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Derek Watson

RB | (6-0, 223, 4.61) | South Carolina State
By Pro Football Weekly

Notes: High school All-American and the best high school player in the state of South Carolina. Started four games at tailback in 1999 as a true 18-year-old freshman. Named second-team All-Southeastern Conference by the Associated Press in 2000. Had some injury and off-the-field problems that limited him in '01. Was dismissed from the South Carolina team after being convicted of a marijuana charge in '02. Transfered to South Carolina State in '02. In 1999, Watson carried 111 times for 394 yards, caught 10 passes for 55 yards and returned 25 kickoffs for 537 yards. Rushed 187-1,066-11 and caught 21-181-2 while returning 13 kickoffs for 381 yards in 2000. Off the field, Watson was suspended in December 2001 as a result of traffic charges. He also was in trouble for allegedly threatening a referee who ejected him from an intramural basketball game and was accused of punching a woman. Played seven of 12 games in '02, carrying 54-296-3 and catching 6-79-1. Watson missed four games around midseason after being cited for a traffic violation (driving without a valid license). The school suspended him until the matter was resolved in court. Charges were reduced and Watson ended up paying a $100 fine. He was then reinstated and played three games before suffering a quadriceps pull and missing the season finale.

Positives: Excellent cutback runner with top talent. Natural, strong runner who is explosive with good strength, above-average speed and OK size and skills. Outstanding blocker with burst and vision, exceptional balance and good hands. Has good football intelligence and feet. Is powerful, quick, tough and well-built and catches well. Will block and does an excellent job at it. Adjusts and finishes blocks. Really quick in the hole. Plays in the slot, runs over linebackers. Can do it all and will play with good pad level and will break tackles. Has balance and natural hands. North-south runner who can run inside and outside. Can make first man miss. When he runs with his pads low and finishes his runs, he can be a real load.

Negatives: Character is very shaky and a major concern. Has a temper and needs direction. Lacks consistency. Street kid with no parents and a brother in jail. Not special or that fast. Better-than-average hands. Lacks concentration and focus and can't seem to stay out of trouble. Self-destructive underachiever in 2001.

Summary: A hot-and-cold player, Watson can look like a top draft pick or just another player and will slip down draft boards because of his character.

* Player biographies are provided by Pro Football Weekly.