Some Old, Some New For Watkins

Watkins Matthews
If you’re trying to get a feel for what Jaylen Watkins is like as a player, talking with Jordan Matthews is a pretty good place to start. Watkins and Matthews both began playing college ball in 2010, and as conference foes in the SEC, went up against one another quite a bit.

“The thing that I remember is that I could never get away from him,” said Matthews. “I would  go outside and he’s standing there staring me in the face. And then I would go to the ‘Y’ in the three-by-one in any type of ’10′ personnel and he’s coming over and playing ‘one’ coverage over top of me, too. Jaylen is so versatile,” said Matthews.

“Then I had to go deal with him at the Senior Bowl, too, so it’s like I really can’t get away from him. Then I come to the NFL and he’s right here, too. I guess we’ve always had that bond or something.”


For the record, Matthews was limited to five catches for 45 yards and no touchdowns against Florida last November -- his lowest output of the season. He had a nice day against the Gators his junior year, though, with eight catches for 131 yards and a score.

Of  the Eagles' seven draft picks, Watkins may be the one that arouses the most curiosity. Part of that is because we don't even know what position he is going to play for this defense long-term. He lined up a good deal at safety last season for Florida and the Eagles are thinking he has the tools to play the position down the line in the NFL. For now he will compete at corner, where he is most comfortable. Another part is connected to his upside. Watkins ran a 4.41 40 time at the combine on a bad ankle. He told reporters last week that he believes he could have run a 4.3 if healthy.

"We thought he's another one of those guys kind of like when we got Brandon [Boykin], who if his ankle was 100 percent would have ran even faster and done even better in his testing," said Howie Roseman. "When you talk about the package of things he can do, he can play corner, he can play nickel, he can play safety.  We think he's got starting ability at all those three spots.  He's almost six feet tall.  He's as smart as you can be."

As Sheil mentioned in his defensive depth chart analysis, the 21-year-old could be used in sub-packages early assuming he doesn't wrestle one of the starting  outside cornerback posts away from Cary Williams or Bradley Fletcher.  Watkins says the coverages he has learned in his limited time with the Eagles are similar to what they ran at Florida, but grasping the new terminology and scheme is part of the learning curve he'll be fighting through in the coming weeks and months.

"It been challenging, but that's been the best part about it," said Watkins. "I'm learning a whole new defense. I was a starter for three years in my last defense so every year you come in, you just go to work. Now I have to take a different mental approach to learning the plays and the speed outside of the field. So everything is a little different."

He'll see a familiar face opposite him, though, as he gets acclimated to professional ball in camp this summer.

"He's going to be great, man," said Matthews. "Just one of the most versatile DBs in this whole draft class."

 

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  • damrvrhunter

    Matthews with the Kelce-like coach speak, kid has burgeoning team leader written all over him. Just has to produce on the field before we coronate him.

    • JofreyRice

      guy sounds like one of the vets of the locker-room already! Amazing person!

      • damrvrhunter

        Yup he seems that way!

    • shady25

      Yeah I know. Seems like he is dedicated to football and not building his rap label. I know I know. Had to stick that jab in there. Anyway, I think Matthews, Maclin, Cooper has the potential to be pretty damn good in this offense if they stick together.

      • damrvrhunter

        Oh poor DJax we hardly loved yah. How quickly we all forget.

      • Eagles1018

        Agreed. And as Sheil mentioned earlier since the Eagles tried to offer JMac a 5
        yr deal they must have the inside track and feel good about his recovery from the acl injury. Excited about this offense (also with Sproles and Huff plus a good TE core). We should be rocking again this season. Just gotta stay healthy (fingers crossed….)

      • TripSquadMonopoly

        Cooper will never be a great receiver

        • peteike

          he can be a great #3 WR though

          • TripSquadMonopoly

            True that. Is he being payed #3 WR money tho…

          • oreofestar

            he is getting low 2 money less than Hartline and Burleson contracts in the ROYAl range

          • borntosuffer

            Low two sounds about right for Cooper, no? I think if we include his special teams contributions and the fact that he is a good blocker it appears to be justifiable. I think Jackson’s production is/was worth the money. Evidently, Chip believes he can do better with Jackson’s money.

          • Maggie

            Who cares?

          • JofreyRice

            The same people who were complaining the Jackson was overpaid, hopefully.

        • Joe from Easton

          He doesn’t need to be great. He just needs to make people pay for covering him man to man when they’re trying to role coverage to account for Shady or Sproles out of the backfield, or Ertz in the seam, or Matthews in the slot, or… wow, Kelly has some options doesn’t he?

  • Jerry Pomroy

    Watkins is my favorite to be our steal of the draft. I think Davis will fall in love with him early if he hasn’t already. He’ll be a player & adds some much needed youth, speed and athleticism to the secondary. I’ve got a feeling about this kid.

    • Andy124

      My steal of the draft is getting a 3rd to move back 4 spots. Total theft. *rimshot*

      • Jerry Pomroy

        I have a feeling that your favorite muppets were the two old men in the balcony…

        • Andy124

          LOL. No.
          I was more of a Fraggle Rock kinda guy.

          • Johnny Domino

            Sweetums

          • Jerry Pomroy

            Dance your cares away
            Worry’s for another day
            Let the music play
            Down at Fraggle Rock

            I was caught in between being born in ’75.

        • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

          Statler and Waldorf were the best. And Swedish chef

          • Jerry Pomroy

            Borscht borscht!

          • Maggie

            Nitpicking I know, but borscht is not actually Swedish. It just sounds like it!

          • Jerry Pomroy

            Well it sounds a whole lot better than “svedish meatball, svedish meatball”.

          • Andy124

            bikini team bikini team

          • Jerry Pomroy

            Perdy Perdy

          • borntosuffer

            How about Schweddy Balls (SNL tm)? Are they Schwedish?

        • Maggie

          Nothing like a little snottiness to keep parents watching with the kids. ;~)

      • damrvrhunter

        Kempski illustrated it nicely, in one of two scenarios they either move up for HaHa OR get Smart, Matthews, Huff and Watkins. So unless Haha becomes the greatest corner since Lofton while single handedly winning the Superbowl, I will take the 4 players we got. Howie really impressed!

        • guest

          You’re messing it up. Matthews shouldn’t be included there. The Eagles traded their own 4th to get Matthews. Huff was taken with the Eagles 3rd round pick. They traded the Browns 3rd round pick for picks in the 4th (Watkins) and 5th (Hart).

          With the 22nd pick, the Eagles got Smith, Watkins, and Hart.
          With the 54th and 122nd picks, the Eagles got Matthews.

          Kempski is still right. I’d rather have Smith, Watkins, and Hart than just HaHa.

          But you can’t include Matthews. Not only was he not a part of the 1st round trade down, but he actually cost the Eagles 2 picks. So he needs to be good to justify giving up that 4th rounder

          • damrvrhunter

            “So he needs to be good to justify giving up that 4th rounder” I think you need not worry about the “extra” missing 4th rounder and along the same lines Sproles will justify replacing the 5th rounder absent from the 90 man roster.

          • dnabrice

            Huff is often included in that analysis, because to move up the 2 spots to get Haha/Cooks would have cost the 3rd we used on Huff.

          • Brian Zee

            I think Kempski pointed out that we would have likely had to trade our #3in order to move up to get HaHa so we would not have had the ammo to move up ang get Jordan where we did. Or something like that…..

  • Dante Inked UP Lovings

    Jaylen Watkins is one of my favorite picks in draft, I think he should play nickle move Boykin to the outside. I’m also scared to do that because Boykin played so great at nickle last year he almost made it to the pro bowl. But we will see if that happens, if it does I guess Nolen, Williams, Flecther will battle for the last spot..I dnt see that happening to soon, unless Watkins make a really early impression during mini camp + preseason, but nice to see they improve their secondary from last year, i still wanted to see them get a big play S still, but Earl Wolff will decide that he should win the second S job playing along side Malcome Jenkings..

  • jabostick

    I like what i’ve heard about Watkins and interested to see what Carroll is like. Should be a fun camp battle at CB at least

    • Jerry Pomroy

      I’m hoping it’s gonna be more fun than watching a certain JO wannabe king finally get his. Shh, Andy is still in GOT purgatory.

      • Andy124

        Buddy’s lending me the blu-rays tomorrow.

        • Jerry Pomroy

          Ahh, enjoy. I’ve been catching up since I gave into getting cable back.

    • paul from nc

      As long as he can cover and tackle, I’m happy

  • shady25

    I am feeling a lot better about this secondary going into this year than I did last year. By 2015 we might have 2 rookies (Watkins and Reynolds) starting in the secondary. I think we leave Watkins at corner and don’t try to get too tricky with him. Let him focus on becoming a shutdown corner like we let Boykin focus on becoming the best slot corner. I think Watkins has the potential to become a shutdown corner if we let him focus on outside corner. Will push Williams out the door with his 6 million salary next year.

    • mtn_green

      I’m thinking Reynolds is gonna get injured *cough* and on injured reserve. Unless he kills it in special teams, which he might. Defense is easier to learn than offense but he is a 5th rounder. Safety is stacked with mediocrity and Ed would probably have to bear out Allen.

    • Jim

      I’m a Gators fan and have seen Watkins play 20+ over the past two years. He’s highest upside is at safety no question. He is very good at playing center field and is a solid tackler. I would say he can become a very good safety, maybe even make a pro bowl or two at safety (similar to Q. Mikel). At corner, he is probably only an average starter (B. Fletcher).

  • TNA

    Nice WSJ article today continuing coverage of “Eagles Like Grads” story. One question I would look into is whether successful teams do better with college grads because 1) their bodies are more developed because they’re one year older; 2) they’re a little more mature; and 3) they are closer to their physical peak while still on their rookie contract.
    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304422704579572050338722302

    But I like this quote from Huff:

    Those close to Kelly say the degree is largely valued for one reason. “Coach Kelly is an offensive genius,” said former Oregon receiver Josh Huff, whom the Eagles took in the third round this month. “You have to be on the same level as him because you have to know why he’s doing what he’s doing.”

    Huff said Kelly’s offense can be so complex, and understanding every nuance of it is so crucial, that uninitiated players can’t be tolerated. Kelly’s offense often relies on a no-huddle approach in which the ball is snapped quickly to catch the defense off guard. But it can catch the offense off guard, too.

    “In this offense you have to know absolutely everything,” Huff said. “If you have to think about it for a second, the ball will be snapped and you’re going to be looking dumb.”

    • TNA

      Players who get “targeted” by the Eagles must feel good about themselves about making the cut — I’m good enough I’m smart enough and gosh darn it the Eagles like me!

    • shady25

      “The trends over the last five drafts are startling. Studies show that teams who select players who spent five years in college—and thus almost always have a degree—win big. Of the three teams with the most fifth-year seniors drafted, two of them met in February’s Super Bowl: the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos. The Jacksonville Jaguars, who went 4-12, took the fewest.”

      Makes sense to me. Can’t play for me if you’re a dummy. Don’t care how fast, big, talented, athletic you are….

      • TNA

        …if you don’t know how to use it.

    • TNA

      There’s also this gem from the same article:

      When Beau Allen, a 325-pound nose tackle from Wisconsin, toured the country before the draft to visit with teams, he got a question or two about academics. Most teams didn’t ask much more than just what kind of student he was. Then he sat down with Chip Kelly, the Eagles’ radical coach.

      Kelly began peppering him with questions about why he chose his major (business), what his hardest class was and why (“I’m not much of an accounting guy,” he said. “I always struggle with it”) and how he learned in the classroom—that is, what professors needed to do to get through to him. Allen pegged himself as a visual learner, someone who likes to write everything down in a notebook to memorize it. A computer won’t do. After the Eagles drafted him in the seventh round, Allen arrived in Philadelphia to see that every player was given—uh oh—a tablet computer in which to see the playbook. Players were taking screenshots to better memorize plays. Allen was slightly panicked until he saw his stylus had a pen on the other end, and that the team gave him a notebook, too. Yes, Allen thought, the
      Eagles cared about how he learned.

      • Amar

        That is very impressive. Thanks for sharing.

      • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

        Love it. Saw that when Chris Brown (smart football) shared it.
        In Chip I Trust

      • paul from nc

        This kind of info is what makes this one of the better Eagles’ sites out there.

    • eaglefansocal

      That is the best article I have seen in a long time! As good as Birds 24/7 is this article has great stuff in it we have not seen on this site.

      • Andy124

        It’s one thing to think it…

    • Johnny Domino

      Grads do get access to the Complex sooner, got to count for something.

    • Maggie

      Possibly Chip and others also care about the players actually being educated as their football careers are so short?

      • Andy124

        I’m not willing to give him that much credit. I think it’s all about the demonstrated ability to accomplish a goal.

        • damrvrhunter

          I agree. As much as Chip cares I doubt he is concerned with a player’s post career employment options.

        • Maggie

          W-e-ll, I was just asking a question? To add onto the goal accomplishment.

          • Andy124

            Yup. And it was an interesting thought imo. And I responded with my guess as to the answer to that question. I like Chip well enough, and as a college coach he may well have cared about his players post-football careers. I think all college coaches should. And I’d be surprised if he didn’t care about the futures, football and otherwise, of the players on his team. I just don’t think that’s a factor in his draft strategy.

      • paul from nc

        Probably not. He’s only concerned that they can learn the scheme.

    • paul from nc

      I know they ran the hurry up last year, but I don’t think it was as quick as Kelly wanted. Maybe this year, with more experience, it will get up the Chippa speed.

  • addicted2mula

    MAN I CAN’T WAIT TILL WE TRAINING CAMP START AND WE ACTUALLY SEE THEM MOVING AROUND

    • Jerry Pomroy

      Tone it down Mula, your caps lock is hurting my brain… lol.

  • Jerry Pomroy

    “Did it work?”
    “Huh?”
    “Did what work?”
    “The helmet.”
    “What helmet?”

    Check out @MikeMcCartney7′s Tweet: https://twitter.com/MikeMcCartney7/status/469140849696055300

  • oreofestar

    Sorry I have been out for a few days I have been in full lottery mode and had to meditate but for the .04 people who care I am not dead :P

    • cliff henny

      now, it’s Hinkie-Time. feeling very confident Hinkie will walk with 2 studs and more assets draft day.

      • peteike

        we can only hope at this point, hoops is much harder to draft and target the correct guys. We traded a known in Jru for a (almost unanimous) #1 in Nerlens (and 10 this year) and a dream of potential with all the other young potential this team will have. That gets fans excited, much preferred over the 8th seed purgatory. Cant wait to watch this team next 3 plus years, Hinkies brought that much at least.

        • cliff henny

          plus, style of play is so much more fun to watch. say sixers get Exxum and Gordon, play Wooten at 2, noel and MCW, these old walk it up teams are going to pressed hounded and trapped into thinking Brown’s got 6 or 7 guys out on court.

          • oreofestar

            Exum and Gordon would be nice

          • cliff henny

            yup. sixer can sell me a ’14 team with Wiggins/Parker/Exum paired with Vonlah/Gordon. I’m watching high 70′s. take Embiid, and hang onto Noel, that’s an asset pick someone is getting flipped, i’ll pay attention, but not re-arrange schedule

          • Aussie Eagle

            I’m only just getting into hoops, so forgive any foolishness from me – but why would Sixers take Exum (I’d be thrilled, an Aussie in Philly!) when we have MCW coming off such a good rookie campaign? I don’t hear of either guy’s ability to play both guard spots? Both have questionable jumpers

          • cliff henny

            assets. figure out which one you want, flip the other. Hinkie is from Houston, that’s the theory there. what you say is very correct, but parker doesnt play defense as well as sixers would prefer and there’s plenty of press about him being out of shape, i’d still want parker if embiid and wiggins go 1/2.. Exum’s jumper isnt broken, think it was Legler who said the release point needs consistancy. Brown can fix a jumper and maybe talk him into being a 2. he’s more like kelly than most coaches, he’s hands on. most scouts say it’s top 4, then real solid 6-8 guys, but there will be guyspicked in 20′s and 30′s that have very productive careers.

      • oreofestar

        yeah Wiggins dream is not dead but the union will likely not happen so Jabari or Exum it looks like cuz I do not like Embiid unless we trade Nerlens

        • cliff henny

          Embiid falls to #3, bet Hinkie will have a trade lined-up that’ll make Jrue’s look like child’s play. Lakers will sell farm. so would the Celtics

          • oreofestar

            you mean for Nerlens or to trade for Embiid I am hoping not the latter

          • cliff henny

            meant trading out of pick. or take Embiid, move Noel, don’t really care (never really crossed my mind about moving Noel. till he plays, he cant be worth all that much). I trust Hinkie in that he will maximize return. a, Cleve and Milw would have to be higher than Wiz Khalifa and Snoop/Lion dog combined and b, cant see noel / embiid working together long term. but, acquire assets, move one later

          • oreofestar

            no way I trade down I am taking Parker or Exum at 3 then at 10 I am looking Thad to move up, only floated Nerlens idea if they really like Embiid would not be shocked for a team like LA giving us pick 7 for him

          • cliff henny

            thad and #10 gets you probably to the 8th pick, max, Sac-town was sniffing around, probably take a bad contract for them too. to get any higher than 8, need a 3rd team to play along, eat a contract or 2 for more assets. Chicago and “Melo and that Boozer contract could get sixers some assets to move up. sixers have like 30m this year and more than that in ’15. be a lot of overpaid bums coming thru town next 2 yrs, Granger was the 1st of many

          • Andy124

            Could they use thad to move up to #1 and take wiggins since cleve probably wants embib anyway and he’s likely be there and #3? Or is he not near enough?

          • cliff henny

            think he’s like Graham, not sure he’s worth a lot, maybe only to select clubs. he’s not resigning with teams like sixers, wanting him to be vet presence. teams like SA or OKC, where he can be 4th or 5th versatile piece in winning, would seem little more logical. why I think he needs a 3-way to get value in this draft. or wait till trade deadline, see if OKC or another good team ponies up a ’15 pick.
            .
            but hey, what do I know, thought Bryce was 6th, at best.

          • Andy124

            Good point.

        • sleepz

          Why do most fans think Nerlens is going to be good?
          Embiid is a far better prospect short and long term than Noel will ever be.

          • oreofestar

            I am looking forward to see Noel and while I like Embiid more Exum/Parker and Noel is better than Embiid if we draft Embiid, Noel has to go think maybe find a way to trade Noel and 10 for Exum

    • IAteLunchToday

      It’s crazy that you write that, because another commenter got in a car wreck the other day and it made me think something weird. What if one the people here suddenly stopped posting and never came back? I guess it could be that they could have died, but we might not know for sure. Crazy. Anyways, glad all is well.

  • Steve

    A tale of two Watkins:

    “It’s definitely overwhelming. That’s for sure.” – Danny Watkins 2011

    “It’s been challenging, but that’s been the best part about it.” – Jaylen Watkins 2013

    One of these things is not like the other.

    • Eagles1018

      Yeah tell me about it.

  • cliff henny

    man, really hoping Matthews is a player. between him and Kelly, more soundbites, please! nothing worse than all talk no walk

  • All Things Bad@ss

    Just saw Maragos at the White House with the Hawks. Must be a bit strange being back with the team that sent ya packing

    • Maggie

      Earning the ring. Meeting the current President in the White House. Playing ball with buddies. All great. Traded or dropped? Just the business side. And he has joined a potential winner, not the Detroit Lions.

      • Jerry Pomroy

        Uh signed as a FA.

        • Maggie

          Wasn’t actually asking whether he was traded or dropped. Just trying to indicate that most players seem to feel it’s all part of the game.

      • All Things Bad@ss

        Yeah, of course. I should’ve said the team that letcha walk. Just an innocuous statement really. And yeah, Maragos must be stoked to play under Chip in a city with even more passion than the 12th man.

  • Scott J

    Makes me feel good about Watkins, but not so good about Mathews.

    • Septhinox

      The all time leading receiver in SEC history and you don’t feel good about him because he had a bad game against Florida this year?

  • anon