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Preseason Scouting Notes: Jamar Watson, EDGE, Kentucky

Senior | 6’3″ 250 lbs | Brandywine, MD

 

An athletic overhang with a quick get off, edge setting ability, and a good speed-to-counter combo

 

Overview:

Jamar Watson returns to Lexington for his senior season as the top returning Wildcat pass rusher. He spends most of his snaps lined up as an overhang off the end of the line of scrimmage in Kentucky’s 4-3 defense, but will also line up in the slot. He chose Kentucky because he wanted to compete in the SEC, and he has done just that in his first 3 years. He has been second on the team in sacks the past two seasons, only being beaten out by Top 10 draft pick Josh Allen in 2018 and Steelers UDFA Calvin Taylor Jr. in 2019. Watson will be a grizzled veteran on the Kentucky defense, and will look to boost his draft stock witha good 2020.

Strengths:

– Quick first step off the ball
– Sets the edge well against reach blocks
– Matches up well with TEs athletically in coverage and as a rusher
– Speed rush to beat tackles around the edge
– Inside counter move when OL over set so catch up to his speed
– Shows comfortability in zone coverage working from curl to flat

Areas To Improve:

– Has not displayed much of a power rush
– Needs to improve hand fighting agianst OL
– Misses too many tackles due to bad form
– Initial punch lacks accuracy and pop
– Hands drift to shoulders rather than remaining on opponents chest plate
– Man coverage skills require fine tuning despite his raw athleticism
– Block shedding is a chore rather than a smooth motion

Injury Concerns:

N/A

Projection:

Watson has the production and athleticism to earn a role as a backup in the NFL. He profiles as a pass rushing outside ‘backer in either a 4-3 or a 3-4, with his best fit being in the 4-3 due to his lower end power. The versatility that allows him to both rush the passer and drop into coverage is what will allow him to earn a roster spot. That said, he will need to display more power in both his run defense and pass rush to earn significant playing time. Teams looking for additional depth on the edge will look to pick him up in the late Day 3 range.

What To Watch In 2020:

Watson will need to fine tune his game in order to make a larger impression on NFL front offices. He displays the athleticism needed to make a roster, but his technique can let him down when it comes time to make a play. He will need to improve his hand usage in each stage of the play via his punch, hand fighting, and release.  He will also need to do a better job of capitalizing on what opportunities he does manage to create by making the tackle and finishing the play. Playing in the SEC will provide him plenty of chances to prove his metal against the best competition in the country, and improve his draft stock if he succeeds in doing so.