The most misunderstood player in Eagles history is also their biggest bust


Next season, he transferred to Baylor. Coaches loved the fact that somebody at his size, was still so raw. Most football prospects. Had undergone the rigors of high school and college, but not Watkins. It was a perfect blend. He had the maturity of an adult, but with a Footballing frame that had not taken punishment anywhere near the levels as the majority of other players. He replaced 2009 1st round pick, Jason Smith at Left Tackle…and the rest, as they say, was history….at least it would be in a dream world.

As Watkins continued to emerge as a genuine first-round prospect at the age of 26, Senior Bowl invites and pre-draft workouts began to filter their way into the equation. Without really knowing it, Watkins was being thrust into a genuine career path that would make him millions…which would be fine, if his heart was in it.

On paper, he was everything you could want. He reportedly scored a 40 on the 50-question Wonderlic personality/intelligence test; the average score for an offensive lineman is in the low 20s. Disciplined as a senior, he drew just one flag all year long and after shutting down Texas A&M’s Von Miller, the idea of moving this powerhouse inside was almost too good to pass up…so long as that’s where he wanted to be.

Eagles quarterbacks were sacked 49 times in the 2010 campaign, and the stat would have been much worse if Vick was not so proficient at sprinting out of trouble.

The sirens were sounding before Watkins was even drafted. He brought five of his former firefighters from West Kelowna to New York for Draft night and while the idea of being drafted by an NFL team was intriguing, Watkins was originally going to turn it down. It wasn’t until he was offered a visit with the New York Fire Department and a tour of Ground zero, that he decided to attend. For anyone else, that’s the equivalent of a tour of Canton, or the Linc. It meant everything to Danny, who spent offseason after offseason helping out in the community:

He woke up today and told us, ‘I’m going to the fire hall,’” said West Kelowna fire captain Lionel Bateman. “He didn’t say anything about, ‘Hey, I’m getting drafted.’ His priorities are all messed up.”

After being drafted by the Eagles, it took literally minutes for his love of firefighting to emerge questions from the media. At this point, one has to wonder that during the draft interview process, why nobody really pieced together just how passionate he was about this. You’re signing a guy to a four-year multi-million dollar contract, who should be besotted with Football, enthralled by it, living it and breathing it…but Watkins never did. It just sort of…happened. 

He Called the fire service ‘brothers’ when talking about ground zero shortly after being drafted, credited growing up in a firehouse for his maturity and to me, most puzzlingly of all, seemed to almost kind of…forget? The stars on the Eagles offense when asked. There was a hesitation and like a kid struggling in an exam, he found a way to pass without revising. (As seen in the YouTube video below at 6:45)

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