NFL Draft 2011: Thoughts on Philadelphia Eagles First-Round Pick Danny Watkins

Mike BurkeCorrespondent IApril 29, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) poses for a photo with Danny Watkins, #22 overall pick by the Philadelphia Eagles, on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled when the Eagles took Danny Watkins. In 2010, I wasn’t originally thrilled when they took Brandon Graham either. The Graham pick grew on me as the rest of the draft when on, and I expect the Watkins pick to do the same.

Let’s get one thing out of the way: the Watkins pick definitely does one thing—It fills a need. The play at right guard last season was awful. It rivaled the poor play of the right corner position.

Both the right guard and corner position remind me of the middle linebacker position in 2009. There was a hole in the position that was attempted to be filled by many players. However, no player was able to step up to the plate and solidify the position.

In drafting Watkins, the Eagles proved a few things to me. To start, they’re not confident that Jimmy Smith’s character concerns are behind him. He was on the board when they picked at No. 23, and they chose to pass on him. They may also believe they can find a quality player in free agency and/or outside the first round of the draft.

Second, they don’t view the right tackle position the same way a lot of other Eagles fans do.  Many thought that this could be a first round for the target, as did I. However, throughout the week, I heard a lot of reports that the Eagles didn’t view it as their most important need. They proved this passing on a guy like Gabe Carimi.

So here we are with Watkins. He’s an Eagle, and obviously I’m going to support him. Don’t let my tone steer you in the wrong direction. I think he’s a good player, and I think he’s going to fill a clear need for the Eagles.

Of course, we all know that Watkins isn’t exactly the youngest college graduate. He’s 26 years old. Drafting him in the first round is a bit surprising for a team like the Eagles, who seem to get scared of players when they hit 30. He didn’t start playing football until 2007, so you can use that as a counter-argument that he doesn’t have as much wear and tear as some other players.

At the same time, he is a bit raw. He doesn’t have the same kind of experience as other guys in his draft class.  However, some college players enter the NFL with bad habits that need to be changed—habits they’ve had for a long time.

Watkins may have bad habits that the coaches notice, but he hasn’t been acting on them as long as others. 

To me, Watkins is really an Andy Reid-type player. He’s intelligent and he’s going to come to practice every day ready to work. 

I’m sure Howard Mudd fully evaluated Watkins as well. If he didn’t think Watkins was a guy he could develop into a dominant lineman, the Eagles wouldn’t have taken him in the first round.

One round into the NFL Draft, it seems that the Eagles have definitely filled a need on their team.  They have a quarterback who’s about to get paid a lot of money, and they want to make sure he has a line in front of him that will protect him.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Watkins will work hard every day and do everything he can to keep defenders away from his quarterback.