NFL Draft 2011: Philadelphia Eagles make a questionable choice with first pick

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NFL Draft 2011: Philadelphia Eagles make a questionable choice with first pick
Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Eagles choose Danny Watkins

With the 23rd pick in the 2011 NFL draft the Philadelphia Eagles selected 26-year-old OT/G Danny Watkins of Baylor University, despite his age being close to 30.

This pick confused many Eagles fans and possibly current and former Eagles as well, as everyone knows that the Eagles’ philosophy is normally to release players at age 30.

The 6’3”, 310-pound offensive lineman will soon be 27 years old in November, and he is only a rookie, but the Eagles don’t seem to be concerned at all.

"The fact that he's 26 and will be 27 this season is not a factor to his," Andy Reid said to philly.com reporter at the NovaCare Complex.

“His body has not gone through the beating up process.”

Watkins is said to be the Eagles’ answer at the right guard, the position which was shared by Nick Cole and Max-Jean Gilles, but neither player became dominant at the position. Watkins has the potential to be a premiere guard in the league and was an excellent pass and run blocker in college. Some equates his style of play to New England Patriots offensive lineman Logan Mankins. 

Reid believes he is the piece that is needed to fortify the offensive line that has problems year in and year out.

"It's not a glamour position, but it's a position that is crucial to us,” Reid said.

“He's got toughness and a blue collar attitude."

What position Watkins will play or if he will even start this season is still up for grabs because the Eagles have many offensive lineman that may be switched to different positions this season. Some players even demonstrated their skills last year and showed their capabilities when players were sidelined with injuries, one player being Mike Mcglynn.

Mcglynn started at center last year after Jamaal Jackson was sidelined with a knee injury for the second consecutive year. Mcglynn proved himself as a started at center and may be used as a key piece on the offensive line.

To make this offensive line into a force in the NFL, the Eagles named Howard Mudd the new offensive line coach.

Mudd brings 36 years to the position and has been considered one of the best offensive line coaches in past years. According to bleedinggreennattion.com, He’s anchored a stout Indianapolis Colts offensive line for 11 years, and no team in the NFL allowed less sacks. It will be interesting to see if he can improve the Eagles’ offensive line and develop Watkins into an elite player.

Team needs: There are still six rounds left in the draft, and the Eagles still have numerous voids that need to be filled. There is a definite need for cornerback. Texas cornerback Curtis Brown is still available and should be the Eagles’ first priority in choosing in the second round. He’s only 5’10” and some say he may be better in the slot position than on the outside.

Ernie Simms was a disappointment last year so the team should look to acquire a solid outside line backer.  Quintin Mikell had an average season at the safety position. He didn’t have much of an impact. Also, free safety Nate Allen went down last year with a torn patellar tendon, so the team should look to pick up a safety who can step in if Allen cannot return to his old form.

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