Eagles Take G Danny Watkins at 23

Posted: April 28th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Tags: , | 68 Comments »

Eagles take OG Danny Watkins.  6’4, 312

Here are my notes from ScoutsNotebook:

Probably the most interesting prospect in the whole draft. 26 years old. Has a limited football background. Spent time as a firefighter in Canada and played hockey. Played at Baylor for 2 years after coming over from Junior College. Spent both years as the starting LT. Did a solid job there, but projects inside in the NFL. Doesn’t have the athletic ability or footwork for playing OT. Looks like a natural fit at G. Watkins is a tenacious blocker. He goes to the whistle. Or the echo of the whistle. Anchors well. Able to re-set when he is initially driven back. Sinks his hips and plays with good leverage. Feet are fine for playing in a tight space (like G or C). Also has a mentality that fits well at G. Sort of a bully. Likes to find a defender and really mash on him. Uses his hands pretty well. Still raw, but seems very coachable.

Older than teams prefer, but a real good player and the kind of guy that teams love. Should go in the early 2nd round.

Watkins is a good football player.  He impressed me this year on game tape and then really jumped out at the Senior Bowl.  He’ll compete for the RG job right away in Philly.  Could also play C (not at the same time of course).

I like Watkins as a player, but he’s poor value at #23.  Danny will turn 27 during the upcoming football season.  After 5 years in the league he’ll be getting ready to turn 32.  That’s a point when most players are really declining (right Joe Banner?).

There are a couple of key counter points.  First, he hasn’t played 20 years of football.  His body isn’t beaten up.  There is plenty of tread on the tire.  Also, we’re in win now mode and Danny is mature and the kind of guy who will be ready to go from Day 1.  This isn’t some kid we have to hope can mature enough to contribute early on.  Danny is a man.  I also think he’ll be a great fit with Howard Mudd.  Howard is a self-admitted “hardass”.  Danny won’t guy crying to Reid or his agent when Howard tells him to pull his head out of his butt and get rid of the mistakes.  Danny can take tough coaching.

What about CB?  Expect a vet CB to come in via trade or FA.

68 Comments on “Eagles Take G Danny Watkins at 23”

  1. 1 Cliff said at 10:44 PM on April 28th, 2011:

    I’m not upset by the pick. We got abused a lot last year by our interior OL. As badly as we need a CB, we probably lost more games due to Swiss cheese line play than poor defensive back play.

  2. 2 Ryan said at 10:45 PM on April 28th, 2011:

    Not that happy…as an Eagles fan I feel there is no point watching the Draft…hopefully Danny proves me wrong

  3. 3 Steve P said at 10:45 PM on April 28th, 2011:

    The 26 yo thing *really* bothers me. It’s like a double edged sword. Not only will he be 32 in 5 years, but all that footage is of a 26 yo man pushing around a bunch of teenagers. Plus he wasn’t on any other 1st round mocks that I saw (admittedly, not that broad a universe). At the very least trade down and try to get him in the early 2nd round.

    Just doesn’t mke sense to me. At all.

  4. 4 Cliff said at 10:47 PM on April 28th, 2011:

    No point to watching the draft? The draft is no time for “excitement,” it’s time for intelligent.

  5. 5 ian no 2 said at 10:47 PM on April 28th, 2011:

    This is a win-now move, saving them from going for a price FA guard. Lurie likes character, and he’s on the other side of the character spectrum than Jimmy Smith with his problems. They haven’t picked an OL in the first two rounds since Justice, and you got to believe Mudd was pushing for him.

    As for value, he’s sort of up there.. he was picked to go later, but this is the area where the value gets iffy all around. The difference between the value they got and the value the Giants got is huge, though, and nothing against Watkins, but a trade up for Prince if they didn’t like Smith would have been key.

    There will be other good CBs on the board in the 2nd even if they don’t get Ras-I and maybe they are planning to trade up for Ras-I. I expected them to go CB – OL but they may have reversed it.

  6. 6 Cliff said at 10:48 PM on April 28th, 2011:

    Teenagers playing Big 12 football. It’s not like he was put there beating up on kids at the park…

  7. 7 Alan said at 10:48 PM on April 28th, 2011:

    I agree with you, I think Danny Watkins will be a terrific Gaurd for us. Sure, the value isn’t great; I think we could have traded down 8 spots and still got him. 100% high character guy with a cracking mean streak on the field

    If we get Ras-I, I’ll be fine with the pick.

  8. 8 Thunderlips said at 10:52 PM on April 28th, 2011:

    Another move showing Reid is all in. Win in the next year or two, or else.

  9. 9 piercit said at 10:52 PM on April 28th, 2011:

    I understand liking the guy, but he would have been there in the early second round. I am sure we could have traded down here even if you just pick up a early fourth and a fifth. You only have a few teams behind you. Maybe Pittsburg would have picked him, but I would have risked missing out on him for the extra picks. Roger Mudd is on the hot seat now.

  10. 10 ian no 2 said at 10:56 PM on April 28th, 2011:

    He’s actually the most NFL-ready pass blocker in the draft it seems. Who’s a better pass blocker right now? Tyron Smith is still raw. That’s what they were looking for.

  11. 11 Boyboy said at 10:57 PM on April 28th, 2011:

    I’ll post this here too….just for fun….

    Interesting thing (to me) about this pick is that last year when Logan Mankins was holding out and I was saying, “go get him”, the response I always heard was “the price would be too steep” and/or “you don’t give up that much for an interior lineman”. Here we are spending a 1st round pick on a 26 year old guard who is unproven.

    With that being said, I’ve always questioned the Eagles philosophy of staffing the interior OL with mid-round players. Think about it. 2004 SuperBowl – no Shawn Andrews – the interior OL was terrorized. Since Andrews has been gone, it’s been a revolving door. Yeah, we’ve always got good production from marginal talent, but in 2009 and 2010 the play at C and RG heavily contributed to early exits in the Playoffs.

    To this move, I say kudos. Change your philosophy to get better at a position of need. Mike McGlynn is just a guy. Same with MJG. Same with Nick Cole. I’ve been a heavy flag waver for change within the organization. I never thought I’d be so excited by an offensive guard as I am now.


  12. 12 Alan said at 10:58 PM on April 28th, 2011:

    Andy Reid on the Eagles website seems to be saying he is the Todd Heremans of the Right side of the line. Solid, nasty Guard who could kick out to the Tackle position when required.

  13. 13 Mike said at 11:00 PM on April 28th, 2011:

    Hate this pick. Canada sucks.

  14. 14 piercit said at 11:02 PM on April 28th, 2011:

    If we are all in, they better resign Mikell. You cannot leave a postion to chance, and the Eagles have not had much luck with FA safeties. Hopefully this ends the player is done at thirty thinking anyhow.

  15. 15 arby said at 11:02 PM on April 28th, 2011:

    I did say early on that I thought we’d go OL for the 1st time in years, since Shawn Andrews. Apparently, the FO was celebrating when the Giants chose Prince, meaning they thought he was the only team that might pick him ahead of them.

  16. 16 Fran35 said at 11:03 PM on April 28th, 2011:

    I am really secretly hoping that we have a deal in place with Arizona for Patrick Peterson involving our Number 2 and Kevin Kolb. Think about it, the Cards didn’t really need a CB but took one and left all of the QBs on the board which they really need.

  17. 17 The Reddgie said at 11:04 PM on April 28th, 2011:

    There must not have been anyone willing to trade with us, or at least pay what we were asking for.

    This guy needs to be a day 1 starter and be good enough for Justice to focus completely on the RT spot and not have to worry about whether the RG is doing his job.

  18. 18 Tommy Lawlor said at 11:05 PM on April 28th, 2011:

    Danny is a hell of a player. If he was 24 I’d be ecstatic. The draftnik/GM side of me hates the age, but I am happy to have a really talented player in the RG mix.

  19. 19 Morton said at 11:07 PM on April 28th, 2011:

    This is one of the worst draft picks ever made in the Andy Reid era.

    I don’t even care about the fact that he’s 26 years old – what matters is that he’s an Offensive Lineman, and not even a premium OL such as RT or LT. He’s a freakin’ Guard.

    You don’t take Guards in the first round, and you certainly don’t take Guards in the first round when your defense gave up 30+ TD passes last year and you have no CB depth whatsoever, and there are CB prospects such as Jimmy Smith, Aaron Williams, and Ras-I-Dowling on the board.

    This pick is just all kinds of terrible. I feel sick to my stomach. The Eagles defense will be atrocious next year, but Andy Reid doesn’t care, because he just got himself a pulling guard.

  20. 20 The Reddgie said at 11:07 PM on April 28th, 2011:

    RG was our weakest offensive position, and it has now been upgraded. Can’t really argue with that.

  21. 21 ian no 2 said at 11:15 PM on April 28th, 2011:

    Morton, Do the Steelers regret Markice Pouncey?

  22. 22 deg0ey said at 11:15 PM on April 28th, 2011:

    Really disappointed with this pick. I know we needed an OG, but there are quite a few good options available in later rounds. On the other hand, Jimmy Smith was still available and, in my opinion, would’ve been a much better option

  23. 23 Morton said at 11:18 PM on April 28th, 2011:

    ian no 2: After watching Aaron Rodgers rip their pedestrian cornerbacks in the Supser Bowl, maybe they do regret taking, say, Devin McCourty in last year’s draft instead of a C whose absence didn’t even affect the outcome of the Super Bowl.

  24. 24 Tommy Lawlor said at 11:19 PM on April 28th, 2011:

    @ degoey…

    Read this:


  25. 25 arby said at 11:24 PM on April 28th, 2011:

    Is it just me or does Jimmy Smith look like he’s making a Tracey Morgan face in that photo link?

  26. 26 arby said at 11:28 PM on April 28th, 2011:

    It’s funny to think of the FO’s diversionary tactics. They didn’t have any 1st round OL in to work out, led everyone to think they were going to go either DL or CB….

  27. 27 Alohadelphia said at 11:32 PM on April 28th, 2011:


    You reacting as if this is the last move the Birds will ever make. For the love of god, the entire draft isn’t even over, let alone free agency and trades. Break out the Xanex and go get some sleep man.

  28. 28 Cliff said at 11:34 PM on April 28th, 2011:

    Yikes! Just read that article on Jimmy Smith’s character issues. Geeze. That’s more than “character issues” that’s a menace. We drafted the polar opposite of Smith.

  29. 29 Cliff said at 11:38 PM on April 28th, 2011:

    Scouts Inc. rated Watkins the best OG in the draft class.

  30. 30 Eric said at 12:03 AM on April 29th, 2011:

    Obviously there are positions of more value at certain parts of the draft, but my thought has always been… if you can get a starter with every pick, you’re doing a good job. Regardless of position.

  31. 31 eagles nut said at 12:05 AM on April 29th, 2011:

    I don’t mind the pick. I liked Watkins more than Pouncey personally. I thought going in that taking an OL in Round 2 was the best value but we ended up having what 8 OL go in Round 1? Not a guarantee that somone you like will be there in Round 2. Combine that with the fact that if FA is under 2010 rules there aren’t a lot of quality vets out there on OL. Guys like Harvey Dahl and Tyson Clabo would be RFAs.

  32. 32 netherman said at 12:09 AM on April 29th, 2011:

    Baldinger had Watkins tagged for us before the draft. I would have preferred they move up to snag Prince when he started to fall, but RG was a major concern and it gives Mudd a nice player to work with. Yes he is a bit older, but I look at it as a guy who in only 4 years of organized football became arguably one of the top 2 or 3 rated guards in the draft. I am excited to see what a guy like Mudd can do with him. If we get through tomorrow and still don’t have a corner, then I will start getting concerned.

  33. 33 Deej said at 12:12 AM on April 29th, 2011:

    Watkins is an instant starter at RG and Philly fans will love him. I was looking for the Iggles to trade down and still select an offensive lineman.

    I hope Nnamdi’s price isn’t too high.

  34. 34 netherman said at 12:13 AM on April 29th, 2011:

    Tommy, @ where do you think Dowling and Williams will fall given what is left on the board?

  35. 35 Tommy Lawlor said at 12:15 AM on April 29th, 2011:

    I do think fans will love Watkins when they get to watch him play. Tough, nasty player. Also a good athlete. When skill, effort, and toughness meet…that’s a good thing.

  36. 36 Steag209 said at 12:18 AM on April 29th, 2011:

    Tommy, any chance at all that we can go up and land Dowling tomorrow?

  37. 37 Scott Buchanan said at 12:19 AM on April 29th, 2011:

    Great pick…Im tired of projects starting on the OL…now get me a pass rusher,LB,CB and lets play ball

  38. 38 Eric said at 12:22 AM on April 29th, 2011:

    So if free agency/trades can start on Friday (already 12:21 am Friday), do you think the Eagles may be working the phones already?

    Could we wake up to some free agent and trade movement in the NFL in the morning?

  39. 39 Dan said at 12:31 AM on April 29th, 2011:

    Hoping we trade Kolb to the Cards or Niners for their 2011 2nd rounder and a 2012 1st rounder. Then tomorrow we grab a CB and LB/D-Line in the 2nd round.

  40. 40 TSA said at 12:33 AM on April 29th, 2011:

    Is it a possibility that Smith’s Agent is the holdout king Rosenhaus compounded with his character concerns caused the Eagles to steer clear of him?

  41. 41 Sundar said at 1:35 AM on April 29th, 2011:

    The Rosenhaus part had to play into it. The recent article that’s been circulating around about Jimmy’s transgressions is pretty ridiculous. http://www.jsonline.com/sports/packers/120747104.html

    First of all, the argument that USC & UCLA didn’t bother recruiting him b/c of the neighborhood he’s from is rendered moot by the fact that his CB counterpart in high school, Shareece Wright, played for USC. Jimmy was only a 3 star athlete and Shareece was considered the #2 prospect in California. Jimmy Smith wasn’t considered the best CB on his own team and that’s why they didn’t offer.

    Second, the fact that he got two women pregnant and they had abortions is hardly defamatory when we’re talking about college and pro football players. Anyone who uses that as an attack against the character of a young football player is either a virgin, or don’t remember what college was like.

    Third, the MIP’s mean nothing now that he’s of age, and idk if people are too old to remember underage drinking, but an MIP or two is pretty much a right of passage these days.

    Fourth, the marijuana. I’ve got a news flash for you, DeSean Jackson partakes in some ganj. I’ve got a buddy who works in NFL & NBA drug testing, and DeSean was notorious last summer for “forgetting” a couple of appointments. Mike Patterson was caught w/ marijuana possession just a couple years ago. Percy Harvin tested positive months before the draft. Is anybody complaining about their character now? Jimmy Smith hasn’t got caught in a few years, which is pretty impressive b/c he attended the No. 1 university for pot in the country. There are literally 4o dispensaries within 2 miles of campus.

    Now, I will concede the codeine and the aggravated assault. But again, he’s been on the straight and narrow for at least a year. He went to the No. 1 party school in America. He doesn’t have a posse like Pac Man, he has a degree, and he’s actually a well-spoken guy. I would like to know how many of the people who have railed against him, have watched him speak? How many who have written about his character, have actually thought about how those transgressions translate to NFL rules. He was always on time, always worked hard, and played with a lot of confidence.

    Yeah, I’m a fairly recent CU grad and so I’m biased, but we just lost out on a heck of a player in a position of need because of a lot of nearsightedness. Finding a RG who can start is a lot easier than a CB of Jimmy’s caliber. They better sign Nnamdi. Sorry for the novel.

  42. 42 ian no 2 said at 1:41 AM on April 29th, 2011:

    Andy says that this is the guy they wanted all along and I believe him, since there’s no one they’d be interested in that was expected to be there at 23 that got taken. He also said they weren’t thinking of trading up which I sort of believe, tho I’d like to buy this Kolb-for-Peterson pipe dream. Which tells you what Howie Roseman’s game was when he said on April 22 that:

    “In past years, you’d get into the middle rounds and … you worried that you were forcing up a guy because you wanted to draft an offensive linemen,” he said. “I think this year, we talk about maybe the top not being as strong it’s been as in years past, but maybe the depth is there more so than it’s been in years past throughout the draft.”

  43. 43 dukebowden said at 1:49 AM on April 29th, 2011:

    Every year that Jimmy Smith excels for the Ravens I will hold against Howie Roseman and Andy Reid.

    Good enough for Newsome, good enough for me.

    The Bengals know how to build a Super Bowl-caliber defense. The Eagles? Not so much. Free agency isn’t the road you want to take to get there. It’s alarming that Reid has only really drafted one elite defender.

  44. 44 ian no 2 said at 1:49 AM on April 29th, 2011:

    Sundar, Having studied a bit in Boulder I can back you up about that town. Getting caught with spiff in Boulder is like getting caught with chocolate in Hershey Park. I don’t know about the codeine. I’ve never done white stuff or played football. The codeine JaMarcus did made him fat because it went down with tons of sugar and definitely brought him down as a player. The guy in the movie Cocaine Cowboys said the Steelers were doing lines like crazy in the late 70s, but codeine may even be worse for players now because of the fashionable ways of doing it.

    Still, I think this is a case of the Eagles really wanting Watkins. We’ll see what they do about CB.

  45. 45 dukebowden said at 1:50 AM on April 29th, 2011:

    Ravens, I mean. Bengals=Hilarious brain fart. Maybe I’m just as dumb as Andy/Howie.

  46. 46 T_S_O_P said at 2:07 AM on April 29th, 2011:

    Christmas morning sux

  47. 47 TSA said at 2:21 AM on April 29th, 2011:

    @ Ian no 2

    Codeine is not cocaine. Its prescription cough syrup. You may have heard of it as purple drank. It’s quite common. Lil Wayne is practically the poster boy for it. While I agree it definitely is alot more of a red flag than weed in CO (see Jonny Jolly of the Packers) I am a college student and its not exactly uncommon either nor would I classify it on the level of some of the more serious narcotics i.e. cocaine,LSD,X etc.

  48. 48 ian no 2 said at 2:32 AM on April 29th, 2011:

    I think Ras-I, Brandon Harris, Aaron Williams, and Davon House are going to be good starting CBs and worth a 2nd. In the later rounds Curtis Brown and Brandon Burton are more hit or miss but will probably start for someone.

  49. 49 T_S_O_P said at 2:35 AM on April 29th, 2011:

    Just listened to Watkins conference call and I have to say I’d love to go for a beer with him. Maybe this Christmas present is better than it first looked.

  50. 50 Kammich said at 2:41 AM on April 29th, 2011:

    “He’ll compete for the RG job right away in Philly. Could also play C (not at the same time of course).”

    why the hell not? SLACKER! BUST!


    still think its a good pick, personally. still think everybody needs to chill out since we have, like, 9 picks and free agency left. calm down urr-body.

  51. 51 Cliff said at 7:33 AM on April 29th, 2011:

    I’d rather root for a guy like Watkins than a turd like Jimmy Smith. My opinion of him really changed after I actually read WHAT his “character issues” were. Disgusting human being.

  52. 52 eaglizeit said at 7:57 AM on April 29th, 2011:

    I think where we picked there wasn’t much if any of a better pick we could have taken that fits our system. A couple great 3-4 DE’s that obviosly wouldn’t work. I was keeping my fingers crossed hopeing the Eagles wouldn’t be fooled into moveing up & taking Prince. I’ve read somewhere a week ago that he would fall to the late teens then I saw an article, I think it was ESPN magazine, comparing Prince to Harris & showing how overrated he is as a shutdown CB. Prince stopped 20 out of 37 passes from being completed while while Brandon Harris stopped 27 out of 35 this year. On passes of 20 or more yards Harris only allowed 1 of 11 to be completed. If Prince allows almost 50% to be completed in college, while Harris only allows like 20%, I don’t understand why the media thinks he’ll be a real shutdown corner in the Pro’s and Harris will just be able to stop short passes & the run. Even in the combine D. Sanders could tell that Harris had elite speed, quickness, back pedaling and athleticism. I want a tall CB, but his high FB IQ, athleticism, being a shutdown CB and production makes up for his 5’9 & 5/8 inches. He might be taller than Assante the big difference is Asante’s an interception machine while Harris is tackling machine. They might actually complement each other real well. Hopefully we’re able to draft him today considering he might be the 2nd best CB in the draft; although Jimmy Smith is on the only team that gives him a chance to succeed – if had different teammates he wouldn’t have a chance to make it in the NFL.

  53. 53 eaglizeit said at 8:09 AM on April 29th, 2011:

    I agree 100% – Watkins could be a lot better player as well. I’ve read that he’s actually the best pass-protecting G in the draft as well. Which obviously is more important for our offense & Vick.

  54. 54 MannaFromKevin said at 8:24 AM on April 29th, 2011:

    I mean, it’s not like the Ravens saw Jimmy Smith on the board and were like, “YES! HE FELL TO US! SEND THE PICK IN, BABY!” In fact they were trying to trade out of their spot with the Bears but the trade supposedly fell through at the last minute due to a “miscommunication” of sorts. If the Ravens knew that they wanted to take Jimmy Smith if the trade wasn’t happening, they would have just said, “Okay, whatever, just send in the Smith pick.” But they didn’t. They in fact ran out the clock and got bypassed by the Chiefs. That shows you that it wasn’t an easy decision by any means for them to pick Jimmy Smith. There might have been some disagreement in their war room as to whether to take him or not. Finally they ended up assuming the risk of drafting Smith.

    I’m just keeping a positive attitude about this. Draft one of the next 2-3 best corners in the draft and bring in Asomugha. That’ll make all of this worry about the age of a guard not matter.

    Speaking of which, what would you rather have? An instant impact offensive lineman who helps keep the window open with Vick’s limited time remaining as a top QB for a shot at a Super Bowl in the next 1-2 seasons? Or a young developing offensive lineman with a lot of upside who might finally peak 2-3 seasons from now? Vick gives us a chance in the next 2-3 seasons. You need to protect him now, not later. The more I think about it the more I like the fact that they drafted the most NFL-ready lineman in the draft. We’ve all felt what it’s like to be continually building for the long term, being a playoff contender every year, but only once going to the big dance and never having won it. Do we want more of that or do we want “now” players who can best help us finally get over the hump and get a ring?

  55. 55 EpyonXero said at 9:09 AM on April 29th, 2011:

    Id rather have Asomugha than Smith or Prince. So if we get him Ill be happy.

    Watkins sounds like a very good player and a good fit for our team, I think we could have traded down and gotten him but who knows.

  56. 56 Devin said at 9:20 AM on April 29th, 2011:

    I will preface this with the fact that I am Canadian so I am biased.

    If the only negative thing people can say about Watkins is that he is “older”, well I think that is fine, this is football people no guarantees, look at what happened to Andrews back and head for that matter. Your next play could always be your last so go get the guy you think can play.

    From what I have seen, Watkins was ranked the same or better than Pouncey in a number of rankings and our right guard play was abysmal last year, Max Jean Gilles, really…

    The Eagles got a “plug and play” guard who apparently can start and excel from day one at a big need position and can protect our MVP Mike Vick while opening holes for Shady.

    I also think the success rate for rookie O-lineman might be higher than that of rookie CB’s with a huge amount of baggage.

    We have a pretty defined window of the next 3 years or so to win it all and we also have some pretty defined gaps to fill, we just filled one lets see how we do with the others.

  57. 57 Sam said at 9:53 AM on April 29th, 2011:

    I don’t say this often, but I am with Morton, at least with respect to Watkins.

    If you take a guard in the first round, you have to be expecting a difference maker. Those guys exist (with Steve Hutchinson being the poster boy). Shawn Andrews was one for a while. But I haven’t read or heard anything, or seen anything myself, that suggests that Watkins can or will be that. What I read is that he will be solid. That isn’t good enough for the first round at this position. Take a solid DT, sure (hello Mike Patterson); take a solid OT. But don’t take a solid guard.

    Further, even if he does wind up being a difference maker, how fast and for how long? Because his age doesn’t give him much time for a learning curve. Even conceding the point that his low football mileage gives him a better shot of playing well into his 30s, I can’t imagine that his athletic peak won’t be in his past at the point when his rookie contract runs out.

    I do not like this pick. It is short term thinking at best and a terrible idea at worst.

  58. 58 Anders said at 10:43 AM on April 29th, 2011:


    Dont you expect all your first round draft picks to be a pro bowler?

    Also the importance of the guard and center position have rised alot the last few years because the shortest way to a QB is over the center/guard and therefor use DEs at the DT position in nickel situations.

  59. 59 mcud said at 10:44 AM on April 29th, 2011:


    Okay. I hated the Watkins pick as soon as it happened, but I’ve had all night and morning to think about this. I tried to forget about my reservations (and there are many) and focus on the player himself. What is the best case scenario? And if said scenario occurs, will I be happy, or at least satisfied?

    Best case scenario: Watkins comes in and takes over the RG position immediately, and performs like a Pro Bowl player from the get-go. He solidifies a revolving door position and plays at a high level for the full five years of his contract. If I can get five years of Pro Bowl level play out of any player, then I think that is worth a 1st round pick, whether you invested said pick in the player, or traded the pick for an established veteran that provides you the same five years. Another thing occurred to me as well. It’s at least possible that the Eagles think they’re fine with Mike McGlynn at RG, and that Watkins is being brought in to replace Winston Justice instead. Maybe Howard Mudd just doesn’t think Justice is likely to become what he wants at RT. They could then flip Justice to a team like the Lions that needs a decent RT, and recoup a pick or two. In this scenario, my expectations of Watkins would be lowered, as I think a rock solid RT gives us about the same value as a Pro Bowl type RG.

    However, this is the only way I’ll ever reconcile myself to the expenditure of draft capital for this pick. Tommy mentioned that he (Watkins, not Tommy) will immediately come in and “compete” for the RG position. I hope the Eagles have their sights set higher. To invest this amount of draft resources in a 26-year-old interior lineman, he better be a slam dunk in their eyes.

    My reservations have been well documented:

    1. Age with regard to incumbency – Danny Watkins is six months OLDER today than the guy he is supposedly replacing, Mike McGlynn. He is only a few months younger than Winston Justice. McGlynn is about to enter his fourth year. Is it reasonable to be sure that Watkins will be better than Mike in his first year? I mean, Mike didn’t set the world on fire last year, but he was decent, and it’s very reasonable to expect an improvement from him next year, especially with coaching from Mudd. Mike McGlynn is an ascending player. That means that Watkins is going to have to be a LOT better than Mike in 2011 to justify the pick. Danny Watkins being slightly better than the 2010 McGlynn doesn’t cut it, because that’s where Mike is likely to be, making the improvement negligible at best, and a poor draft investment.
    2. Age with regard to Contract – People are saying that Da’Quan Bowers is a one contract player (albeit for very different reasons). I don’t think you can even begin to count on Danny Watkins being any different. He’ll be 32 at the end of his contract, and we know how the Eagles feel about paying players on the wrong side of 30. And before you say, “well, he’s only got four years of football experience, and OL can have long careers”, keep in mind that the guy wasn’t sleeping in a hyperbaric chamber before age 22. He was a hockey player and a fireman, right? Neither one of those hobbies/professions are known to be very easy on the body.
    3. Alternatives – Forget for a second that there may have been younger prospects that may have fit in as well as Watkins. Obviously, the Eagles didn’t think the kids available in this draft were better, or they would have taken said player. Why not go the Pro Personnel route? Why not go out and get Logan Mankins? Proven player, and would his cost have been more than what we just spent on Watkins? How about Carl Nicks? Harvey Dahl? Davin Joseph? Willie Colon? And before anybody tells me that we have no idea what OL are going to be free agents and available by trade until the league year starts, I call foul. The Eagles have a black hole at RCB, and that didn’t stop them from passing on moving up for Prince Amukamara (and to do so would have cost a 3rd rounder at most). They obviously believe that there is going to be a player available by trade or by free agency that they can plug into that hole.
    4. Need vs. BPA – This echoes of 2003 to me. The Eagles had a hole at DE, and took Jerome McDougle (also a very old player by draft standards), mostly because of need. Now, notice I wrote “echoes”, and not “reeks”. I think the Eagles like Watkins better than they liked McDougle, but the fact remains that there are commonalities here. However, the fact that we didn’t trade up for Watkins like we did for Jerome already is a win for Danny. However, this team is famous for investing in the future. This, to me, reads like either Andy is only going to be here for another couple of years, or is a move to appease Mudd, whom they expect to retire in a few. Either way, I feel like this was a pick based on need more than building a team for both today and tomorrow.
    5. Big Picture – I’ve always been told that you build a baseball team from the inside out. Get a catcher, a 2nd baseman, a shortstop, a centerfielder, and of course, pitchers, and you’ve got a nucleus of a great team. Corner outfield and infield positions have less value. Make a list of all 22 starting positions on the football field, ranked by order of importance. Where does RG appear on your list if you are being honest? I’d bet that it would fall somewhere in the bottom third, and for many of you, even in the bottom three or four. There’s a reason interior OL generally don’t go in round 1. It’s not a personal thing with Watkins. I wouldn’t have taken any interior OL in round 1. Didn’t really want Pouncey even if he made to us, so I admit my argument may have elements of taste rather than simply based on logic. Still, I’ve been watching the draft since the Colts selected Jeff George #1 overall, and in all that time, there may be 10 interior OL drafted that I would have used #23 on.

    End of rant. Prove me wrong Danny. Become an elite player for us. I’ll gladly eat crow for the rest of my life. I realize we have a good team, and that solidifying the right side of the line (and adding a RCB) probably takes us to the top of a short list of Super Bowl contenders. We may have just done that. However, roster building is my passion, and I take every pick seriously. I want to maximize value at every opportunity. I’m the guy who would try to trade a player I was going to cut anyway for a conditional pick in 2020, if that’s all I could get. It’s just very, very hard for me to divorce myself from the abstract value right now. Watkins could take care of all of this by simply being great. However, being great doesn’t make taking Watkins a great idea in the first place. Just means we got lucky. Could end up being a brilliant move, but it just wasn’t “smart”.

  60. 60 Anders said at 11:23 AM on April 29th, 2011:


    That the Eagles dont like players over 30 is BS and a media run story. There is no supporting fact that age, not declining skills got the players cut.
    Also look a Tra Thomas, Runyan, Dawkins, McNabb, Vick just to name a few there have been playing or will be playing into there 30’s.

    Also you can not compare Watkins with McGlynn 2010s season as he played center, a totally diffrent position the guard. What you can compare him to is Nick Cole and MJG.

    BPA vs need. In 2003 they traded up to get McDougle and also tell me who was a better BPA vs need player then Watkins? the only one is Jimmy Smith, but maybe the FO got scared because of his background. Also consider that OL have higher BPA value then a CB.

    Also over the last few years you have seen and increase in value for centers and guards.

    My quicktake is:


  61. 61 Eric said at 12:00 PM on April 29th, 2011:

    Sundar, I respect your opinion, but come on.

    People that are on Smith’s case about the abortions are either virgins or never went to college?

    I went to college and I was in a fraternity, so I had my share of “fun times”. But I wasn’t getting women pregnant. Getting one woman pregnant is an understandable mistake, but two? That’s a pattern. It shows irresponsibility and poor lack of judgment. And we’ve all had our share of boozing in college, but I never got caught. If they told me to not walk down the street with a red cup, I wouldn’t do it. Regardless of whether I had water in the cup or not. Besides, I really don’t believe him that there wasn’t any alcohol in it. If the ordinance is truly a blanket arrest or whatever for simply having a red cup, then that’s one of the dumbest laws I ever heard of. But I’m sure there was more circumstance to the incident.

    I’m as disappointed as you are that they didn’t draft him, but he had a lot of issues.

  62. 62 Eric said at 12:00 PM on April 29th, 2011:


    I guess the pick of Watkins throws out the idea that the Eagles drafted high-character guys last year so they could take risks this year.

  63. 63 mcud said at 12:05 PM on April 29th, 2011:


    The 30+ rule is absolutely true, when it comes to offering the next contract. Sure, there are players that made it into their 30s here, but when those contracts ended, so did the players’ tenure. Dawk and Runyan being two exceptions. My point was that Watkins very likely won’t see a 2nd contract with this team, and an eventual 2nd contract is something I want out of a 1st round investment.

    As to comparing him to Mike McGlynn. I don’t know what to tell you. Yes, McGlynn was a Center last year. He was set to be a RG this year. Its not starting back at square one of his development. In fact, it might be easier for him. Obviously you think Center is a more premium position than OG based on your list above, so doesn’t it follow that the average player may be better at OG than C? If not, then why rate C higher?

    I don’t understand what you are asking wrt BPA vs. Need and Danny Watkins. The Eagles obviously felt that Watkins was the BPA in a position of need. Its less obvious if they had Watkins as BPA overall. In terms of value, the Patriots proved a few picks later that they could get a 2nd rounder and an additional 1st to trade out. Great move.

    I haven’t seen anything definitive to suggest interior OL are more valuable now than in years past, other than escalating salaries. If anything, they’re being deemphasized at the college level, what with the quick strike spread offenses everywhere. More and more, we’re seeing OTs being converted to OGs when they get to the next level.

    As to your rankings of positional value, I strongly disagree with all but the top of your list. I may be in the minority on that.

  64. 64 Tommy Lawlor said at 12:09 PM on April 29th, 2011:

    New post is up.


    Lots of good discussion in here. Plenty of interesting thoughts and viewpoints.

  65. 65 Sundar said at 12:12 PM on April 29th, 2011:


    Exactly what part of Jimmy Smith’s character issues makes him a turd? All of them result from partying–in one of the 5 craziest college towns in the country. He hasn’t gotten in trouble for partying in more than year. Have you watched him speak, or are you just going off the groupthink of the writers?


    Could it possibly be that the Ravens were looking to trade back b/c they knew Jimmy would slip and still be there? Newsome is considered to be one of the smarter GM’s in the draft.

    Again, is anyone complaining about DeSean’s character issues? Did Mike Patterson serve any serious suspension for being ticketed w/ weed? How about Randy Moss or Percy Harvin? Jimmy Smith is a lot more like those guys than Pac-Man or Aqib Talib who both have very toxic people around them and are far more violent.

    But I guess Jimmy Smith is a turd b/c he smoked some weed, drank when he was underage, slept with some women, and got in a bar fight once—all of which happened between ages 18-21. No, that *never* happens in a college town.

  66. 66 Tommy Lawlor said at 12:25 PM on April 29th, 2011:

    @ Sundar…

    I think you are somewhat missing the point. These individual incidents aren’t a huge deal. When put together and viewed as a whole, they are. And that’s the point.

    Jimmy does speak well. He is a fairly bright guy, which makes getting into so much trouble all the more baffling.

    The fact he got in trouble in “the #1 party town” is hardly a legit excuse. Are the kids at UNLV allowed to snort coke off a hooker’s butt?

    Mike Patterson has been busted for weed. He never got in any major trouble beyond that.

    DJax had some serious maturity issues. I don’t think he was ever arrested or involved in any fights.

    No one thinks kids should be saints. The point is to take guys with the fewest issues, when possible. Jimmy probably had more issues than any other player in the 1st round. That isn’t bias. It is reality. Passing on him isn’t dumb. You can certainly disagree with it. He might turn out to be a model citizen in the NFL, but you have to acknowledge that he also might be a ticking time bomb that will get suspended or arrested for the very behavior that hurt his draft status.

    He has kept his nose out of trouble for a while and I hope that continues, but it doesn’t mean his previous issues weren’t real and he can’t be held accountable for them.

  67. 67 Eric said at 1:00 PM on April 29th, 2011:

    Tommy, I really would have hated it if the Eagles took a DE, but wouldn’t Cam Jordan be appropriate there?

    People keep saying he’s a 3-4 DE; however, the guy may have the physical frame suited for a 3-4 DE, but he’s quick (4.7 40). To me, that’s the definition of a “fastball” at DE.

    I really thought Jordan was the true value at 23 at a position a lot of people were arguing was a need.

  68. 68 Rhinoddd50 said at 3:43 PM on April 29th, 2011:

    Sam / Mcud,

    All good and fair points. Did you happen to listen to the Ross Tucker interview on the multimedia section of PE.com? I am curious if that altered your opinion of RG or not.

    I thought Ross Tucker definitely made a strong argument why he thought RG has become the most important position in a passing WCO offense like the Eagles run. It certainly made me reconsider my long held opinions about OG.

    Is it possible that the Watkins pick is a reflection of that new reality and we just need to adjust our own thinking?