OL Danny Watkins, 2011
The biggest issue with the Eagles draft strategy in 2011 was they selected for position rather than snag the best player available. Heading into the draft the Eagles had numerous glaring weaknesses, specifically on the offensive line and in the secondary.
Due to the NFL lockout, the 2011 draft occurred before free agency. So the Birds were trying to fix their problems through the draft instead of the normal process.
The Eagles selected Danny Watkins, a 26-year-old guard from Baylor, with the 23rd overall pick. This pick was doomed from the moment NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell walked on the stage to announce the selection to the world. Watkins became the oldest player to be selected in the first-round since 1971.
Watkins was a firefighter from Canada who started playing football for the first time in his life at a junior college in California. Watkins’ showed he had the intangibles such as strength and agility to play for a Division I program.
Throughout his whole collegiate career, Watkins had only played as a tackle, but the Eagles drafted him hoping his physical traits could fit well as a guard.
Unfortunately, the transition didn’t go as expected.
Watkins sat out of training camp in 2011 and was benched to start the season during his first and second year. The Eagles had enough of the Watkins experiment and released him during the 2013 offseason. He would end up playing in 24 unproductive games with 18 starts before retiring in 2014.
Without a doubt, Watkins has earned the title of a draft bust, but off the field, he is a hero. Since Watkins wasn’t suited for the NFL, he decided to go back to be a firefighter.