Blake Watson’s Draft Profile | Memphis, RB Scouting Report

    Memphis RB Blake Watson is the 2024 NFL Draft sleeper you need to get on your radar. Here's his full scouting report and how he projects to the NFL.

    Every year, we see a sleeper RB emerge as a massive value victory in the NFL. Could Memphis RB Blake Watson be that value deal in the 2024 NFL Draft with his scouting report? Let’s take a closer look at Watson’s game and see what he has to offer.

    Blake Watson Draft Profile and Measurements

    • Height: 5’9″
    • Weight: 195 pounds
    • Position: Running Back
    • School: Memphis
    • Current Year: Redshirt Senior

    Watson’s play on the field makes it impossible to look away. He’s dynamic, he’s versatile — and his background is just as impressive as you’d expect from a player with his kind of ability.

    Believe it or not, Watson was a full-time WR in high school — not an RB. Throughout his entire high school career, he caught 106 passes for 1,885 yards and 25 touchdowns and earned a two-star billing as a WR recruit.

    Watson redshirted at Old Dominion in 2018 but then became a standout kick returner the following year. Old Dominion canceled its football season during the COVID-impacted 2020 campaign, but when Watson returned in 2021, he had morphed into a star.

    Watson racked up 215 carries for 1,112 yards and eight touchdowns in 2021, and in 2022, he nearly matched that rushing production while adding 37 catches for 312 yards and two touchdowns.

    The Monarchs’ yard machine transferred to Memphis this offseason — the same school that produced Day 2 pick and two-phase weapon Antonio Gibson — and with the Tigers, he’s on pace for his best year yet.

    Through five games as of this writing, Watson has accumulated 77 carries for 455 yards and six touchdowns, averaging a career-high 5.9 yards per carry. On top of that, he’s caught 26 passes for 233 yards and a score.

    MORE: FREE Mock Draft Simulator With Trades

    We have the versatile background, we have the production, and we have the highlight reel plays. But diagnostically, what makes Watson a worthy 2024 NFL Draft pick?

    Blake Watson Scouting Report

    Strengths

    • Explosive enough to elongate strides, sear through gaps, and reach the second level.
    • An agile, slippery runner who can sidestep tacklers and recollect his feet with ease.
    • Able to divert outside quickly on runs with his smooth change of direction and vision.
    • Has a size-defying contact balance and can use his midsection to absorb hits.
    • Can churn his legs through arm tackles and pry into open spaces while staying active.
    • A tenacious runner who can contort his body to maintain balance and finish forward.
    • Has titanium rod play strength and can shed grabs and tugs with ease through cuts.
    • Extremely quick processor who can levy successive cuts to weave through defenders.
    • Has elite patience behind the line, using throttle adjustments to erode tackling angles.
    • Can use vision to identify optimal lanes on zone runs and divert without hesitation.
    • Has outstanding peripheral vision and block IQ and knows how to use blocks efficiently.
    • Will press laterally and manipulate DBs into over-pursuing in space before cutting back.
    • Agility, vision, instincts, and balance culminate in truly rare adaptability through reps.
    • An extremely versatile weapon that can use sweep and orbit motions and run routes from different alignments.
    • Can catch passes away from his frame in-stride out of the backfield and reset for RAC.

    Weaknesses

    • Doesn’t have elite size or mass and can’t always drive through tackle attempts.
    • Doesn’t quite have elite top-end speed and burst in open space.
    • Works better with room to accelerate and can’t always clear early contact threats.
    • Non-elite speed and burst prevent him from getting outside on wide zone runs at times.
    • Lacks dominating foot speed and twitch, which can impact recovery on occasion.
    • Sometimes runs too upright through gaps, which can stall momentum at contact.
    • At times, can be more diligent with ball security when working in congestion.
    • Sometimes tries to do too much in the RAC phase and wastes motion laterally.
    • Is at least a willing pass protector, but can improve at sustaining blocks through reps.
    • Sixth-year senior and could be an older-than-average rookie.

    Current Draft Projection and Summary

    On my board, Watson grades out as a potential top-100 prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft and one of the most underrated players in his position. He’s a bit smaller than average and a bit older than preferred, and those factors could relegate him to Day 3 range. But in that range, he’d be a steal.

    At 5’9″, 195 pounds, Watson has awe-inspiring contact balance — both absorption ability at initial contact and tackle-breaking ability with his stable center of gravity, recovery feel, and leg churn.

    Watson’s contact balance is a central part of his game, but on top of that, he’s a masterful tempo regulator who can use his combined vision, processing speed, creative instincts, leverage awareness, and slippery agility to snake through running lanes and create extra yards at the second and third levels.

    On top of his running utility, Watson is a true high-end receiving weapon out of the backfield — a trait derived from his history as a WR. He can run routes from multiple alignments and be schemed touches off motions, and he’s a sturdy catcher who can reset for RAC.

    Watson lacks elite speed and burst, which dilutes his ceiling a bit, and he does run too far upright at times, too. But overall, in a modern NFL where playmaking versatility is coveted, Watson has that to a high degree. And despite his size, his forward-pressing urgency and balance suggest he could command decent volume in an NFL rotation.

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