Philadelphia Eagles News

Head Coach Andy Reid

On offensive guard Danny Watkins: "Alright with our first pick we took Danny Watkins, offensive lineman from Baylor (University). And I know there have been a lot of things said about Danny's age and so on, but we felt Danny was as good a football player as there was in the draft. I know it's not a glamour position but it's a position that is very crucial in this sport and we wanted to make sure that we maintained a strong offensive line. We've lost a few veteran offensive linemen over the last couple years and we wanted to make sure that we continue to build that line to be the strongest in the National Football League, and this is a step forward.

"Danny played left tackle at Baylor, was very productive there, and he'll bring a toughness, which I know the city of Philadelphia – they thrive on that. He brings a toughness and a blue collar attitude to that offensive line. He had been a fireman and that delayed his years of football there for a bit. And so, he's 26 years old, he'll be 27 during the season, and really that wasn't a factor to us. His body hasn't gone through that beating up process that takes place when you're playing football. And so his clock started a little bit later with this sport; he had been a hockey player, a rugby player, but again, when he stepped on the football field he really took to the game and has just been so productive. You take the best defensive end in the draft, or outside linebacker, however you want to look at it – the draft pick (the) Denver (Broncos) took from Texas A&M (University, Von Miller). He had great film against him and played a heckuva game against him, and that was just one of many great games, that just happened to be one of the better players in the draft. So what you see is just a heckuva football player both in the run game and the pass game. I can't tell you how happy we are to have him be a part of our program here."

On when he first had Watkins in his sights: "Well we really had hoped he was going to be there; people had him all over their draft boards with all of these pre-draft mock drafts. So we were hoping that he would be there and we knew how people looked at him around the league and what kind of quality they thought he was. So again, we feel very fortunate to have him. We had our eye on him right from the beginning."

On whether the plan is to have Watkins compete at right guard: "Well, the nice thing about this is that he started at left tackle, and he went to the Senior Bowl and played both guard positions, and so that gives us some flexibility there. If we want to move people around, we can move people around, but he can step in at right guard (and) he can play at right tackle even though he didn't do it there. And like we do with all of our linemen we'll probably teach him how to play center, too. And he's that kind of an athlete where he can do that."

On whether he projects Watkins at guard or tackle: "Right now I'm looking at guard. I don't know what side though. I can't sit here and tell you, but I'm looking at him as a guard. But like I said, he can really play any position you need him to play."

On whether Watkins' character was a big part in his decision to draft him: "Well the thing (general manager) Howie (Roseman) and I talked about, and I think Howie's done a phenomenal job along with (Director of Player Personnel) Ryan Grigson, and really the scouts of finding these players that we've been looking at in the draft and we'll see more of them come off the board and become Philadelphia Eagles in the next couple days. But this is a guy that is a tough, tough guy. Now he's also a good football player and he has phenomenal character on and off the field. He's a class act, but the thing that jumps out at you is he is a relentless worker and one tough nut and I like that."

On whether Watkins was "the guy" or if there was ever another player they were considering: "This was the guy. This was the guy that we felt if we stayed at (pick number) 23 we would love to have, yes."

On whether they were ever close to moving up in the draft or trading out of the spot: "You know, we really weren't. We had this guy targeted and we were hoping he was going to be there. If we got a feeling other than that we would have gone up and snagged him. But we really liked him."

On whether this draft has had a different feel given the restrictions of what teams can and can't do: "No, I would tell you the only difference is today we got hit with some information, to when the players are allowed back in the building. So with that I had to have a couple staff meetings and make sure that my coaches were set up for that. And I'm not real big on the 8 o'clock start with the draft, it's a long day. But today I was okay with that just so I could make sure that everything was put in line and we were able to get the rules that we needed to go by with this."

On whether not being able to trade QB Kevin Kolb or any players was an annoyance: "It doesn't bother you now (because) that's what we were dealt and that's how it is. So we've been going through this process feeling that that wasn't going to take place; that we wouldn't have any option to trade anybody that's on our team before the draft. So that's what it was and listen, we know the people that were interested in Kevin before we were given the restrictions that we were given and the rules that we were given where we couldn't talk. So we know where we left off there and we'll see how things work out once everything's lifted. Who knows? Who knows when we'll be able to do that, but we'll look at it. And I will tell you the same thing I said before, I'm going to keep my ears open but that doesn't mean that anything is going to open."

On whether some of the teams presumably interested in Kolb drafted quarterbacks tonight: "Yeah, that's how it works. I mean those are the things that you're dealt with these new rules of how things of fallen. But listen, everybody else is having to deal with the same thing and we'll work it out."

On whether he has any plans of moving left guard Todd Herremans to a different position: "Well this is the neat thing; I have flexibility with all of these guys. We have a group of guys that played tackle in college and one nice thing is they can move all around. Todd's played both sides. Danny's played both sides. Todd's played tackle for us, left and right. So we have some flexibility there which I think is a neat thing. And then listen, I'll sit down, I just wanted to make sure that we got the best football player that we possibly could get to bring in here, and I think we did that, and then we'll figure out a spot for him, that's the easy part."

On whether he is concerned Watkins career will be shorter because of his age: "I don't think so. He's not beat up and that's part of this game, especially at that – well I'll say that, you see with the offensive line, you see guys play into their 30's because they take care of themselves. This is a guy that not only takes care of himself but he isn't beat up like you see a lot of offensive and defensive lineman that happens throughout their career. And so you're getting a fresher, I guess, 26/27 year old."

On whether offensive line coach Howard Mudd had a hand in the decision process and what characteristics Danny has that fits his style: "Well the way this goes is Howie really narrows it down for me, and then I go through and look at them, then by position each coach goes through and they look at them and give their evaluation of them. Howie had this guy right from the get go at the top. I mean this was a guy that he really wanted and liked, and so when I looked at him I said, "This guy is as fine of a football player as you have on the offensive line in this draft", and then Howard came back and he said the same thing. So Howard wasn't sitting there beating us over the head to take him, although Howard felt that this guy was just a tough quality player. And I think the guys that were down at the Senior Bowl saw that. I mean you saw this guy go out and dominate in the one-on-ones, you saw him dominate in the game, and it was a new position for him. It was the first time he had played guard and he lit it up. But that's what he'd been doing all year, that's how he plays."

On whether he has a lot of upside because he hasn't played football that long: "I do, yeah. I think he has upside. I think he's pretty good though right now. There's an adjustment that takes place when you come into pro football. And so they all grow to some extent, everybody grows a little bit more than others, but I will tell you that he's a pretty good player now. He knows how to play the game out in front of him with his arms which is a big thing; sometimes you have to train guys to do that. He already does that. He's very powerful in the core and very powerful on his jam. Those are hard things to teach and he has that."

On whether hiring Mudd as offensive line coach changes the type of offensive linemen he is looking for: "Well, honestly I had (defensive coordinator) Juan (Castillo) take a peek at him too and Juan kind of liked him, so that was good. He's one of those guys that you can't help but like him when you look at him. I mean he just knows how to play the game. I mean it's not going to take a Rhodes Scholar, so basically everybody in this room, we could all figure this one out."

On drafting a guy to play inside on the line this high in the draft: "This guy can do that. He can step in and play tackle for you so we'll just find the spot for him. Listen, I don't want to slam the door, I think he probably has more opportunity to play at a guard position than he does right now at the tackle position. But I'm going to tell you he can step in and play tackle for you right now and you'd have a heckuva football player."

On whether everything Watkins has done off the field has given him a different level of maturity: "Yeah, you know how many guys bring their fire department with them to the draft, and that's what he did. He brought the whole department down there and they were up in the stands going crazy for him. I mean that kind of tells you the story; it's a unique situation. Is he fired up and appreciative of what he's been given here? Absolutely. You guys will see. We'll bring him in here tomorrow and let you guys have a chance to meet him and I think you'll get a pretty good feel for him."

On whether he has an opportunity to start as a rookie: "I think he's capable of doing that, yeah. We always try to bring in guys that we feel are starters. You never try to go into this thing and say, "Okay, I'm going to draft this guy to be a backup." And it might be the first year, it might be the second year, it might be the third year, (but) I think this guy physically is ready to go."

On whether it has been difficult to have a structured schedule with the lockout in place: "Well here's what we did. We tried to prepare everything before hand. So the mini camps, and the OTA's, and the offseason program, everything, we had it all ready to go. But you had to see what the rules and regulations were going to be, and then you didn't know when it was going to happen so that's why we met. But the bulk of it was taken care of it was just a matter of getting in touch with the players and making sure that they knew and the times that the weight room's open, or the training room's open, and all the little things that you need to communicate to coaches and to the players."

On whether he has talked to Kolb since the restrictions have been lifted: "I have not today. Now (quarterback's coach) Doug Pederson has. But what I did, so there was no question here, I had all the coaches call their players and make sure that they hit the bullet points with them on when things needed to be done."

On whether he has set a time for the rookie mini camp: "Well, I'm not looking necessarily on this week, this next weekend, but probably the following weekend. So we'll just see how that goes. (Director of Football Media Services) Derek (Boyko) will be able to get you that. But right now, that's what I'm leaning towards, so not a week from Friday, tomorrow, but the following (week)."

On his expectations as far as players coming into the facility tomorrow: "Yeah, really the offseason program is going to start on Monday for them, but tomorrow is a day that they can come in and lift. We will have the weight room open for them tomorrow. But I think travel's, for a lot of these guys is going to be an important thing to allow them to have some time to get up. I think it's hard to just throw it right at them and say listen, "You have to be here in eight hours to get yourself going and rolling."

On whether he is concerned about getting guys into the facility because they still have to pay insurance out of their own pocket: "That's all been worked out. Listen, I think they'll be fine. They're okay with that part; the insurance part is taken care of. And I'm glad you asked that question because now I can tell all of them because I know they're listening right now (smiling)."

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