowl process has been Jaylen Watkins (5-11, 194) of Florida. Some scouting notes on Watkins from those in attendance:

Tony PaulineReally starting to like Watkins game.  Made a number of terrific pass defenses and showed complete ball skills.  Fought hard to defend passes and more times than not knocked the ball away.

Turron DavenportJaylen Watkins (CB Florida) appeared to have injured his ankle and was held out of 1 on 1 segments and the rest of practice. Prior to the injury, he was very impressive with his coverage on Jordan Matthews during his first two reps. Watkins is a guy that has helped his draft stock with his performance this week.

Russ LandeWatkins flashed NFL ability during team drills by getting involved in a variety of ways. He stood his ground with Vanderbilt WR Jordan Matthews and broke up a pass attempt from San Jose State QB David Fales. Later, he batted away a throw by Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas. He also forced a fumble coming up in run support, but his most impressive play came in man coverage against a deep route. He was able to pin his man to the boundary with his speed and physicality, leaving the quarterback almost no room to complete the throw.

Lance ZierleinWas excellent in coverage on Tuesday.  Perhaps the best play that we saw all day long was Watkins’ interception during 1-on-1s when he was covering Tulane WR Ryan Grant.  Watkins trailed the route and then darted in front on the deep dig for a tremendous interception.  He was excellent in coverage in every phase of the practice.

Dane BruglerWatkins, who is the older brother of Clemson WR Sammy Watkins, put together a string of positive plays during drills, getting his hands on the ball on a few reps. He showed smooth feet and hip action to quickly redirect and get his body under control to mirror the movements of the receiver. Watkins also did a nice job getting his head turned around to find the ball, elevate and break up the play. He is noticeably lean and his lack of muscle showed up on tape, but he weighed in at 194 pounds and his scrappy style of play serves him well.

Eric FalkoFlorida defensive back Jaylen Watkins took to coaching very well and looked increasingly more confident with each rep. Soft with his hand usage on tape, Watkins progressed nicely with his press technique and earned the praise of his position coach for his improvements. Even when he didn’t land a clean jam, makeup speed and route anticipation allowed him to recover. On such instance, he failed to get his hands on the release, sprinted back in recovery, read the receiver’s post route and located the football for an interception. He’s still not great with his hands and needs to keep a squared relationship to receivers in his off man pedal technique, but he’s an athletic corner that got his hands on throws today and proved himself to be coachable.

Watkins is looking like a 2nd or 3rd round prospect right now. He obviously needs to add some bulk to avoid being pushed around by physical receivers. But he clearly has a tough attitude and by all accounts he’s a guy you can coach up.

Yes, it would be nice if he were taller.

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