College: South Carolina
From: Fairburn, Georgia
Weight: 338 pounds
High School Career: Played at Creekside High where he was considered a top prospect in his region…Earned a scholarship to the University of Alabama-Birmingham, where he signed out of high school but ended up at Grossmont Junior College in San Diego.
College Career: After he was unable to qualify to play at Division I level out of high school, attended Georgia Military College in Milledgeville…Started right away and helped Bert Williams’ team to one of the best rushing outputs in the country his first two seasons…was considered a three-star prospect by Scout.com and the 26th best junior college player in the country according to SuperPrep which helped land him a shot at South Carolina…Redshirted his first year in Columbia before becoming a starter in 2010, alternating between left and right guard…Moved to right tackle for his senior season but moved to the left side after an injury in 2011 and became an Associated Press first team All SEC selection and got second team honors from the SEC coaches… Started all 27 games of his South Carolina career…He has 12 starts at right guard, two starts at left guard, five starts at right tackle, and seven at left tackle.
Need to Know: Endured a difficult childhood that saw him moving around quite a bit, a trend that continued after heading to college. But always able to rely on his best friend, current Chiefs safety Eric Berry, who grew up down the street. Watkins refers to Berry as his “brother” and says Berry is one of the main reasons he was able to survive his tough youth.
He Said It:
“I like to do it all but I take pride in the physicality. There’s nothing better than grabbing a defensive lineman and slamming him on his neck. I enjoy it and it’s legal.” – Watkins on what he likes most about football.
They Said It:
“Rok is a big man. He’s overcome a lot of stuff, great story. He’s a very productive player. He’s a finisher. He goes down field and finishes. He’s versatile and can play guard or tackle.” – Coach Jeff Fisher on Watkins.
“He is a large man, about 330, played left tackle, guard, right tackle. With us having a left guard spot opening and his versatility, he made a lot of sense there.” – GM Les Snead on Watkins.
Outlook: With an opening at left guard, Watkins could be the surprise of the 2012 draft class. Proved to be versatile and productive for the Gamecocks but is best projected as a powerful run blocking guard at the NFL level. He’ll have a chance to win the left guard job but if not will get the chance to develop as a versatile backup including a look at right tackle.