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April 28, 2012
South Carolina had a fourth player selected on the third day of the NFL Draft. Surprisingly, it wasn't strong safety Antonio Allen.
Offensive lineman Rokevious Watkins was taken by the St. Louis Rams with the No. 15 pick in the fifth round (No. 150 overall) on Saturday, following in the footsteps of Stephon Gilmore, Melvin Ingram and Alshon Jeffery on the road to the NFL.
If he makes the team, Watkins will join former USC safety Darian Stewart with the Rams.
Unquestionably, the versatility Watkins showed during his career paid dividends for the two-year starter and All-SEC performer. Watkins started all 27 games during the 2010 and 2011 season.
Watkins, a JUCO transfer from Georgia Military three years ago (he redshirted in 2009), started the first five game of the 2011 season at right tackle, the next seven at left tackle and the Capital One Bowl at right guard when Kyle Nunn returned from his back ailment and Terrence Campbell was unable to play due to a leg injury suffered against Clemson.
Watkins started five or more games at three different positions during his Gamecocks career - right guard, right tackle and left tackle. Continuing to showcase his versatility at the next level could be key in a long NFL career for him.
Watkins was one of six former Gamecocks invited to the NFL Combine, a positive development regarding his draft prospects, and ran the 40 in 5.36 seconds. Later, he lifted the 225-pound bar a total of 19 times at Pro Day.
Watkins, who graduated last December with a degree in sociology, dropped down from 345 to 327 pounds in time for USC's Pro Day on March 28.
His scouting report at NFL.com described Watkins as a 'huge' blocker that "can work well in the run game to get movement. He is a big-bodied project at the next level and projects to be a late-round pick for those needing lineman depth."
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