After adding Mr. Grimm a few picks earlier, the Buccaneers finally made a bona fide move to add depth to their linebacking corps, nabbing OLB Dekoda Watson from Florida State. Being the football junkie and Hurricane grad that I am, I've watched Watson play on a few occasions, and based on what I've seen and where they drafted him, I think Dom and Rah got another quality football player at a premium value.
At 6'1, 240 pounds, Watson has an outstanding combination of size and speed for an NFL linebacker, which allowed him to tally 13 TFLs and a team-leading 6.5 sacks last season, garnering 2nd-team all-conference honors for Watson. In fact, it's a bit of a minor miracle that Watson dropped to the end of the draft, as he rated in the top-4 for all LBs at the combine in most of the workout categories, including an incredible 4.56 40-yard dash time and 40-inch vertical jump. He has the size to play an inside linebacker position in a 4-3, even though he arguably needs to continue to put on muscle in the offseason and add a bit more size. He has both the lateral and straight-line speed to be a force as a 4-3 outside linebacker.
At this point in time, I'd plug him into a weakside position based on his size, plus speed, and ability to get into the backfield quickly and make plays. He can make tackles coming in from behind the play and give support on plays going away from him. He definitely fits into the quicker, gang tackling mantra generally given to Tampa 2 linebackers.
In short, I'm pretty darn giddy about this pickup at the back-end of the draft by Rah and Dom and can't believe he's going to be coming to the Bucs' training camp this fall. I really like him as a football player. He's got the athleticism you'd want out of an explosive, disruptive defender and might already have more playmaking ability than all the reserve LBs on our roster right now. I really believe that. Look for Watson to start off on special teams right away and work his way into the linebacking rotation sooner rather than later.
For those looking for a little bit more detail on Watson, check out the scouting report NFL.com put out on him here, which includes some video highlights of his play at FSU and his performance at the combine.