Why new DT Armon Watts thinks Bears are perfect fit originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Every year there are surprising waiver cuts. Guys who appear to be locks to make a 53-man roster suddenly have their lives uprooted, and must work to assimilate with a new team in a short amount of time. New Bears defensive tackle Armon Watts fit that bill this season.
“For me it was crazy, because it kinda took me completely off guard,” Watts said about the whirlwind of getting cut by the Minnesota Vikings, then being claimed by the Bears 24 hours later. “I was a starter in Minnesota, so not making their 53-man took me completely off guard.”
Watts was a sixth-round pick in the 2019 draft. Over his first two seasons, played in 23 games and started one. He was a modest contributor on defense, with two sacks, one forced fumble, 44 tackles and three QB hits over those 23 games. But last season, Watts took a big leap in his development. He played in all 17 games, and started nine of them, and notched five sacks, two forced fumbles, 46 tackles and 10 QB hits. Watts notched career highs in practically every category relevant to his position, and yet he found himself on the outside looking in when the Vikings set their roster. Part of that probably has to do with the fact that Minnesota is switching their defense from a 4-3 to a 3-4, but since the Bears made the opposite switch this summer it was a no-brainer to bring Watts into Halas Hall.
“With Armon, I think big, long, fast, athlete, motor,” said Alan Williams. “So those are all things that we like, and we’ll wait to see how we plug them in, but those are good traits to start with.”
“Just an athlete,” said Matt Eberflus. “He's an athlete that stays on his feet. He's got really good rush ability, which is what we're looking for in there, but he's also got anchor to stay in there and anchor the point. He's a really good addition and we're excited to get him and we're excited to work with him and his pass rush– even to get better and learn our style.”
Now that Watts is here, he’s happy to be a Chicago Bear. He likes Eberflus’ and Williams’ style.
“I think it’s the perfect defense for me,” Watts said. “I think they’ll get a lot out of me.”
Both Watts and Bears coaches believe he can play either three-technique or zero/one-technique. The depth chart reflects that, with Watts backing up both Justin Jones and Angelo Blackson. As for what he envisions for himself, Watts said he’ll line up wherever the coaches tell him to play. From there, his goal remains the same.
“Just being able to attack and use my skillset in the pass (rush).”
Eberflus is no stranger to waiver claims making big impacts on his defense. Kenny Moore went from waiver wire pickup to Pro Bowler in Eberflus’ Colts defense. A rise like that is hard to predict for anyone, not just Watts, but Watts will have every opportunity to make a big impact in the middle of the Bears defensive line.
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