The Vikings draft had a rugged feel early on Saturday, as Minnesota used three of its first four Day 3 picks on defensive players.In the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft the Vikings selected Arkansas LB Armon Watts.That run included Arkansas defensive tackle Armon Watts, who was taken in the sixth round with the 190th overall selection.
Heading into his senior year, Watts had yet to make much of an impact with the Razorbacks. The three-star recruit from St. Louis red-shirted his first year in Fayetteville and played in 11 games as a reserve in 2015 (two tackles). He spent most of the next two years watching from the sideline, however. Watts played in just one contest in 2016 (one assisted tackle) and five games off the bunch in 2017 (four tackles). He finally earned a starting role in 2018, beginning 11 of 12 games played, and wound up leading the squad with seven sacks among his 49 tackles, 8.5 for loss. He also tied for the team lead with three forced fumbles.
Ascending interior defender who committed himself to the work and took the coaching and went from a lightly-used backup to the center stage his senior season. He is an efficient, downhill rusher with the power and hand usage to pry open opportunities for pressures and sacks. His recognition and response in the run game is behind, but his ability to anchor against double teams and defeat single blocks is NFL-caliber. Watts’s size, strength and play traits should allow him consideration in both odd and even fronts as a future starter.
The Vikings on Friday signed sixth-round pick Armon Watts, a defensive tackle from Arkansas. He got a four-year, $2.689 million contract with a $169,096 signing bonus and will count $537,274 against the cap in 2019.
The Vikings on Thursday signed eight of the 12 players they selected in last week’s draft. Players still unsigned are offensive lineman Garrett Bradbury, a first-round pick, and seventh-round selections Kris Boyd, a cornerback, and Austin Cutting, a long snapper.
Watts signed before the Vikings took the field to begin a three-day rookie minicamp.
“He is obviously a very, very good athlete,” said Vikings coach Mike Zimmer. “He had a lot of production in the things that he did (in college). He has a lot of things to work on obviously. (Defensive line coach) Andre (Patterson) stood on the table early for him in the draft process.”
Armon Watts burst onto the scene his senior season, and never looked back. He racked up 7 sacks, shining amid an otherwise lackluster performance from Arkansas’ defense throughout the year. A true testament to studying technique, and being receptive to coaching, one year in John Chavis’ system changed Watts’ future, and earning him a shot at the big time.
Watts was compared to current Vikings defensive tackle Shamar Stephen in NFL.com writer Lance Zierlein’s pre-draft profile on the defensive lineman.Watts attended Christian Brothers High School in St. Louis, Missouri, where he played three sports for the Cadets. He chose Arkansas over offers from Missouri, Kentucky, Cincinnati and Wisconsin among others.
Zierlein also wrote that Watts is an “ascending interior defender who committed himself to the work and took the coaching and went from a lightly-used backup to the center stage his senior season. He is an efficient, downhill rusher with the power and hand usage to pry open opportunities for pressures and sacks. His recognition and response in the run game is behind, but his ability to anchor against double teams and defeat single blocks is NFL-caliber.”