The Philadelphia Eagles felt great about Danny Watkins just a few years ago, drafting him in the first round with the 23rd overall selection.
It didn't work out as planned, though, for the Canadian former firefighter who emerged as a football prospect at Baylor.
Now, he's out of a job, cut after two seasons.
“I think when you talk about Danny, a change of scenery was necessary for him,” general manager Howie Roseman told reporters. “The pressure of being a first-round pick in Philadelphia and how he internalized that, the way for him to get his career back on track was to go to a new place, and both I and Chip [Kelly] told him that today.”
Watkins started 18 games, but never displayed the toughness the Eagles hoped for. He was benched in October.
Watkins is subject to waivers. If he's claimed, that team owes him $1.096 million fully guaranteed.
The Eagles owe him that money if he clears waivers.
“We felt like at this point we’re starting new and we’re starting fresh,” Roseman said. “And we felt like it was best for him to do the same thing. When you watched Danny play, the toughness, the hockey-playing aspect of him, never translated to Philadelphia, and that’s one of the things that I told him today, was that when you watched him at Baylor and when you watched him at the Senior Bowl and when you met him, he had this innate toughness about him. You felt like you were getting an enforcer, and he never let himself go here on that, and I don’t know why that was.
“I told him that was what I was the most confused by. Because that was something that everyone at Baylor told you about and you saw on his play on the field, and I think it all goes back to the pressure he put on himself here. He put a lot of pressure on himself, and he couldn’t just go out and play, and I think getting away from being Danny Watkins the first-round pick and just being Danny Watkins will really help him.”
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.