Photo of Carlos Watkins
5.57 ?
  • 25 REPS
    Top Performer
  • 6'3" Height
  • 34 5/8" Arm Length
  • 309LBS. Weight
  • 10 3/8" Hands


Five Clemson Tigers left early for the NFL after the 2015 season. Watkins could have gone pro, probably landing in the second round, but he decided to stick around for his senior year to help his team win a national title. That did just that, thanks in part to Watkins' play on the defensive line. He led the team with 13.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks among his 50 total stops, and was named first-team All-ACC and second-team Associated Press All-American at the end of the year. Watkins was a second-team all-conference selection as a junior with 69 tackles, eight for loss, 3.5 sacks and an interception that he returned for a score. The top 10 defensive tackle recruit patiently waited for his time to shine behind Clemson's always-stacked front four, playing in nine games as a true freshman (16 tackles, one TFL). He started one of the first three games of his sophomore year (11 tackles, 1.5 TFL), but redshirted the season due to injuries suffered in a September 2013 car accident that killed the driver, a high school friend. Watkins returned to play 11 games as a reserve the following year (13 tackles, two TFL).



Athletic big man. Shows good movement skills for interior lineman. Operates in twisting, stunting defensive front at Clemson. Good lateral movement and agility creates problems for reach-blocking offensive linemen. Comes off the ball ready to punch and land first with his hands. Has closing burst down the line of scrimmage to challenge running backs looking to make back-side cut. Will stop his pass rush and activate hands in the passing lane when he sees quarterback begin wind-up. Played both nose and 3-technique at Clemson. Substantially more effective player if kept fresh in a rotation. Shows good awareness and recognition against screens.


Top-heavy with excess weight around midsection topping leaner lower body. Struggled to grow roots and stand up for himself against Alabama's powerful double teams. Pad level rises as snap progresses. Powerful guards can get under his pads and turn him out of the gap. Quality of play diminishes rapidly when fatigued. Needs to get early advantage as pass rusher or he won't be a factor. Missing quality counter moves as a rusher. Needs more aggressiveness at point of attack and shed blocker earlier. Motor runs hot and cold. Needs to show more explosive, sudden elements in his game.

NFL Comparison

Sylvester Williams

Bottom Line

While Watkins has had a productive, successful career at Clemson, it is hard to isolate the area of his game that he will call a definitive strength in the NFL. Watkins is athletic and may have rotational appeal to teams that covet active interior linemen. His top-heavy frame limits his anchor at the point of attack and if his motor isn't revved up, he gets put on skates too often against power. Watkins has some talent and his traits are NFL-worthy, but he could end up being a Day 3 selection who will need to play at a more consistent level in order to become a factor as a pro.
-Lance Zierlein
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-8.99 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.50-6.99 Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.00-6.49 Should become instant starter
5.50-5.99 Chance to become NFL starter
5.20-5.49 NFL backup or special teams potential
5.01-5.19 Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
5.00 50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
4.75-4.99 Should be in an NFL training camp
4.50-4.74 Chance to be in an NFL training camp
No Grade Likely needs time in developmental league.