Analysis Opinion

Is this the year Armani Watts breaks out?

This season is already setting itself up as make or break for a few of the 2018 draft picks for the Kansas City Chiefs. This is true for Breeland Speaks, Dorian O’Daniel, and certainly 4thround pick Armani Watts. He was selected with a ton of hype, but that seems to has waned in the past couple years. He has seen very infrequent action on the defensive side of the ball, with Pro Football Reference putting him at receiving just 6% of snaps on this side of the field. With the “Honey Badger” Tyrann Mathieu and breakout rookie Juan Thornhill, the roster seems to be set, as far as starters go on the defensive side. Armani couldn’t even break in to the first reserve team, as it seems the Chiefs are using old “Dirty Dan” Sorenson in that position as well. But with the departure of Kendall Fuller back home to Washington, there may be as big of an opening as Watts has seen on that side of the ball.

The Chiefs also spent another 4thround pick on drafting L’Jarius Sneed, who started at corner and safety in college, hoping he will step up and fill the role of the departing Kendall Fuller. This spot is where Watts will need to show his experience over the youth, and make it so the Chiefs can’t cut him from the team. Otherwise it might be another long year for him, seeing 6% of defensive snaps and 67% of snaps on special teams. Armani will have to excel this year, forcing the Chiefs hand and showing his true development that was hoped when he was drafted in 2018. According to SBNation, only 54% of fourth round draft picks make the roster in their third season, with that number dropping again to 34% in year 4 in the league. So even if Watts does force Dave Toub, and his considerable roster contributions, to keep him around for special teams role this year, it appears that he will have to start contributing on the defensive side of the ball in order to make the squad next year.

There you have it, the facts on Armani Watts. When it comes down to it, he is going to need to have a career year not just on special teams, but on defense as well, if he wants to make a career out of this playing football thing. The pressure is on for him to crack the lineup, or even see more than 10% of snaps on D this year, with an opening with the departure of Kendall Fuller and Dan Sorenson getting up there in age. He also heads into camp competing with this year’s 4thround pick, L’Jarius Sneed, who played both corner and safety in college. I, for one, am hoping Watts sees time in the field and can contribute this year, but it appears how much playing time he sees, is up to him.

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