Special to Argonauts.ca
TORONTO - Toronto Argonauts' import, starting cornerback, Patrick Watkins is still adjusting to his new life in the Canadian Football League following five weeks of play in his rookie season.
The 29-year old Tallahassee, Florida native is coming over from the NFL where he spent four seasons with the Dallas Cowboys from 2006-2009, and one shortened season with the San Diego Chargers in 2010.
While he has had a solid start to his CFL career with the Argos, and says that it’s all about going out and playing football, he admits that he is indeed adjusting to the Canadian style of play.
“I’m still adjusting to the bump and run coverage because we have to give that yard off, so I’m having to use more technique and foot movement," said Watkins.
Currently, he leads the Boatmen in tackles and has already generated two turnovers for his defence in four weeks as the starting cornerback.
Watkins attended Florida State University prior to being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the 2006 NFL Draft.
At Florida State, he played in 49 consecutive games and started in 23 from 2002-2005 with the Seminoles. In 2003, he earned his first career start in college football against Miami University in the Orange Bowl, recording 9 tackles in the contest.
In 2004, Watkins started all twelve regular season games for Florida State and finished the season tied for second in the ACC with four interceptions. Pat’s final year with the Seminoles was truly memorable. Watkins helped Florida State capture the ACC Championship and led them to the Orange Bowl where they were defeated in a triple overtime thriller by Penn State University. He finished ranked third on the Seminoles with 77 tackles in his final season at Florida State in 2005.
From his days in college to his time in the NFL, Watkins has played the safety position for virtually his entire professional football career. However, since coming north of the border to the Argonauts, the coaches decided that he would best fit their defensive schemes as a cornerback.
At six feet, 5 inches tall and 205 pounds, Watkins has good size, speed, and strength to be able to keep up with the very quick receivers in the CFL. He also has great ball skills and jumps at any opportunity that can result in a turnover for his defence.
“I feel like, with the yard off the line, I can get an advantage on the receivers in the CFL,” he said. In Week 2 against the Calgary Stampeders, Watkins definitely showcased his potential as he recorded 9 tackles and an interception, which he returned 58 yards to give his offence great field position deep in Stampeders territory.
“It’s been a lot of adjustments on the fly. The coaches have brought me along and they’ll continue to work with me," said Watkins.
He attributes his CFL rookie season success to his coaches and all the hard work that they have been putting in to make sure that he can succeed every single time he steps out on to the football field.
Right now, he seems to have a very bright future in the CFL with the Argonauts, and he is undoubtedly doing a phenomenal job at learning how to play the game of football, the Canadian way.