- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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Sending first-round draft pick Danny Watkins to the bench right before the start of the season didn't mean the Philadelphia Eagles were giving up on him. It just meant they didn't think he was ready yet to be their starting right guard. Some rookies had less trouble making the transition to the NFL in a compressed offseason than did others. Eagles center Jason Kelce is an example. Cam Newton is apparently another.
But Watkins did struggle in the preseason, so the Eagles went out and signed veteran Kyle DeVan to start at right guard in his place. Now, however, the kid is back. According to Geoff Mosher of The News Journal, the Eagles plan to start Watkins at right guard for this week's desperation game in Buffalo.
DeVan had a rough time Sunday against the 49ers, and that's got to be part of the reasoning. But the Eagles wouldn't be making this move if they hadn't seen some level of improvement from Watkins in practice each week. Part of the reason for drafting Watkins was that he looked like a guy who'd be ready to start right away. For whatever reason (the lockout, his holdout or any number of other possible reasons) he wasn't. But it's not out of the realm of possibility to think all he needed was another month in order to get ready.
The Eagles had better hope he is, because with left tackle Jason Peters out with an injury, the line is already thinner in front of Michael Vick. And the Bills will no doubt work on trying to attack the spot where a rookie is making his first NFL start.