With the 23rd pick in the 2011 NFL Draft…the Philadelphia Eagles select Offensive Lineman Danny Watkins. This was music to the ears of Eagles fans everywhere, as the offensive line was an area that desperately needed to be upgraded after the 2010 season. Watkins’ journey the NFL was far from traditional, but his skills were undeniable as his nomination to Pro Football Weekly’s All-Rookie Team indicates.
Born in British Columbia, Watkins was a 22 year old firefighter when he first decided to play football in junior college. Shortly after, he transferred to Baylor University in 2009 and made the All-Big 12 team in his senior season. Even though he is already 27, he has much less wear and tear on his body than most other 27 year olds in the league.
Having played in 12 games in the 2011 season, Watkins was a key member of an offensive line that opened up holes all year long for running back LeSean McCoy, allowing him to shatter the Eagles single season touchdown record. The fact that Watkins has only been playing football for such a short time and is already playing at such a high level is an excellent sign for a Philadelphia offensive line that, while relatively inexperienced, performed well in 2011 despite having an abbreviated offseason. With an entire offseason to work together and hone their craft, the sky is the limit for this group in 2012 and beyond.