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Friday, April 29, 2011

Another Head Scratcher from the Eagles

It’s been a while since the Eagles had a chance to confound everyone. But they wasted little time with their first off-season move last night as the league at least temporarily re-opened for business.

The brain trust at the NovaCare Complex drafted Danny Watkins in the first round of the NFL draft. He’s an offensive lineman out of Baylor – a fairly typical pick for the Eagles.

Oh, he’s also 26-years-old and has only four years of football experience.

Football players are constantly talking about their short window in which to have a career, and most of them start in the NFL at around 21 or 22 years of age. The Eagles have apparently decided to shorten the window even further.

I am the opposite of a draftnik. I’d pretty much like to get the summary of which team picked which player on Sunday night and move on. To me, the good side of the lockout was that no one was really talking about the draft. It’s important, I understand, but I don’t need to hear about all of the scenarios that might happen.

My point is that Watkins could be the best offensive lineman in NFL history – I don’t know. Quite frankly, neither does anybody else. Ok, some people can probably intelligently say that he won’t be the best offensive lineman in NFL history, but the point should be clear. The draft is a guessing game.

The thing that used to infuriate me and now is just par for the course is the way the Eagles always have to re-invent the NFL wheel. Teams don’t draft 26-year-old lineman, especially when they only have four years of football experience.

Of course, Andy Reid is already saying Watkins will start on Day 1 (whenever that may actually be in the NFL). Well, he better. Otherwise, he may be ready to retire before he ever gets a chance to start.

The problem is that the only way this is a good pick is if Watkins does start – and, you know, play well – from the first snap of his career. Normally, a guy with limited years of experience is considered a project who needs time to develop. Watkins doesn’t have any time to develop.

And he may not need it. The Eagles may have drafted a guy ready to excel at his position right now.

Don’t they always?

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