A quick look around the Internets to see what people are saying about Eagles 2011 first round draft pick Danny Watkins.
Sheil Kapadia, Moving the Chains: The best thing that you can say about the Watkins pick is that he should be a plug and play player, as Mike Mayock would say. According to DraftMetrics.com, 90 percent of the guards taken in the first round between 1991-2010 started as rookies. They also note that between 1991-2004, 67 percent of the offensive linemen taken between picks 14 and 28 went on to start for five years or more. The only position that was more likely to produce a five-year starter was linebacker (74 percent).
Adam Kaplan, Fox Sports: The Eagles decided to pass on offensive tackle Gabe Carimi in order to select a true guard in Danny Watkins. The 26-year old interior offensive lineman will compete for the starting right guard job with the Eagles. With Watkins in the mix, Philadelphia could look at filling a need at cornerback later in the draft.
Ray Didinger, CSNPhilly.com: Prior to the Senior Bowl, Watkins was known only to a handful of Big 12 fanatics and draftniks, but after that week, he was on everyone’s short list of line prospects. Reid targeted Watkins at that point and never wavered.
For a guy who hasn’t played a lot of football, Watkins has remarkably good technique. His fundamentals are sound; his footwork and balance are good. He was an all-conference tackle at Baylor but at 6-foot-3 and 310 pounds, he is better equipped to play guard in the pros.
He moves defenders off the ball and on pass plays he can anchor against a bull-rushing tackle. He plays with fire and keeps going to the whistle. If he sees defenders standing around a pile, he will put them in the dirt, which will please Eagles fans who like lineman that play with an edge.
Andy Reid, On Watkins' Age: "A lot has been said about Danny’s age. We felt he was as good a football player as there was in the draft. We want to maintain a strong offensive line. We want to build a line to be the strongest in the NFL and this is a step toward that. His clock started a little later for this sport. He was a hockey player and a rugby player but he took to the game right away and was productive. He’s a heck of a player in the run game and the pass game. I can’t tell you how happy we are to have him."
JasonB, BleedingGreen: Not only is Watkins the best story of any top prospect, he also had a the greatest moment of the first round.
For those that don't know, Watkins was a firefighter for four years in Canada who didn't even begin to play organized football until about five years ago. Much of who he is and the way he carries himself comes from his time as a firefighter. Just as an illustration of the bond he had with the guys he calls "his brothers" at least 10 of them made the trip from British Columbia to cheer him at the draft.
As soon as the pictures of him smiling on his phone came up on the monitors, his firefighter buddies went nuts. In the photo on top of this story, Watkins is giving the thumbs up to all the firefighters in the balcony that were yelling and chanting his name.
Todd McShay, ESPN:
Brian Billick, Fox Sports:
Finally, Reuben Frank has plenty more reactions from Andy Reid on what the Eagles were thinking about their 23rd overall selection.