Deke: A sit-down with Saints TE Big Ben!
When you talk about someone being a true professional, you should look no further than Saints TE Ben Watson. The former first round 2004 Patriots draft pick will be entering his tenth season in the NFL this fall.
“I give a lot of credit to my support group, which most certainly includes my family,” Watson told me. “I’ve been fortunate to play the game this long and I’m very grateful to be able to do so.”
Ben had a unique path to the NFL.
Watson started playing college football for Duke University, but then Ben decided to transfer to play for the University of Georgia Bulldogs. “I got to Duke and then I realized that some of the things football-wise that I wanted to do, like be on national TV and play for a national championship, I needed to go somewhere else.”
So Ben transferred to UGA and helped the Bulldogs get to back-to-back SEC Title Games in 2002 and 2003. Ben became one of the best tight ends in all of college football as he was one of just two players at that position that were drafted in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft.
The success that Ben had in his last two years at UGA and during his first few seasons with the Patriots would make any player jealous. Check out these numbers - In his final two seasons with UGA playing for the Bulldogs, Watson helped UGA compile an impressive 24-4 record with two appearances in the SEC Title Game, one SEC Title and two bowl wins.
Then during his rookie season, Watson and the Patriots won 17 games with just two losses as they beat the Eagles 24-21 in Super Bowl XXXIX. So when you put a pencil to those numbers, Watson was 41-6 with three bowl wins in three seasons.
What makes Ben so interesting is his love for the game and his intelligence. It has been reported that Ben Watson scored a 48 on his Wonderlic Test which many feel is a test that test the intelligence of athletes. And, oh yes, the highest you can make on the test is a 50!
Ben sat down with me and Bobby and talked about his professional days in the NFL. Watson said that being a good blocker is a must at the tight end position and he spoke highly of fellow TE and new teammate Jimmy Graham.
“A tight end like Jimmy creates so many mismatches. He has so much talent and he wants to get better. And that’s a great thing.”
Watson and Graham have both looked good at practice this training camp, leading many to believe that the two could become one of the best one-two punches at TE in the NFL this season.
Entering his tenth year in the league Ben has racked up 321 receptions for 3,776 yards with 28 touchdowns. He told us working with the likes of Tom Brady and Drew Brees has been quite nice. And Ben, whose wife is from New Orleans, said that he full well knows and understands how proud the Who Dat Nation is of their team.