Player Spotlight: Memphis RB Blake Watson

AutoZone Liberty Bowl - Memphis v Iowa State
AutoZone Liberty Bowl - Memphis v Iowa State / Justin Ford/GettyImages

Position: Running Back

School: Memphis

Age (Draft Day): 24

Height/Weight: 5'9", 195 lbs

40-Yard Dash: 4.39 seconds


A talented running back out of high school, Blake Watson emerged as a force at the collegiate level quickly. After graduating from Green Hope High School, he joined the Old Dominion Monarchs.

In his freshman year (2019), Watson saw significant playing time in 10 games. While his rushing yards were modest at 116 yards on 25 attempts (4.6 yards per carry), he did score his first collegiate touchdown. He also contributed in the passing game with 13 receptions for 79 yards.

Watson took a major leap in his sophomore season (2021). He became a key part of the Monarchs' offense, rushing for an impressive 1,112 yards on 215 carries (5.2 yards per carry) and finding the end zone eight times. However, his receiving contributions remained limited with just 10 receptions for 55 yards.

Watson continued his strong rushing performance in his junior year (2022). He maintained a solid average of 5.8 yards per carry, rushing for 921 yards on 159 attempts and scoring five touchdowns. He also significantly expanded his role in the passing game, hauling in 37 receptions for 314 yards.

Seeking new opportunities, Watson transferred to Memphis for his senior season (2023). He thrived in the Tigers' offense, rushing for a remarkable 1,152 yards on 192 carries (6.0 yards per carry) and adding a dominant 14 rushing touchdowns. His receiving skills continued to blossom, as he caught 53 passes for an impressive 480 yards.


Blazing Speed and Explosiveness: Watson possesses elite track speed, clocking a 4.39 in the 40-yard dash during his pro day. That speed shows on the field and added game-changing explosiveness to the Memphis offense.

Elusive Runner: Watson's agility and quickness make him a nightmare for defenders to corral in the open field. He has a knack for making defenders miss tackles and turning what should have been short gains into chunk plays.

Natural Hands: Watson's background as a receiver shows in his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. He runs crisp routes and has soft hands, making him a reliable weapon in the flats.


Limited Power: While shifty, Watson doesn't have the ideal size for a traditional every-down back. He can struggle running between the tackles and doesn't possess the power to run through bigger defenders.

Pass Protection Concerns: Watson's blocking ability raises some questions. He'll need to improve his power as a blocker to be a reliable pass protector in the NFL. Ideally, he won't be asked to pass protect often and be used as a receiver out of the backfield.

Small Frame: At 5'9" and likely maxed out on his frame, Watson's development might be limited athletically.

NFL Comparison: Lamar Miller

Lamar Miller
Indianapolos Colts v Houston Colts / Rob Leiter/GettyImages

Lamar Miller, like Watson, was a smaller, shifty back coming out of college with elite speed and receiving ability. Miller has carved out a successful career as a complementary back in the NFL, a similar role Watson should excel in.

NFL Draft Projection: Day 3 Pick

While Watson's talent is undeniable, his size and blocking limitations likely push him to Day 3 of the draft. However, a team looking for a dynamic change-of-pace back with receiving ability could find a steal in Watson. Look for him to be drafted somewhere in Rounds 4-7.