NFL Draft 2011: How Things Went for the Philadelphia Eagles in Round 1

Mike BurkeCorrespondent IApril 29, 2011

LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 26: Prince Amukamara #21 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers misses a chance at an interception from Scotty McKnight #21 of the Colorado Buffaloes during the second half of their game at Memorial Stadium on November 26, 2010 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska defeated Colorado 45-17. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Eric Francis/Getty Images

As it does every year, the NFL draft brought plenty of unexpected twists and turns throughout the night.

Many expected quarterbacks to fly off the board early—they did.

Cam Newton was the first overall selection, before Jake Locker went to Tennessee at the eighth spot. Blaine Gabbert went 10th to the Jaguars, who traded up to get him, and Christian Ponder went 12th to the Minnesota Vikings.

As these quarterbacks were taken off the board, it benefited the Eagles more and more.

Philadelphia weren’t looking for a quarterback in the first round, so for each signal caller taken off the board, another player fell.

To no one’s surprise, Patrick Peterson was drafted to a team in the top five, being selected by the Arizona Cardinals.

When this happened, eyes turned to Prince Amukamara to see where he would end up getting selected.

Amukamara fell out of the top 10, as expected, but then began to fall further into the late-teens. As he edged closer and closer to the Eagles' selection, they could have easily made a move to trade up and get him.

However, they didn’t pull the trigger.

In the end, Amukamara would come off the board with the 19th overall pick and went to division rivals, the New York Giants.

With Amukamara falling down the board, Jimmy Smith fell as well.

We’ve seen mock drafts for weeks that predicted Smith going to the Eagles, and it’s clearly a position of need for the team. Many people thought that Smith might realistically be around at 23.

However, when the time came and Smith was available at 23, the Eagles decided to pass.

While Smith is a strong player, he’s surrounded with character concerns.

The Eagles had brought Smith in for a private workout before the draft to assess both his play on the field and his mentality. Team personnel noted that they liked Smith, so it’s unknown if the Eagles passed on him because of his character or because they believed they could get another talented corner, either in free agency or later in the draft.

One other player that many mock drafts had the Eagles taking was Gabe Carimi, the offensive tackle out of Wisconsin.

Like Smith, Carimi was on the board when the Eagles picked at 23. However, the Eagles decided to pass on him as well.

When the Eagles' pick came up, and both Smith and Carimi were on the board, I still believed the team would trade back and attack the second and third rounds. If they did make a pick, I thought they might go after Jimmy Smith and take an offensive lineman in the second.

However, to the surprise of some, but not all, the Eagles went with 26-year old Danny Watkins, a versatile offensive lineman out of Baylor.

Watkins is a hard working guy and fits the mold for the type of player that the Eagles look for.

The selection addresses a big need for the Eagles, and after a good sleep, they can begin putting together their strategy on attacking the next two rounds.