Arrogance and the Danny Watkins Pick

Danny Watkins poses with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being taken by the Eagles. (Jason DeCrow/AP Photo)

Andy Reid coughs and he is accused of arrogance. He trades up last year for an undersized pass-rusher that most teams had pegged as a 3-4 rush linebacker and he is accused of thinking he’s smarter than you and me and the personnel men of the NFL’s other 31 teams.

So, when he drafted a 26-year-old fireman with the 23rd pick in the first round Thursday night, it hardly was a shock when the e-mails started pouring in accusing Big Red of, yep, arrogance.

Not sure I see it, though, at least in this case. Listen, I did a two-part video for last week, listing 10 possible guys the Eagles might take in the first round, and Danny Watkins wasn’t one of them. So, I’m not going to sit here and tell you I saw it coming.

But the reason I didn’t see it coming had nothing to do with Watkins’ age or ability. Hell, in my mock draft yesterday, I had him going to Bill Belichick and the Patriots at No. 28. Belichick’s picture is right next to the word arrogance in the dictionary. It’s also right next to the word genius.

I didn’t see it coming because I didn’t think they would go with a guy who played left tackle at Baylor but will be playing guard in the NFL. I thought that if they took an offensive lineman in the first round, it would be a tackle, not a guard.

They didn’t get very good play at either right guard or right tackle last season. But I felt they could fix the problem at right guard by sliding Mike McGlynn, who subbed for injured Jamaal Jackson at center last season, over to that spot. The biggest problem in my mind was Winston Justice at right tackle.

Justice was serviceable two years ago when they first plugged him in at right tackle after he washed out on the left side. Last year, well, last year he was about a $100 cab ride from serviceable. And I’m not sure he’s ever going to be much better than that. Considering that he protects Michael Vick’s blind side, that’s not a good thing.

I’m pretty sure they would have taken Boston College tackle Anthony Castonzo if he had fallen one more spot. But the Colts grabbed him at 22. Next best tackle on the board was Wisconsin’s Gabe Carimi. In my pre-draft ratings, I had he and Watkins pretty much even. Gave Carimi a 48 on a 1-to-60 scale. Gave Watkins a 47.

What the Eagles’ decision to take Watkins over Carimi tells me is that they are giving strong consideration to the possibility of moving left guard Todd Herremans over to right tackle this season and using Watkins and McGlynn at the two guard spots. That or Reid thinks Howard Mudd can turn King Dunlap or Austin Howard into a legit right tackle.