The Bucs selected FSU strong side linebacker, Dekoda Waton, with the 10th pick in the 7th round (from the Jaguars), 217th overall. Watson is 6’2″, 226 lbs., and runs the 40 yard dash in 4.4 seconds. He was selected 2nd team All-ACC performer last season, in which he racked up 65 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, and 6 sacks, all career highs for him.
Watson is a very athletic linebacker with above average speed but lacks size and strength. He is often stone walled and pushed down by offensive linemen when pass rushing or stopping the run. He has to rely on his speed to get around lineman, but at the pro level, he won’t be as productive using this technique. He is not a sure tackler either, often pursuing runners and waiting on other players to help him secure the tackle. He is good at dropping back in coverage and is suited for a Cover 2 type defense, but will have trouble tackling and lining up with strong running backs or receivers.
So what is to be expected of Watson, the answer, not much, at least not right now. Scouts watched Watson all season, intrigued by his athletic talent, many projected him to be a late 3rd to 4th round pick, but he fell into the Bucs hands in the end. Watson will help provide some depth at linebacker for the Bucs, but is not expected to play much in a starting role, or even as a reserve. He will most likely spend a majority of his time on special teams, using his speed on the field while gaining strength to help him play his natural position. Watson may learn fast and could become a good 2nd unit player, but only time will tell.