Talk about culture shock.
At Florida State, free safety Pat Watkins played for legendary
Seminoles head coach Bobby Bowden, who charms media and fans alike
with his "Andy Griffith with a degree in football" style.
After being drafted in the fifth round of last weekend's draft,
Watkins now gets to play for the ultimate anti-Bowden. In Bill
Parcells, Watkins will play for a coach who once referred to Terry Glenn as "she" while questioning Glenn's toughness, and has been
known to make a kicker slink away to the bench with an icy stare
after a missed field goal.
"Oh, man, they couldn't be more different," Watkins said. "But Coach
Bowden is a great coach, and Coach Parcells is a great coach. How
much better can it get?"
Watkins doesn't exactly look the part of a typical safety. At 6-
foot-5 and 211 pounds, the lanky Watkins looks more like Rip Hamilton
than Ronnie Lott. But contrary to some pre-draft reports and the
draft-day speculation of Mel Kiper, the NFL's tallest safety said he
was never approached about the idea of bulking up to play outside
"No, nobody talked about that," he said. "A couple of people said I
could play wide receiver, but just about everyone saw me as a safety.
That's what I am: a safety."
While not an overwhelming hitter, at least until he adds more bulk,
Watkins offers a rare blend of height and quickness for the position,
and is the classic "center field" type of safety, one who can play
deep and close on receivers to knock the ball away or make the
Because of his talents, Watkins said he was surprised to slip all the
way to the fifth round, adding that it will serve as an extra
motivation for him -- and that he landed with the best possible team.
"I definitely thought I was going to go higher," Watkins said. "But
that's OK -- I'll just keep that in the back of my mind. But Dallas
is where I wanted to be. I grew up rooting for the Cowboys. Living in
St. Pete (St. Petersburg, Fla.), I was right across the bridge from
Tampa, so I was a Bucs fan, too -- I always wanted to be Derrick Brooks. But the Cowboys, they were always my favorite team. I wish
I'd gone higher in the draft, but ending up here, it couldn't have
ended up any better."
By landing with the Cowboys, Watkins now has an opportunity to pair
up in the same secondary with one of his idols, Roy Williams.
"He came in and sat in on a meeting, and I couldn't stop staring at
him," Watkins admitted sheepishly. "I was kind of star-struck. I was
How soon he gets the chance to play in the backfield with Williams
remains to be seen, but Watkins believes he has the tools needed to
become the perfect complement to the Cowboys' star strong safety.
"I'm a pretty talented player, and I have the heart of a winner," he
said. "I might have gone in the fifth round, but I'm going to show
everyone I'm not a fifth-round player."
Pat Watkins: Turn Up the Intensity
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