From General Manager Arimaris: I had a list of 15, FIFTEEN, players that I would have taken with this pick. My belief was that one of them had to fall to me and I would just write up something witty and interesting about them. Yet as it is in the NFL Draft, that did not happen. When the last option left was taken at pick 31, I realized I had to dig some more.
From my research and their history the Packers will take on the best player available within their needs. They tend not to reach often letting the draft come to them. I also found that at this point in the draft their list of needs is actually very long. O-line, LB, DB, WR, RB, TE all need depth and even potential starters. Because of this I went with a wide net and decided to look at any possibility who wasn't a serious reach. In the end I feel that Watkins is that choice.
His major flaw is age. He is 26 and will be a 27 year old Rookie who still needs to learn some things. His major strength, he is a 26 year old who will be willing to learn some things. The Packers can bring him in and work on developing his skills then drop him into the slot he belongs in. He has size at 6'3" and 312 lbs. His measurables are acceptable for an O=Line prospect. His quick feet and strong run blocking ability make him a likely long term starter somewhere on the offensive line. He has played left tackle at Baylor earning 2nd team all Big 12 his Junior year and 1st team his Senior year showing that he is impressive at a position where it is an eye test for these honors more so than who has the best statistics.
There are valid concerns and I know a lot of individuals who take time to look into draft picks can think of other alternatives for this pick. Akeem Ayers and Brandon Williams were the two I thought of. I also considered reaching out and setting up a trade where I pick up a couple of draft picks. The challenge there was that I did not think I could stay high enough to grab a solid player and/or get a good value for my pick.
Because of Watkins short arms and age his celling is lower than some of the other potential options. He is not going to become the next Gary Zimmerman unless some kind of miracle happens. The other side of this is that he comes in with real ability to be a top tier Right Tackle or Offensive Guard who will have a solid if unspectacular career. This kind of player is the kind every team needs a large group of to both be competitive and remain competitive for the long term.