PHILADELPHIA (AP) –– Jaiquawn Jarrett’s transition to the NFL should be an easy one.
After playing four years at Lincoln Financial Field as a member of the Temple Owls, Jarrett gets to stay there as a pro. The Philadelphia Eagles selected the defensive back with the 54th overall pick in the NFL draft on Friday night.
“This right here is one of the greatest situations with my family right down the road,” Jarrett said. “I played in the Eagles stadium for the last four years, so to be able to play for Coach (Andy) Reid as an Eagle, is a dream come true.”
Jarrett, who was a four-year starter with the hometown Owls, adds depth in a secondary that has lacked a big-play safety since the departure of Brian Dawkins. Jarrett, listed at 6-foot and 196 pounds, played mainly free safety at Temple.
Jarrett had 74 tackles and two interceptions in his senior season. Scouts say he’s an intelligent player who is aggressive against the run and solid in pass coverage.
“I’m gonna bring physical toughness and a smart player,” Jarrett said. “I’m real disciplined. I’m gonna do whatever necessary to help the team win. That’s what I’m all about. I’m physical enough to show up in run support and I have enough skills to prevent the deep ball.”
Nate Allen, also a second-round pick, started 13 games at free safety for the Eagles as a rookie last year. He sustained a season-ending leg injury in December, but should be ready when the season starts. Quintin Mikell, a former Pro Bowl pick, was Philadelphia’s strong safety. He’ll be a free agent.
Jarrett ran just a 4.62 in the 40 at the scouting combine. That may have caused some teams to shy away.
Not the Eagles.
“They showed a lot of interest,” he said. “They worked me out several times. They saw something in me other teams didn’t see and I really appreciate that.”
Jarrett is a two-time first-team All-MAC honoree and played in every game of his collegiate career with 43 starts. He was the recipient of the 2010 National Football Foundation & College Football Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete.
In the first round, the Eagles selected Danny Watkins at No. 23. The 26-year-old Watkins, an offensive lineman from Baylor, is a former firefighter who is the oldest player taken in the first round since 25-year-old Billy Sims went to Detroit at No. 1 overall in 1980. The Canadian grew up playing hockey and rugby.
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