OWINGS MILS — Baylor offensive lineman Danny Watkins is scheduled to conduct private workouts today in Texas for the Baltimore Ravens and the St. Louis Rams. Watkins worked out for the Cincinnati Bengals and the Chicago Bears last week, according to the Baylor athletic department. He’s also slated to work out for the Denver Broncos this week.
Among the other NFL teams that have displayed interest in Watkins: the Green Bay Packers and the New England Patriots.
Watkins has been drawing late first-round grades and early second-round grades from most draft analysts.
The 6-foot-3, 310-pound native of Canada is a former firefighter and hockey player from British Columbia who took up the game of football in junior college.
"After high school, I started at a fire department, that’s what I wanted to do," Watkins said at the NFL scouting combine. "I did that for four years and after I moved to a school in California to advance my career as a firefighter. I talked to the football coach at Butte and after two years of playing football I enrolled at Baylor for two seasons and things have taken off."
He’ll be a 26-year-old rookie after working as a firefighter before enrolling at Butte Junior College in California.
"Well, I don’t have arthritis so I feel pretty good," Watkins said with a laugh. "I was one of the first guys out of my physical. I’m a little more mature than the other guys. I don’t think it’s a negative."
Watkins was named first-team All-Big 12 last season, registering 134 knockdown blocks and grading out at 90 percent on coaches’ film as far as carrying out his assignments.
The former rugby player draws high marks for scouts for his aggressiveness, technique and strength as a drive and pass blocker, as well as his personality and leadership qualities.
Watkins excelled at the Senior Bowl, boosting his stock.
He projects to offensive guard in the NFL after playing tackle at Baylor.
"I moved inside at the Senior Bowl and if felt pretty good," Watkins said. "Teams ask where I want to play and I tell them wherever you feel I best help the team."
Playing hockey may have helped Watkins in his development as a football player.
"I think a lot of it did, a lot of knee bend," Watkins said. "The way you put your feet in the run game is similar to skating. Obviously moving backwards in hockey was very natural to me and in pass protection. A lot has been able to carry over to my benefit.
"I played hockey and rugby in high school, those were the sports to play. Never really watched football, I watched the Canucks and that was it."
Meanwhile, Ravens linebackers coach Dean Pees is scheduled to meet with University of Georgia linebacker Justin Houston next week before his campus Pro Day workout. Houston is projected as a late first-round pick to an early second-round target.
Houston also has a workout for the Atlanta Falcons later this month.
Houston recorded 56 tackles and 10 sacks last season to rank second in the Southeastern Conference in sacks. He’s regarded as a 3-4 outside linebacker candidate who could also play defensive end in a 4-3 scheme.
Over the past two seasons, Houston registered 17 1/2 sacks.