With the 23rd pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles have taken Baylor guard Danny Watkins. And, presumably, they believe they have shored up a major weakness in 2010: their offensive line.
Watkins was on a pretty good line at Baylor — Phil Taylor was just selected 21st by the Cleveland Browns — but still played well for a team that surprised some by making a bowl in 2010. And Watkins has a great story, too: the 26-year-old was heading into a career as a firefighter before giving football a try at a junior college and eventually making his way to Baylor. That, juxtaposed with the NFL trotting out servicepeople just before Watkins' selection, made for great theater at Radio City Music Hall.
Watkins' age is both asset and drawback: he has the maturity and temperament to start immediately, but he doesn't have as high a ceiling or as long a career before him as the typical rookie, and if he needs to develop or transition from offensive tackle to guard, he doesn't have the built-in buffer most rookies do before their theoretical primes. If he can play immediately, he should help Michael Vick stay healthy in 2011.