Now that the only sports event of the last month and a half has been completed (yes, it has only been that long), it is time to take a look at what new goodies Elway and company have brought to us. While there is loads of information out there on many of our prospects, there exists little to nothing in regard to our mammoth new LT, Hunter Watts, who was signed as a UDFA just after the conclusion of the NFL Draft.
The first thing to mention is that UCA plays at the FCS level, and the competition they faced at the FBS level (from what I could watch) consisted of Western Kentucky and Hawaii, not exactly powerhouse programs. There is a significant question of the competition he faced.
Watts was measured at just over 6'7'' and 307 lbs with 35" arms at his Pro Day. He is not that athlete that Ezra Cleveland, Josh Jones, or Mekhi Becton are based upon measurables. His functional strength will need to improve at the next level.
The UCA offense is a spread offense, as a result Watts has a great amount of experience working in pass pro, but much less work in the run game. As a run blocker, Hunter is more of a positional blocker than a mauler, though once he engages his man he maintains that engagement until the play has passed. Watts is really skilled at getting and keeping his mitts on his target. He also shows good athletic ability in getting to the second level.
In pass protection, Watts is very talented at mirroring his opponent. He displays ample quickness getting out of the blocks and appeared find himself in proper position more often than not. There were points where he would over set, but I think this was more due to technique and not because he was worried about being physically beaten on the edge. Watts plays a bit too tall, and will need to work on playing with a better knee bend to avoid losing leverage battles. His hand punch isn't jarring, but he uses his massive length to steer defenders clear of the pocket. Powerful bull rushes will be something he needs to work on, he has the size to eat them up IF his feet are in proper position, this is mostly due to how he uses his arms.
All in all, I think Watts is more athletic and more refined in pass protection than Robert Quinn was coming out college. If Watts can show that he can hang with the big boys and with a year of seasoning + NFL level training, he could grow to fill the role of a solid swing tackle. I think he has a solid chance to stick to the PS this year.