Well the first round pick of Danny Watkins was certainly a surprise.
When I heard that Watkins was the guy, I was not enamored with pick, but like last year, I became more and more happy with him.
Last year, I wanted Earl Thomas and was angered the Eagles took Graham, who I thought was a reach at that point. Graham, though, was a hard-working defensive end who won me over and convinced me he could be the answer for arguably last year's biggest need.
Watkins was an athletic tackle at Baylor, though he projects at guard, and fits the mold of a Howard Mudd type of offensive lineman. He is a mauler who can get into the second and third lines of defense.
His age (26) does not scare me because he got into football late and has less wear than every offensive lineman in the draft. Before 2007, Danny Watkins played no organized football.
I know I may be in the minority, but he reminds me a lot of the Patriots Logan Mankins. Both are physical players that are fluid enough to pull and move around.
Andy Reid loves versatility and Watkins can play every position on the offensive line.
The highly respected Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News had this to say about him: "Watkins is the safest pick in the entire draft—the one player you can confidently say will be in the Pro Bowl in 2012. He’s the best guard on the board, and some NFL teams were looking at him as both a center and tackle."
That is certainly high praise from a draft expert.
Another draft expert, Todd McShay, felt this was not a reach like most others believe.
While I would have loved the Eagles to trade six to eight slots down and acquire an extra third round pick, the Eagles solidified their biggest need on the team, and will be looking great come Day 2 of the draft.
If free agency happened before the draft, and the Eagles signed star Nnamdi Asomugha, I think the Watkins pick would have looked even better.
For Day 2 in the NFL draft, the Eagles will have plenty of options. It's time to focus on the defense though.
Because the Eagles did not trade up a few slots for Prince Amukamara, I think they solidified their stance on being major players for Asomugha in free agency.
I expect the Eagles to go with a defensive lineman with one of their two picks today. Could they trade up for Da'Quan Bowers?
Maybe. His knee injury is scary, but it would be one of the steals of the draft if they wound up with him.
They could go defensive tackle, with my favorite Marvin Austin still on the board or could go for another guy with injury concerns—Stephen Paea.
If they want, they could even go linebacker with Martez Wilson or Bruce Carter, who could possibly fall into the third round.
Round 2 Pick 54: DT Marvin Austin
I rated Austin as the 15th prospect on my mock Eagles draft board, so there could be value here.
Here is what I said about him:
There was talk of Austin being a top 10 pick before the season, but he was suspended due to receiving improper benefits from his agent.
Austin though has great potential. Though he took plays off on his junior tape, Austin was disruptive when he tried.
He is quick and is very explosive as a pass rusher.
If teammate Robert Quinn fell, I could see the same type of fall for Austin.
Round 3 Pick 74 (TRADE UP): LB Bruce Carter
The Lions pick at 75 and love Carter, so the Eagles would have to trade up one slot ahead.
Carter may be the best weakside linebacker prospect in this draft, even though he did not play most of last season.
He is a fluid athlete that can cover sideline to sideline, making him one of the better fits for the Eagles' quick, aggressive defense.
Carter would have been a first round pick had he played this season.
Carter's instincts are great and he is able to read and react quicker than most linebackers in the draft.
I could be completely wrong about these predictions, especially since the Eagles could go with arguably their biggest defensive need in corner, but again, I expect them to have free agency (and a certain star cornerback) in mind to address these issues.
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