2011 first-round pick Danny Watkins turns 28 on Tuesday, but
he is no closer to becoming a Pro Bowl right guard than at 27, much less a
fixture on the Eagles’ offensive line. He is about to miss his second game in a
row with an ankle injury, and Dennis Kelly might have a shot at replacing him. Folks
are beginning to wonder out loud whether Watkins is going to be a bust, and the
Inquirer’s Jeff McLane offers one of the sharpest critiques to date.
Simply put: Watkins was a mistake.
If they were drinking truth serum down at the NovaCare,
instead of the usual mix of delusion and denial, the Eagles would admit that
they shouldn’t have drafted Danny Watkins in the first round of the 2011 draft.
McLane also compared Watkins to an anchor dragging Andy Reid down,
along with other recent poor draft choices.
Watkins has been ruled out for Monday with an ankle injury,
giving Kelly his second career start. The consensus is the fifth-rounder out of
Purdue played adequately against Atlanta, which has led to some speculation he
could ultimately become a more permanent replacement.
Whether Kelly is competition remains to be seen, and it’s
too early to label Watkins a bust says McLane. What is all too clear though is the
Eagles do not yet have in their possession the solution at right guard.
Watkins hasn’t been flat-out bad, but he is terribly
inconsistent. His shortcomings are magnified right now because he is not living
up to the status of a 23rd overall pick, and the offensive line is
decimated by injuries. The growing concern is Watkins is still developing at a
time when most players are entering their primes, suggesting the future might
not be so bright, either.
Even if the light eventually turns on, Watkins was supposed
to come in and help solidify the line immediately. Since his selection, he was
already benched for the first four games of his career, and his performance of
late has fallen under intense scrutiny. From that point of view, there is no doubt
that Watkins has not been what the Eagles hoped or needed.