In a surprising move this afternoon, the St. Louis Rams have waived oft-troubled offensive lineman, Rokevious Watkins. Known affectionately as “Rok,” the 2012 5th-round pick started off on the wrong foot in the NFL.
Around roughly this same time last season, there were reports that Watkins had reported to camp overweight and out-of-shape. As a result, Jeff Fisher essentially held the rookie out of camp until he was able to pass conditioning. Typically, a mistake that early would send a mid-round prospect down the depth chart. However, as a result of the severe lack of depth on the St. Louis Rams roster last season, Watkins would see the field almost immediately; filling in for Rob Turner, who moved to center replacing the injured Scott Wells, against the Detroit Lions in Week 1 of the regular season. Alas, the time on the field was short-lived, falling prey to the injury bug after playing a mere 37 offensive snaps. After showing up to the following week’s practice on crutches, Watkins’ season came to a screeching halt, being thrown on the St. Louis Rams’ injury reserve.
This offseason had looked bright for the second-year lineman, constantly interacting with his Twitter followers and demonstrating the desire to maintain his fitness heading into OTAs. However, after being handed a one-game suspension by the NFL, Watkins was erased from the Twitter-verse and out our minds… until today.
The news comes as a surprise to most, although the writing may have been on the wall for some time. First, the St. Louis Rams handed 2012 in-season, waiver-wire acquisition Chris Williams a relatively large contract this offseason. Then, they drafted Barrett Jones, who is projected to play either guard or center at the NFL-level. When Chris Williams’ name popped up on the St. Louis Rams Training Camp “projected starting lineup,” Watkins was surely in an uphill battle to make it back into the starting lineup.
The cut also comes in the wake of NFL Training Camp starting back up. In a post-practice press conference, Jeff Fisher mentioned that everyone had already taken their physicals and conditioning test. When asked if everyone had passed, he replied with, “Everyone has finished them, that doesn’t mean everyone passed.”
One might speculate that Watkins have returned to camp similarly overweight and out-of-shape, but little is known about the situation at this point. Jeff Fisher will undoubtedly shine more light on the situation in the coming days. Regardless, we wish Rok Watkins the best of luck in his future endeavors. Hopefully he can find a spot on another squad and work his way into the lineup.