Jaylen Watkins started at both cornerback and safety for the University of Florida.
Where Watkins, taken in the fourth round, will wind up with the Philadelphia Eagles is unclear, but they’ll get a good look at his ability when OTAs open on Tuesday.
Watkins was selected by the Eagles in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft, and the Eagles were ecstatic.
“We didn’t go in and draft [Watkins] because we think he’s just a nickel corner or we think he’s just a role player who can just fill in in a variety of spots,” Eagles general manager Howie Roseman told reporters when the draft concluded. “I use him as the example because I know he did a lot of that at Florida. But just having an opportunity to study that program, be around that program, talk to the head football coach there, that’s the kind of player he is. They were looking for a guy who could go in and kind of call the defense for them, but he’s as talented as anyone on that defense. So he was just – the fact that he was versatile just added to his value for them, but he certainly could be a starting outside corner in the National Football League. He’s got enough ability to play three spots. That makes him intriguing just as he grows, but we don’t look at him as just a role player reserve as his ceiling.
“For us with [Watkins], when we weighed all the factors about moving down, we just thought he was a very valuable player for us,” Roseman added. “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. 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 6-feet tall. He’s as smart as you can be. I had a chance to talk to Florida coach Will Muschamp, obviously. I go down to Florida every year, know his career, so I just didn’t want to risk it. The other thing you’ve got to look at is how far do you want to go? You’ve got a team whose ex-defensive coordinator that have two picks within 10 of us, and we just felt like we would have a lot of regrets if we got cute there.”