What They're Saying: Danny Watkins

What They're Saying: Danny Watkins

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.

 

Former Eagle Byron Maxwell benched by Dolphins

Former Eagle Byron Maxwell benched by Dolphins

Dolphins cornerback Byron Maxwell is not starting tonight against the Bengals. Maxwell, who the Eagles traded this past offseason, was already seeing his playing time diminish. Now, he will sit in favor of Tony Lippett, who has not seen a single snap for the Dolphins this season.

The Eagles big trade this offseason keeps getting better and better.  They acquired the 8th overall pick in the draft in exchange for the 13 overall pick, Maxwell and Kiko Alonzo. Not only were they able to rid themselves of Maxwell’s awful contract, but they were able to get value for a player who is now not considered an NFL starter. 

The 8th overall pick that the Eagles acquired from Miami was flipped to the Browns among other picks to move up to number two. As you may know, that number two pick became offensive rookie of the month Carson Wentz. 

At the time of the trade, Maxwell originally failed his physical due to a shoulder injury. It was reported that the shoulder was so bad that he could not perform a simple pushup, but the Dolphins traded for him anyway.

The Byron Maxwell trade was the stepping stone for the Eagles to land their quarterback of the future, and this news can only make them feel better about the move. Howie Roseman had an incredible offseason cleaning up the mess Chip Kelly left behind, and Maxwell’s benching will certainly help his case for executive of the year. 

Brett Brown has 'completely different feeling' in training camp this year

Brett Brown has 'completely different feeling' in training camp this year

GALLOWAY, N.J. -- Brett Brown left training camp last September with an unsettling feeling. He had just completed long days of scrimmages, drills and planning, and yet he sensed the Sixers were not ready to tackle the 82 games that lied ahead. 

“I remember driving back to Philadelphia last year knowing in my heart of heart that this group was going to be challenged,” Brown said Thursday following the morning practice session at Stockton University. “That was a frightening drive home. That drive home scared me because I felt like, I know what we have and how are we going to be able to maneuver through this?”

Brown was right. The Sixers lost their first 18 games and began the season 1-30. They stumbled the rest of the way, finishing the 2016-17 campaign with a dismal 10-72 record. 

“We really didn’t know who the point guard was,” Brown said. “We came in extremely injured, we were trying to make the Nerlens (Noel) - Jahlil (Okafor) thing work, there really weren’t a lot of veterans to look around [and see], and you knew it.”

Now in his fourth training camp as head coach, with 47 wins and 199 losses with the Sixers behind him, Brown has different emotions as the team nears the end of training camp on Friday. 

Instead of a constantly-changing lineup of players, the Sixers are building a roster that can serve as the foundation for the future. There are nine new players on the team, including first overall pick Ben Simmons and rookie Dario Saric. Joel Embiid will make his NBA debut after two years of injuries, and the Sixers added veteran leaders in free agency.

Brown has a clearer picture of what the team could look like this season and beyond. He is coaching training camp to enter a new chapter, not to simply make it through the upcoming months. 

“You can leave and you can sniff reality,” Brown said. “Now what I see is there’s depth. There are challenges positionally as we’ve talked about. But there’s talent. There’s point guards. They’re sprinkled in with some veterans. How we grow it and play it is still on the table. To me, it’s a completely different feeling that I have now that I did not have last year.”

The additions of Jerryd Bayless and Sergio Rodriguez at the one spot lessen the coaching load for Brown. He also can turn to T.J. McConnell from last season. The depth is a far cry from when the Sixers were quickly changing at that position and didn’t find a consistent starter until they traded for Ish Smith in late December.

“That position, I think, is vital when you start putting a bunch of 20-year-olds around it and trying to find some type of organization,” Brown said. “You just can’t replace a point guard’s intellect. You can’t replace, I think, somebody that has great command from that position. It certainly helps me.”

Brown expects to feel “proud” when the Sixers wrap training camp on Friday. He is looking forward to getting the season underway, beginning with two practices at the new training complex in Camden before their first preseason game Oct. 4 against the Celtics. 

Brown anticipates his drive home this time will be a much different trip. 

“I feel comfortable that we’re ticking boxes and we’re achieving the goals that we set out from the start of what we wanted to get done in Stockton,” he said.

The Sixers continued to monitor load management on Thursday, as Okafor, Embiid and Gerald Henderson did not participate in the morning scrimmage. Bayless also did not go through the scrimmage because of a sore left wrist.