Watson Mug.jpg

Air Force graduate Ryan Watson poses in uniform in this undated photo.

Ryan Watson’s string of tryouts will continue, but this time in a setting he prefers.

The 2017 Air Force graduate has accepted an invitation to a rookie minicamp with the Detroit Lions in May. The invitation comes without a contract or invitation to training camp, but gives Watson the opportunity to play before team officials on a football field.

To this point, Watson’s performances for scouts have come in the form of speed, jumping, agility and strength testing at Air Force’s pro day in March and in personal workouts for the Atlanta Falcons on Monday and the Lions on Wednesday.

He’s happy to return to a more comfortable and familiar setting.

“For sure, football is like riding a bike to me,” said Watson, who registered 17 sacks at Air Force. “Once you get back in it and get going, you know what you’re doing. I won’t say these drills aren’t what you’ll necessarily be doing on the field, but they aren’t as comfortable as the bike you grew up with.”

Air Force loses longtime football assistant Matt Weikert to Vanderbilt

Watson has been at a rookie minicamp before, attending with the Arizona Cardinals in 2017. The Cardinals initially contacted Watson during the draft — but after their picks were finished — in hopes of securing an undrafted rookie contract. But uncertainty over a Department of Defense policy shift that prevented the class from immediately turning pro delayed and ultimately scuttled any potential deal.

The 6-foot-3, 255-pound defensive end/outside linebacker has served as an acquisitions officer at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, for two years.

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