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Danny Watkins: Wasted Draft Pick?


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#1 Randy Rampage

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 09:18 AM

According to Rotoworld, "Eagles RG Danny Watkins has been dealing with ankle issues since his college days at Baylor.
Watkins, 28, will miss Monday night's game against the Saints after coming out of the team's Week 7 bye with an ankle ailment. Head coach Andy Reid described Watkins' ankle history as "chronic" earlier in the season and said he knew about the issue before the Eagles took him at No. 23 in the 2011 NFL Draft. Watkins had two sprains in each ankle at Baylor, and a source from the university told beat reporter Jeff McLane that Watkins even had a broken bone in one of his ankles during his senior season but didn't miss a game. The second-year lineman doesn't have a timetable for return."

Andy Reid drafted a rookie 26 year old offensive lineman with chronic ankle issues with his first round pick. Let that sink in for a moment.

I personally think this was a terrible pick. The team and the world are better off with Watkins protecting people against fires, as opposed to mean defensive linemen. But Dave, I'm a rabid Eagles fan. Since I know that you won't acknowledge the obvious, I only ask that you not give a milquetoast non-answer a la Andy Reid at a press conference. I need that old Iraqi Minister of Information magic from you. Give me a reason to believe. Take us to the spin room! If I'm not pumped up by your answer, at least I'll get a good laugh.

You're a great sport, Dave. I hope one day the organization will clean out the dead weight in the coaching staff and front office and make your job a bit more pleasant. It pains me to have to be this way. I know you're a fan, and appreciate what you do here. And I know it must suck to have to bite your tongue sometimes. Thanks.

#2 RPeeteRules

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 10:12 AM

Danny Watkins is 27 years old, so I'm not sure how the Eagles drafted him when he was 28 years old.

#3 PoconoDon

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 10:24 AM

View PostRPeeteRules, on 04 November 2012 - 10:12 AM, said:

Danny Watkins is 27 years old, so I'm not sure how the Eagles drafted him when he was 28 years old.

Correct.........he was 26 years old when Reid drafted him......that correction made, the chronic injury condition makes his selection in the 1st round far too risky, on it's face.....but of course, not to Andy Reid, who's intellect and insight always trumps common sense....regardless of the outcome of his decisions.

#4 RPeeteRules

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 10:28 AM

View PostPoconoDon, on 04 November 2012 - 10:24 AM, said:

Correct.........he was 26 years old when Reid drafted him......that correction made, the chronic injury condition makes his selection in the 1st round far too risky, on it's face.....but of course, not to Andy Reid, who's intellect and insight always trumps common sense....regardless of the outcome of his decisions.
I can't believe that Watkins was still projected to go in the 1st round, despite his age and chronic injury condition.  I guess the Eagles drafting him around where he was projected to go to try to solidify a problem position they had on their team isn't common sense, but rather trying to outsmart people, right?

#5 PoconoDon

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 10:41 AM

View PostRPeeteRules, on 04 November 2012 - 10:28 AM, said:

I can't believe that Watkins was still projected to go in the 1st round, despite his age and chronic injury condition.  I guess the Eagles drafting him around where he was projected to go to try to solidify a problem position they had on their team isn't common sense, but rather trying to outsmart people, right?

Why is it that the ONLY defenses of Reid's player personnel decisions are "Look at what all the other teams do or look at what the draft pundits say" , just so that whoever is defending them can offer that they're not the worst ?

Why can't the Eagles be the best?...be right the most?....Why must they surrender that to another franchise, by only being able to say "we're in the middle of the pack"?

Why can't the Eagles be the team that, when it comes to player personnel decisions, ALL of the other 31 teams are hopelessly chasing them?

I believe, the answer is that, the bar has been set too low........in every way....and until that changes, nothing else will....including the overall results, and since this franchise is solely directed by one man who is incapable of sustained improvement, he must go.

#6 Randy Rampage

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 10:46 AM

26 is correct. At the time, Watkins was the oldest player drafted in the first round since 1980. Watkins was a left tackle in college. So of course, Andy Reid moves him to right guard. Older, injury-prone and out of position: Three strikes and you're supposed to be out...or at least drafted lower down the draft board.

#7 RPeeteRules

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 10:49 AM

The Eagles have made good picks before or have used picks wisely.  They have also had misses and used picks incorrectly.  I don't think anyone would disagree with that.  The thing is that some people make it seem like every pick that the Eagles ever make is easily the worst pick.  Remember, we are talking about the Watkins pick, who was drafted around where he was suppose to go.  The Jarrett pick was a really bad pick.  Taken too early as the Eagles were trying to get help at safety.  That is a legitimate complaint.  Taking Watkins with their 1st round pick, in hindsight was wrong, but at the time, not so much.

#8 RPeeteRules

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 10:53 AM

View PostRandy Rampage, on 04 November 2012 - 10:46 AM, said:

26 is correct. At the time, Watkins was the oldest player drafted in the first round since 1980. Watkins was a left tackle in college. So of course, Andy Reid moves him to right guard. Three strikes and you're supposed to be out...or at least drafted lower down the draft board.
Watkins also showed he was able to play guard prior to the draft (playing there in the senior bowl).  So it's not like it was a ridiculous move.

#9 Randy Rampage

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 10:55 AM

I give Reid credit for McNabb, Westbrook and others. However, his weak drafting has cost the Eagles as of late. That's why they had to sign so many mercenary free agent types - they keep missing in the draft.

And Watkins can't play guard in the pros. That's pretty evident.

#10 PoconoDon

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 10:56 AM

View PostRPeeteRules, on 04 November 2012 - 10:49 AM, said:

The Eagles have made good picks before or have used picks wisely.  They have also had misses and used picks incorrectly.  I don't think anyone would disagree with that.  The thing is that some people make it seem like every pick that the Eagles ever make is easily the worst pick.  Remember, we are talking about the Watkins pick, who was drafted around where he was suppose to go.  The Jarrett pick was a really bad pick.  Taken too early as the Eagles were trying to get help at safety.  That is a legitimate complaint.  Taking Watkins with their 1st round pick, in hindsight was wrong, but at the time, not so much.

RPeeteRules,

If he had a clean bill of health, I'd say his age was a concern, but not necessarily a deal breaker....the point is that he did not have a clean bill of health, and in fact had chronic issues, so to me, that combination is a deal breaker in the 1st round. Somewhere later in the draft would seem more appropriate....and if he's gone by then, so be it..the risk was too high anyway, IMO.

#11 RPeeteRules

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 11:10 AM

View PostPoconoDon, on 04 November 2012 - 10:56 AM, said:

RPeeteRules,

If he had a clean bill of health, I'd say his age was a concern, but not necessarily a deal breaker....the point is that he did not have a clean bill of health, and in fact had chronic issues, so to me, that combination is a deal breaker in the 1st round. Somewhere later in the draft would seem more appropriate....and if he's gone by then, so be it..the risk was too high anyway, IMO.
If Watkins was playing at a high level, would you think that the risk was too high.  Remember, he started every game of his last two years at Baylor.  I think if Watkins was playing really well and then had this injury issue news come out, people would not be saying it was a bad/as risky of a pick.

#12 PoconoDon

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 11:21 AM

View PostRPeeteRules, on 04 November 2012 - 11:10 AM, said:

If Watkins was playing at a high level, would you think that the risk was too high.  Remember, he started every game of his last two years at Baylor.  I think if Watkins was playing really well and then had this injury issue news come out, people would not be saying it was a bad/as risky of a pick.


Well, he's not....never has in Eagles green...and it looks like he won't without a medical miracle.....so....it's kind of a silly question don't you think?

If...and that's only an if.....he played really well in spite of the condition, then I think fans rally around the guy who is overcoming adversity......but that's not the issue here.

The issue here is Why did Reid select a player with a limited timetable for development AND who has a chronic injury issue in the 1st round of the draft? Did he have the measurables of a Larry Allen? Obviously not. Did he bring some special skill set to the table that no other O-lineman had in the draft? No, he didn't. So what then justifies such a HUGE risk? Nothing.....and so, it was a mistake with the most precious pick they had that year...their 1st rounder.

#13 RPeeteRules

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 11:33 AM

The Eagles (Reid, Marty, Mudd, Roseman, ect.) drafted Watkins most likely because they believed that he could be a really good guard.  If they thought he was going to be an average guard, I'd agree with you.  Remember, this guy was projected to go around where he was drafted.  Maybe if he was 22 and didn't have the injury concern, he may have been projected to go much higher.  We don't know why he was projected to go where he was, but I think that all factors (play, injury concerns, age, ect.) went into it.

My question is not silly, since it's showing that you're looking at it in hindsight.  In hindsight, it's not a good pick.  You agree that it wouldn't be a wasted pick if he was playing well.

#14 PoconoDon

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 11:42 AM

View PostRPeeteRules, on 04 November 2012 - 11:33 AM, said:

The Eagles (Reid, Marty, Mudd, Roseman, ect.) drafted Watkins most likely because they believed that he could be a really good guard.  If they thought he was going to be an average guard, I'd agree with you.  Remember, this guy was projected to go around where he was drafted.  Maybe if he was 22 and didn't have the injury concern, he may have been projected to go much higher.  We don't know why he was projected to go where he was, but I think that all factors (play, injury concerns, age, ect.) went into it.

My question is not silly, since it's showing that you're looking at it in hindsight.  In hindsight, it's not a good pick.  You agree that it wouldn't be a wasted pick if he was playing well.

To your first point.....They were wrong, and should have performed better with their decisions making, given the circumstances.

To your 2nd point....it wasn't hindsight for them.........they took what looks like an unnecessary risk and then failed, plain and simple.

I think there is a culture of compromise within the Philadelphia Eagles that breeds mediocrity.....that's my perspective, and as a fan, I'd like that to change dramatically.

#15 KzEaglefan86

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 11:53 AM

View PostRandy Rampage, on 04 November 2012 - 10:46 AM, said:

26 is correct. At the time, Watkins was the oldest player drafted in the first round since 1980. Watkins was a left tackle in college. So of course, Andy Reid moves him to right guard. Older, injury-prone and out of position: Three strikes and you're supposed to be out...or at least drafted lower down the draft board.
Do you follow the draft and college football?  Collegiate offensive tackles slide inside to guard very frequently when transitioning to the NFL.  There are plenty of reasons to dislike the Watkins pick, but to say he is playing out of position just makes you look ignorant.

#16 KOJO

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 05:48 PM

I hated this pick from the minute they made it. You do not draft a guard in the 1st round unless he is the second coming of Larry Allen or you have absolutely no other holes to fill on your team. I don't give a crap where he was projected to go. That doesn't mean he was the right pick for this team. He wasn't. And that's not me saying that in hindsight. But maybe I just have too high standards for my team, a team that loves to brag on itself constantly about how they build through their drafts.

To further compound the mistake, the man was 26 & was a relative newcomer to the sport of football. Regardless of position, if you're going to to take a guy in the 1st round at such an advanced age he had damn well better be at or near Pro-Bowl caliber. Clearly he is not. They got horrendous value out of him relative to where the pick was made. And now to add injury to insult we find out that he had chronic ankle problems.

So to sum: 26 years old, new to the sport, plays a position that is most often addressed in later rounds, chronic injury issue. There's no way you can argue that was a good pick given all that.

I seriously wonder how far he might have fallen had these geniuses not swooped in & fallen for another.

#17 mjkvol

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 06:05 PM

View PostPoconoDon, on 04 November 2012 - 11:42 AM, said:

To your first point.....They were wrong, and should have performed better with their decisions making, given the circumstances.

To your 2nd point....it wasn't hindsight for them.........they took what looks like an unnecessary risk and then failed, plain and simple.

I think there is a culture of compromise within the Philadelphia Eagles that breeds mediocrity.....that's my perspective, and as a fan, I'd like that to change dramatically.

Some great posts, Pocono - you have to remember, you're dealing here with one of the truest of true believers.   The shock of this thread is Peete actually admitting the Jarrett pick was anything approaching bad.

The one thing I'd add is that it is never a good idea to waste a 1st round pick on an interior offensive lineman, unless it is a single glaring need and you're looking at Larry Allen.   The 1st, and even 2nd rounds, to me, should be reserved for impact positions.

But the Watkins pick, very shaky at the time, now looks simply dreadful.

#18 f_dallas

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 06:49 PM

It was a terrible pick, like I said the day they made it.

#19 f_dallas

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 08:35 AM

View Postmjkvol, on 04 November 2012 - 06:05 PM, said:

Some great posts, Pocono - you have to remember, you're dealing here with one of the truest of true believers.   The shock of this thread is Peete actually admitting the Jarrett pick was anything approaching bad.

The one thing I'd add is that it is never a good idea to waste a 1st round pick on an interior offensive lineman, unless it is a single glaring need and you're looking at Larry Allen.   The 1st, and even 2nd rounds, to me, should be reserved for impact positions.

But the Watkins pick, very shaky at the time, now looks simply dreadful.

Absolutely...interior lineman aren't first round players.  They quite simply aren't important enough.  The only way you consider it is if it's a "final piece" or a "once in a decade" type of player.  This cannot be overstated.  Guards, in particular, are the second least important position on offense (behind fullback). If you accept that fullback isn't really a full-time position anymore, you can accurately say they are the least important players on offense.  To fill those unimportant positions, you get to pick from not only the guards coming out of college and the veterans around the league, but the failed tackles who can move inside at the next level.  The Eagles spent a first round pick on Watkins to play RG last year and signed a trash-heap nomad at LG...the trash-heap nobody is better and it's not that much of a shock.

Second, you should avoid overaged players in the draft at all costs.  Overaged players get the benefit of physical and mental maturity against their college competition, making it impossible to truly evaluate their ceiling or the arc of their career.  You are literally watching a man play against boys.  You can draft overaged players, but only at a substantial discount (not a premium).

Third, you shouldn't pay a premium for a player who is transitioning to a new position due to limited talent.  For example, when a CB is too slow to play outside and considered the 60th or 70th best CB in the draft, you don't draft him in the top 5 as a safety.  Similarly, if a LT is too limited physically to be a LT, you don't treat him as the best guard in the draft.

So what did the Eagles do?  With the 23rd pick, they took an overaged player, transitioning to a new position, which happens to be the least important one on the field.  I explained this the day after the draft, but no one wanted to listen.  Now, 1 day before Watkins' 28th birthday, I see more people coming around.

I think he can probably be a passable player eventually, but it was a terrible, terrible pick and it was very, very easy to see this coming.

#20 mjkvol

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 09:42 AM

Excellent post, f.

I've been screaming about this issue since we took Andrews over Steven Jackson and Vince Wilfork - that pick galls me to this day, and was an early harbinger of the "smartest guy in the room" syndrome which consumes this organization.   I don't want to hear about his talent - he's a guard.   And he was never even close to being in the same galaxy as Larry Allen.

When you think that we broke that 'rule' twice within five years, it's not such a shock how this franchise has deteriorated under The Grand High Exalted Mystic Ruler.

#21 Englisheagle123

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 10:51 AM

Why did we draft a G anyway just so herremans moved to RT we should have taken carimi and put Todd at RG

#22 f_dallas

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 11:06 AM

View Postmjkvol, on 05 November 2012 - 09:42 AM, said:

Excellent post, f.

I've been screaming about this issue since we took Andrews over Steven Jackson and Vince Wilfork - that pick galls me to this day, and was an early harbinger of the "smartest guy in the room" syndrome which consumes this organization.   I don't want to hear about his talent - he's a guard.   And he was never even close to being in the same galaxy as Larry Allen.

When you think that we broke that 'rule' twice within five years, it's not such a shock how this franchise has deteriorated under The Grand High Exalted Mystic Ruler.

While I agree with you about Andrews and abhorred that pick at the time for multiple reasons, the Andrews pick is slightly more defensible in the sense that Andrews was a rare talent and he was moved to guard only because they had a hole there (with the idea that he was slide out to RT and replace Runyan in a couple years).  He was essentially the anti-Watkins....younger than average coming out, more dominant, more talented, discounted in the draft relative to his talent level, and moving to guard because that was open spot rather than because he couldn't play anywhere else.  You could also argue that he fit the "final piece" criteria, since they had a gaping hole at RG and the rest of their offense was set.

In either case, I do agree with you in principle and I hated the Andrews pick when they made it, as well, but I'd argue that was a defensible pick in some ways.  This Watkins pick was a train wreck.

I was watching Daily News Live a few days ago and was taken aback when they were discussing Watkins.  It was in passing (relating to his injury) and they all kind of nonchalantly agreed that Watkins doesn't care about or like football.  

I've never heard that before, but one of the guys mentioned he didn't think Watkins really liked football.  He said that in talking to him, you get the impression he just took the offer for free tuition, was pretty good at it, got drafted, and he's just kind of biding his time until his career is over and he can move on to the things he'd much rather be doing.  The other guys on the panel all strongly agreed as though it was the commonly known, conventional wisdom among anyone who had any interaction with him.

Bizarre.

#23 mjkvol

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 11:18 AM

View Postf_dallas, on 05 November 2012 - 11:06 AM, said:

Bizarre.

Bizarre yes, but other more apt words come to mind......

I didn't get the whole "Andrews as a rare talent thing" - to me he was an big child, who clearly wasn't ready mentally for this level. But why gamble at that spot when there are legitimate impact players on the board?   Especially in a year where you are really "going for it".       (Rhetorical, of course)

Players that, by the way, are still playing at a high level all these years later.

#24 f_dallas

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 11:29 AM

View Postmjkvol, on 05 November 2012 - 11:18 AM, said:

Bizarre yes, but other more apt words come to mind......

I didn't get the whole "Andrews as a rare talent thing" - to me he was an big child, who clearly wasn't ready mentally for this level. But why gamble at that spot when there are legitimate impact players on the board?   Especially in a year where you are really "going for it".    (Rhetorical, of course)

Players that, by the way, are still playing at a high level all these years later.

He was mentally weak, immature, and his injuries ultimately derailed him, but his talent was extremely rare.  If his back injuries never cropped up, he'd still be in the league and still playing at a pro bowl level (at least) even with the mental issues.   He was an All-Pro by his third year in the league despite missing his rookie season with a broken something (Foot?  Leg? can't remember), which is a testament to his ability.

#25 mjkvol

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 11:43 AM

I'll still take top level talent at DT or RB all day, every day.   I guess I actually had less issue with Watkins because by that time, I had no expectations for the Eagles as long as Reid remained.    2004 was a much, much different story.

#26 Ipspots

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 12:54 PM

The Eagles have wasted soo many HIGH picks in the past 10 years, and your worried about Danny Watkins... ugh....

How about all these names all taken in the first three rounds. Brandon Graham, Freddie Mitchell, Victor Abiramiri, Jerome McDougal, Shawn Andrews, Brodrick Bunkley, Jaquain Jarrett, Bryan Smith, Trevor Laws, Reggie Brown, Matt McCoy, Quinten Caver, JR Reed, Matt Ware, Tony hunt, Chris Gocong, Daniel Teo Neshiem, Stewart Bradley


and your worried about Watkins.... puhhhllleeeaaasseeeee

#27 f_dallas

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 01:13 PM

View PostIpspots, on 05 November 2012 - 12:54 PM, said:

The Eagles have wasted soo many HIGH picks in the past 10 years, and your worried about Danny Watkins... ugh....

How about all these names all taken in the first three rounds. Brandon Graham, Freddie Mitchell, Victor Abiramiri, Jerome McDougal, Shawn Andrews, Brodrick Bunkley, Jaquain Jarrett, Bryan Smith, Trevor Laws, Reggie Brown, Matt McCoy, Quinten Caver, JR Reed, Matt Ware, Tony hunt, Chris Gocong, Daniel Teo Neshiem, Stewart Bradley


and your worried about Watkins.... puhhhllleeeaaasseeeee

I don't think anyone is saying they are concerned about Watkins but not concerned about other blown picks.  Watkins is a topic of conversation right now because he was drafted in the first round last year, he was a terrible pick at the moment, he's hurt, and he's looking like a terrible pick now.

We can't discuss every bad pick they've ever made in one thread.

#28 mjkvol

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 01:15 PM

View Postf_dallas, on 05 November 2012 - 01:13 PM, said:

We can't discuss every bad pick they've ever made in one thread.

Nope.      That topic would require its own forum.

#29 patpikunas

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 01:28 PM

Thought it was a bad pick then and absolutely despise it today.

To say that it was not Reid's fault because other "experts" had him rated as a late first rounder is moronic.

Then what are NFL Coaches, especially those like Reid who demand 100% authority of football operations, to be judged on?

#30 f_dallas

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 02:41 PM

View Postpatpikunas, on 05 November 2012 - 01:28 PM, said:

Thought it was a bad pick then and absolutely despise it today.

To say that it was not Reid's fault because other "experts" had him rated as a late first rounder is moronic.

Then what are NFL Coaches, especially those like Reid who demand 100% authority of football operations, to be judged on?

Yeah, totally agree.  I think you can make that argument to a lesser extent when you consider players like Bunkley, Graham, or Maclin, but not with Watkins.  Even then, the result is all that matters and they have to be judged on whether the player they drafted was worthy of that pick, but with Watkins you're talking about a player who a few guys really liked as a bottom-of-the-first pick, but had a lot of question marks and played a relatively unimportant position.