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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Drafting a guard in the first round is usually a pretty sure bet. When the Eagles selected Danny Watkins out of Baylor in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, they thought they were getting a player who could be an important part of the Eagles offensive line for years to come.
Two years later, Watkins didn’t make the team, cut over the weekend and signed by the Miami Dolphins to a one-year deal.
Whether it was pressure, or perhaps disinterest, as Evan Mathis suggested, Watkins just didn’t work out in Philadelphia. General manager Howie Roseman knows it, and is taking the blame.
“Obviously the evaluation of the player wasn’t right for where we drafted him. If there was one good part to come about the Danny Watkins pick, it was that we went from a team that felt like we were really close to winning a championship and maybe going into a draft and saying we have to get a particular position, to a team now that drafts the best available player,” Roseman said on his 94WIP show on Tuesday. “Obviously, there were things we liked about Danny Watkins. I’m telling you on the evaluation I was wrong. I thought he was going to be a good player in this league. We learned a lot from it, and I think that was kind of the tipping point for us, in terms of how we were going to do things. It’s something I strongly believe in, so disappointed that didn’t work out with that player, but at the same time I think we learned a lot from it.”
The Eagles selected another offensive lineman in the 2013 draft, tackle Lane Johnson. Johnson doesn’t look like he’ll travel the same path as Watkins, and has played well from the start.
Another player selected in the 2011 draft, Casey Matthews, made the team, to the surprise of many.
“Right now for our football team we need somebody who can go in the game, if there is an injury and outside linebacker, and play there,” Roseman said. “Casey [Matthews] has some experience playing the outside spot in this defense. He’s also played the inside spot, he’s played special teams and so we were looking for a guy that can play those kind of roles.”