It was an apparent step forward for Watkins, who was in pads Tuesday after spending part of Monday's practice on an exercise bike.
"I'm fine, I could go out there and practice if I need to," Watkins said after Tuesday's practice. "But the thing is doing it without pain, but I could play a full game right now. It's just being safe."
Coach Doug Marrone did not indicate whether Watkins will play in Saturday's preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"Obviously he wasn't fully cleared today," Marrone said. "I appreciate the player saying that, but I'm going to watch the tape and see what we see. We'll go from there. That's normally what we do with anyone."
Watkins said it was an "awkward hit" from Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier in last Saturday's preseason loss that led to him exiting the game with what the team initially called a rib contusion. He deferred his status for the Buccaneers game to Marrone.
"I don't know if I'm going to miss the game or not," Watkins said. "I might play and I might not, that's up to the coach."