Chiefs stay on defense track with S Armani Watts in fourth round

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Chiefs continued searching for help improving their porous defense with the addition of Texas A&M safety Armani Watts.

Nov 4, 2017; Texas A&M Aggies vs Auburn Tigers at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas. Photos by Thomas Campbell/Texas A&M Athletics

Area scout Willie Davis repeated another common theme among this year’s draft class, hammering home on the toughness of the 5-11, 2015-pound safety.

“He’s not the biggest kid but he’s instinctive,” Davis said. “He knows where to be, he knows where to put players and he’s a tough, tough kid.”

Watts started for four seasons at Texas A&M, serving as defensive captain his senior year. He earned first team All-SEC honors and third-team All-American accolades from the Associated Press. He collected 327 tackles including 24 for a loss with 10 interceptions and 29 passes broken up during this college career. Davis said that experience prepped him to make an impact early in his NFL career.

“I think he’s going to come in an compete, there’s no doubt about that,” Davis said. “It’s no doubt this kid will come in, he’s going to compete for playing time and a starting spot.”

Watts’ instinctual ballhawking ability first caught the eye of Davis.

“He’s getting to the ball because he understands route concepts, he understands if I don’t have a man in my area I can go help somebody else.” Davis said. “This is a guy that he doesn’t necessarily need to be the fastest guy on the field because of his instincts.”

Watts joins a defensive secondary led by Eric Berry, and he relishes the opportunity to play alongside the All-Pro safety.

“Oh, man, it’s a thrill,” Watts said of his new teammate. “One of the best safeties to play the game, lot of knowledge. He’s been in the game a while so it’s going to be real humbling to get under his wing and learn from his experience.”

Analyst Dane Brugler ranked Watts as the 13th-best safety in this year’s draft. He praised Watts for his run defense and improved tackling but believes he needs improvement in pass coverage.

“He checks boxes with his movement skills and awareness to make plays in the deep half of the field, but his cover technique will lead to mistakes,” Brugler wrote in his draft guide.

Davis pointed toward tackling as a room for improvement in Watts’ game. The young safety agrees with that assessment.

“Most definitely tackling angles and wrapping up when tackling, that’s a big thing,” Watts said. “Eye control in coverage, that’s another big thing for me.”

The scouting view of Watts may have dimmed after he posted disappointing numbers during his pro day. He posted a 4.58 40-yard time after adding 10 pounds between the combine and his pro day. He bulked up from 202 to 212 days, but has since trimmed back down.

“I gained some weight to see if I moved better at that weight, testing the waters,” Watts. “I’m already back down to the weight, I went back down right after to my normal weight.”


Matt Derrick is the lead beat writer for Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @MattDerrick.