EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings draft had a rugged feel early on Saturday, as Minnesota used three of its first four Day 3 picks on defensive players.
That run included Arkansas defensive tackle Armon Watts, who was taken in the sixth round with the 190th overall selection.
Here are five things to know about Watts:
1. Close with Vikings coaches
Watts played for the West team in the East-West Shrine Game, where he had some extra exposure to Vikings coaches. Vikings linebackers coach Adam Zimmer was the West Head Coach in the game, while Vikings assistant defensive line coach Robert Rodriguez was the defensive line coach for the team.
Rodriguez tweeted out his excitement about drafting Watts:
2. Finishing strong
Watts played sparingly until his senior season, recording just 14 total tackles in his first three seasons. But he flourished in 2018 as he racked up 42 total tackles (19 solo) with 7.5 tackles for loss, 7.0 sacks and three forced fumbles while starting 11 games.
3. Like a Viking
Watts was compared to current Vikings defensive tackle Shamar Stephen in NFL.com writer Lance Zierlein’s pre-draft profile on the defensive lineman.
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.”
4. Fan favorite doubles up
Watts earned a pair of awards from the Little Rock Touchdown Club in January. He won the Dan Hampton Award, which is given to the top college defensive lineman in Arkansas. Watts was also the winner of the Paul Eells Award for character and perseverance.
One of Watts’ biggest fans wished him well on his path to the NFL.
5. Prep career
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.