DT Carlos Watkins, Clemson

6’3” – 305 lbs. – N/A

Was worked into the defense in a reserve/rotational capacity in 2012 and 2014, missing all but three games of the 2013 season after being a passenger in a fatal car accident. Worked his way into the starting role as a junior. Barrel-chested defensive lineman with a thick upper body and reasonably developed lower body. Plays some different techniques and shifts around from the left to the right side. Fairly powerful at the point of attack, can’t always reestablish the line of scrimmage but is rarely driven off the line himself; very solid anchor in one-on-one matchups, although he could stand to improve his leg drive when engaged and struggles to consistently hold the point when double-teamed. Generally executes two-gap assignments rather than being asked to penetrate into the backfield; will probably be a two-gap player at the pro level as well. Has some ability to shed blocks but isn’t an especially violent player. Overall instincts are adequate; generally tends to flow in the direction of the play but can be sealed inside at times. Gives a good effort when defending against the run, scraping down the line effectively and demonstrating a willingness to pursue backs to the sidelines. More mobile than his frame would indicate, although he’s faster in pursuit than he is explosive off the line of scrimmage. Plays a little bit high; will come out of his stance with a relatively low level at times, but rise as the play progresses. Isn’t much of a factor on passing downs and might be more of a wave or rotational player at the pro level as a result. Doesn’t really beat people off the line of scrimmage and knife into the backfield very often, relying instead on his power to attempt to collapse the pocket. However, has shown the ability to split blockers on occasion. Will work in a swim or rip move from time to time but isn’t a very dynamic or creative rusher; more of the type to seek or be schemed open lanes to the passer on stunts. Gets his hands up to contest passing lanes on an intermittent basis. Generally played on four-man lines, but would occasionally take a snap as a nose tackle or defensive end in an odd defensive front, although he was generally still lined up inside with a rusher in a two-point stance further down the line. Looked reasonably polished even as a first-year starter and offers a high motor, above-average strength, and a solid frame, characteristics which could allow him to work his way into a defensive-line rotation, even though he’ll probably never be a particularly dynamic pass-rusher.

Games watched: Notre Dame (’15), Oklahoma (’15), South Carolina (’15)

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