OK, so you’re not going to see Rokevious Watkins in ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue any time soon. But he’s getting there.
The Rams’ second-year offensive guard doesn’t look anything like the rookie who was held out of practice at the start of training camp a year ago because he was so out of shape. After a severe ankle injury in Game 1, his rookie season became a waste. Since then, it’s been all his waistline.

“I’m getting to where I need to be,” Watkins said during practices this week. “Working on being in the best shape of my life.”

The player known as “Rok” isn’t sure how much weight he’s lost over the last year. The official team roster, which listed him at (a generous) 338 pounds for the 2012 season opener in Detroit, still lists him at 338 this spring.

It took about half of the 2012 season – maybe a little bit longer – for the ankle injury to heal. Since then his single focus has been conditioning under the watchful eyes of strength coach Rock Gullickson or Reggie Scott’s athletic training staff.

“I’m getting the conditioning under control, my weight under control, and just being able to lock my body down physically,” Watkins said.

Even during the current spring practice period, Waktkins said he’s working out twice a day. “I’m always doing cardio after (practice),” he said.

The Rams had high hopes for Watkins when they drafted him in the fifth round out of South Carolina in 2012. And still do. He’s a strong man with road grader tendencies as a blocker. It has been said on more than one occasion that when Watkins gets his hands on a defender, more often than not, it’s over.

“He’s the kind of guy that has unbelievable strength and power,” offensive line coach Paul Boudreau said at the end of the 2012 season. “He just needs to learn how to play fast and play hard for four quarters.”

Entering the NFL, Watkins also was the kind of guy that needed more reps and as much playing time as possible as a rookie.