NFL Draft 2011: Philadelphia Eagles Choose To Address O-Line with Danny Watkins
At the 23rd overall pick, the Eagles selected Danny Watkins. At 6'3" 310, Danny Watkins is an excellent football player and a very versatile guard, but a bit undersized. He is also already 26 years of age, which could bode well in the short-term, as he is just hitting his prime, but may see limited development.
However, having experience at both guard positions and the tackle position as well, Danny Watkins gives the Eagles the versatility that they need for Harvey Mudd to work with.
As Winston Justice at right tackle has struggled at times during the 2010 season, as well as the 2011 postseason, the Eagles can potentially slide Watkins into the right tackle position if Justice does not play well or if he is injured. He does a great deal to contribute to the depth along the offensive line.
And if Justice can bounce back and play well, Watkins likely will be able to start immediately at the right guard position, a position that has seen problems ever since Stacy Andrews proved to be a bust of a signing in the 2009 season.
By selecting Watkins, the Eagles missed out on the opportunity to select Jimmy Smith, who many regard as a superb prospect perhaps not far behind Patrick Peterson in talent. Yet, Reid was likely unwilling to deal with someone with potential character issues.
Knowing Reid's tendency to building a class-act team, it would be understandable for him not to risk taking a chance on Jimmy Smith. And with Prince Amukamara failing to fall as far as the 23rd pick, one can also see why the Eagles would seek to address a different position with their draft pick.
Additionally, the Eagles took Danny Watkins when Gabe Carimi was still on the board—although with Jason Peters at the left tackle spot, and Winston Justice still having the potential to bounce back, guard was a more important position to address.
Either way, the Eagles made an interesting pick here addressing the offensive line. While acquiring a good corner back is still one of the most important needs on this team, perhaps Reid will address that need via free agency or later rounds. But protecting Michael Vick is also a top priority for this team if they want to take the next step toward a championship.
Therefore, addressing the offensive line had to occur sooner and later and the Eagles chose to address it sooner. Time will tell if it turns out to be the right decision.
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