Los Angeles Chargers: 5 safeties to target after the first round

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Texas A&M S Armani Watts

Armani Watts is one of my favorite safety prospects. I like him just as much as I like Bates.

Watts was a four-year starter for the Aggies. He finished with 59 total tackles, including two for loss, eight pass deflections and three interceptions in 13 games (seven starts) as a true freshman. He started all 13 games as a sophomore and finished second in the FBS with 126 total tackles, including finishing with a career-high 20 tackles vs. Ole Miss. He only had one interception and two pass deflections, but he tallied six tackles for loss and forced two fumbles. As a junior, he recorded 56 total tackles, including six for loss, three pass deflections, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and fumble recoveries and one sack. However, he missed the last four games of the season due to a leg injury. He came back strong and finished his senior year earning first-team All-SEC honors after finishing with 87 total tackles, including 10 for loss, five pass deflections, four interceptions, two forced fumbles and two blocked kicks.

He’s come up big several times for the Aggies. Last season, he sealed an overtime victory for Texas A&M against Arkansas after picking off a pass in the endzone. In 2016, he had another game-ending interception in overtime vs. Tennessee.

It’s evident that Watts has a nose for the ball. He also had the seventh-most defensive stops (32) among FBS safeties and the second-highest run-defense grade (85.8) among draft-eligible safeties, per Pro Football Focus.

Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller is also very high on Watts, ranking him seventh among safety prospects. Here’s Miller’s overview:

“Armani Watts could be one of the best safeties to come out of this class. His athletic ability, field awareness and ball skills make him a dangerous free safety prospect. Concerns over his injury history, size and inability to tackle will scare teams off. There is no doubt he is a ball hawk, though.”

Of the players on the list, Watts is the smallest of the bunch (5-foot-10, 202 pounds with 31-inch arms). Scouts say he’s a gambler and that his tackling ability is inconsistent at best. Like Miller mentioned, he comes with injury concerns. According to his draft profile on NFL.com, he missed games on three separate occasions. And while he looked like an athlete on the playing field, he didn’t really put on a show at the NFL Scouting Combine.

But how he performs on the field is all that matters. And he performed extremely well against top competition. He has the starting experience, production, top-notch ball skills and key traits to become a stud at the next level.

Just watch his highlights and tell me you don’t want him.

Round Prediction: Round 3-5