You know, when the Eagles drafted Danny Watkins with the 23rd overall pick in April’s draft, most people threw their hands up and asked precisely what pissed off Eagles fans usually ask at some point during every draft–“What the Hell is this team doing?”
Sounds familiar, right?
But it’s strange–usually when a team drafts a 26-year-old firefighter with its first pick I get upset. But after digesting my shock, it seemed like a fairly rational selection.
A shortened offseason would mean a steeper than usual learning curve for rookies, so it seemed reasonable to draft an experienced interior offensive lineman like Watkins because it’d make for an easy transition to the next level. What’s there to learn? See the defender, block the defender, repeat.
Yeah, I know–that’s a horrendous oversimplification, but it’s also accepted fact that it’s an easier jump to the NFL for an interior lineman than it is for a skill position player.
Then, training camp began and Watkins held out. When Watkins reported a week later, grumblings quickly emerged from Lehigh that the Baylor product was behind. Then, he looked lost against Pittsburgh and Cleveland.
And while it wasn’t an ideal start for Watkins, I was cool with the minor setbacks. Rookies are going to have growing pains–particularly with a shortened offseason, but, I gotta tell you, I’m starting to lose my patience.
In an interview with Jonathan Tamari (read it here), Watkins admits he, well, he just feels a bit overwhelmed by this whole being an NFL player thing.
“It’s definitely overwhelming. That’s for sure. Compared to what I was doing before this, I was just a regular working guy.”
Overwhelming, huh? Is it? That’s good.
I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer if my team’s starting right guard didn’t admit he was overwhelmed by protecting a franchise quarterback five days prior to opening up a Super Bowl run. But maybe that’s just me.
Watkins, by all accounts, is a sharp guy. And it may very well be that he pans out as a damn good lineman this season, but as the season opener against St. Louis creeps closer, it’s certainly fair to have rapidly increasing doubts.