The Eagles announced today that first round pick Danny Watkins will make his first NFL this weekend when the team travels to Buffalo to take on the Bills. Watkins, who was the 23rd overall pick of the Eagles in the 2011 draft, has been a healthy scratch for the first four weeks of the NFL season. Kyle DeVan, who had been starting at RG, appears to have been benched, so after a shortened and rough preseason, Danny Watkins hopefully takes the place he'll anchor for the next six years or more. Reid was asked whether the move to Watkins was because he's bigger, stronger and more physical than DeVan?
"I wouldn't say that, no. I'd just say that we're always trying to get the best guys on the field that we possibly can. It really has nothing to do with what the other guys have done, their size or anything like that."
Raise your hand if you believe that. Anyone? I thought so. Andy was also asked what led to Watkins early struggles in the preseason?
"There were three things I mentioned to you: he moved right from college to the NFL, that's tough. He moved from tackle to guard, that's tough. He moved from the left side to the right side, and that's tough. We took a step back to hopefully take a step forward, and that was the approach. He's worked very hard for the chance to get in there, and he'll get a shot this week."
It really is hard to argue with Andy on this point. This was a guy making a position change and learning a new technigque with no offseason. The fact that he struggled in what? Three or four quarters over the course of four preseason games doesn't mean the guy can't play. He's now had an extra month of learning and work to try to make up for all that lost time.
We should remember that there was a reason that he was the highest rated guard prospect in the draft. There's no doubt he struggled with the mental aspects of the new scheme and position in preseason, but all rookies do. Physically though, there's really never been questions about Watkins. This is a big, tough kid who's not likely to get pancaked on a goal line play like Kyle DeVan was. I'm excited to see him out there.