This move is aimed at improving the cornerback position. Watkins, like Marcus Smith and Jordan Matthews, completely fits the Eagles philosophy as far as size, speed and athleticism. He has the versatility to play safety and cornerback.
Watkins was actually the first of 65 player profiles that were produced by BGN during the draft process. This is what my evaluation was of Watkins in January:
At nearly 6-foot (5'11 3/8) and 194 pounds, Watkins has size at the cornerback position. A versatile athlete, Watkins did a fantastic job in coverage for the Gators and was frequently used on corner blitzes. He has smooth hips and uses his length to defend the pass. He is physical in coverage and can play off and press. He also has a solid ability to change directions.
Watkins is a very willing tackler and uses good technique when bringing down a defender. He is not much of a ball hawk but has ball skills and does a decent job tracking the ball in the air. Watkins is also noticeably aggressive when competing for jump balls.
Another strength for Watkins is his positional versatility. He has experience at a high level playing both cornerback and safety. With solid tackling ability, he could play safety in the NFL with little issue. He also has plenty of work on special teams, as he was a gunner for a majority of his college career.
While Watkins does have versatility, it is a bit frustrating that he has not been a full-time starter at any point in his college career. Despite being named a captain on Senior Day at his final game, Watkins only started 28 games in his four-year career. He never started for an entire season at Florida. His size also makes him a bit of a tweener, so it will be interesting to see his speed at the Combine.
Watkins is not a turnover machine. As noted earlier, he only had three interceptions in his career and they all came as a junior. Also, while he was able to get pressure on corner blitz, he failed to ever get a sack.
Eagles remaining needs
Eagles remaining draft picks
2014 NFL Draft schedule:
Thursday, May 8 - 8:00 PM EST (Round 1 - 10 minutes per pick)
Friday, May 9 - 7:00 PM EST (Round 2 - 7 minutes, Round 3 - 5 minutes)
Saturday, May 10 - 12 PM EST (Rounds 4-7 - 5 minutes per pick)
TV schedule: NFL Network and ESPN/ESPN will televise the draft.