Is Danny Watkins Really Too Old For The Steelers To Draft?
I had a feeling that as soon as I mentioned the Danny Watkins name as an example in my Steelers likely to draft the best player available post, I knew it would get a reaction. Steeler Nation is so afraid to see or hear the name Danny Watkins mentioned anywhere as a pick by the Steelers in a mock draft or even mentioned as a possibly first round target. Why you ask? Watkins is closing in on collecting Social Security. In the land of the 2011 draft class, Danny is Methuselah. I will have to check Wikipedia, but I am pretty sure Methuselah is his middle name. I could be wrong though.
OK, let's see exactly how old Mr. Methuselah Watkins really is and how it may or may not affect his draft status with the Steelers. First and foremost I will point out that Watkins will be 9802 days old if the 2011 season kicks off on September 8th this fall. That equates to 26 years, 10 months and 2 days on that opening Thursday NFL night. Pretty ancient for sure.
The next thing we will look at is the age of the Steelers 1st through 3rd round draft picks dating back to the 2000 draft on the first day of their rookie season. For example, Maurkice Pouncey was 7717 days old when the Saints and Vikings kicked off the 2010 season and Plaxico Burress was 8423 days old the week 1 Sunday in 2000. Get the drift? As you can see, Casey Hampton was the oldest Steelers player drafted in the first 3 rounds by the Steelers dating back to 2000. Hampton was 8772 days old when week 1 of his rookie season rolled around. Watkins would still be nearly 3 years older than that.
|POS||Player||YEAR||ROUND||WEEK 1 DAYS OLD||YEARS/MONTHS/DAYS|
|NT||Casey Hampton||2001||1||8772||24 Years 0 Months 6 Days|
|WR||Willie Reid||2006||3||8754||23 Years 11 Months 19 Days|
|G||Kraig Urbik||2009||3||8753||23 Years 11 Months 18 Days|
|CB||Bryant McFadden||2005||2||8692||23 Years 9 Months 18 Days|
|TE||Matt Spaeth||2007||3||8687||23 Years 9 Months 13 Days|
|WR||Limas Sweed||2008||2||8654||23 Years 8 Months 10 Days|
|G||Kendall Simmons||2002||1||8579||23 Years 5 Months 25 Days|
|WR||Emmanuel Sanders||2010||3||8577||23 Years 5 Months 23 Days|
|CB||Keenan Lewis||2009||3||8517||23 Years 3 Months 24 Days|
|WR||Mike Wallace||2009||3||8441||23 Years 1 Month 9 Days|
|WR||Plaxico Burress||2000||1||8423||23 Years 0 Months 22 Days|
|WR||Antwaan Randle El||2002||2||8420||23 Years 0 Months 19 Day|
|CB||Hank Poteat||2000||3||8405||23 Years 0 Months 4 Days|
|LB||Bruce Davis||2008||3||8403||23 Years 0 Months 2 Days|
|LB||Alonzo Jackson||2003||2||8389||22 Years 11 Months 20 Days|
|DB||Anthony Smith||2006||3||8388||22 Years 11 Months 18 Days|
|TE||Heath Miller||2005||1||8357||22 Years 10 Months 17 Days|
|OLB||LaMarr Woodley||2007||2||8342||22 Years 10 Months 3 Days|
|T||Trai Essex||2005||3||8313||22 Years 9 Months 3 Days|
|T||Max Starks||2004||3||8278||22 Years 7 Months 30 Days|
|DE||Ziggy Hood||2009||1||8242||22 Years 6 Months 25 Days|
|QB||Ben Roethlisberger||2004||1||8227||22 Years 6 Months 7 Days|
|OLB||Jason Worilds||2010||2||8225||22 Years 6 Months 6 Days|
|WR||Santonio Holmes||2006||1||8223||22 Years 6 Months 4 Days|
|CB||Ricardo Colclough||2004||2||8180||22 Years 4 Months 22 Days|
|SS||Troy Polamalu||2003||1||8173||22 Years 4 Months 16 Days|
|T||Marvel Smith||2000||2||8064||22 Years 0 Months 28 Days|
|DT||Kendrick Clancy||2000||3||8022||21 Years 11 Months 17 Days|
|DB||Chris Hope||2002||3||8011||21 Years 11 Months 7 Days|
|ILB||Lawrence Timmons||2007||1||7785||21 Years 3 Months 23 Days|
|RB||Rashard Mendenhall||2008||1||7748||21 Years 2 Months 16 Days|
|LB||Kendrell Bell||2001||2||7739||21 Years 2 Months 7 Days|
|C||Maurkice Pouncey||2010||1||7717||21 Years 1 Month 16 Days|
I have to admit, based on that data alone, he sure does not look like anything the Steelers would have interest in. The next step is to check under the hood of this old man to see what football mileage he has on him. Watkins played in all 22 games as freshman and sophomore at Butte Junior College in California and started all 25 games at left tackle during his Baylor career. There does not seem to be any injury history associated with him and recently joked that he does not have arthritis yet and feels pretty good.
Watkins may have played left tackle at Baylor, but he projects as a guard at the next level and is in many cases the 2nd best interior lineman in the draft behind Mike Pouncey on most of the rankings. Watkins had a great Senior Bowl week and was asked to kick inside to guard. He transitioned very smoothly and looked like a natural. Of course he could use some coaching on technique, but what young player doesn't. He looks like a guy who could make an immediate impact at right guard for a team that drafts him. Say by week 4 or so.
It all boils back to the age thing with Steeler Nation though. Let's assume he was picked in the first round. Depending on how the labor stuff plays out, there could be a rookie wage scale. It is safe to say though a player drafted in round 1 will get either a 4 or 5 year contract. Most of the fear associated with Watkins is that he could be just a one contract guy. Sure and that is a valid argument. Let's for the sake of the argument say that there is a rookie wage scale that limits first rounder to a four-year deal. This means that Watkins would enter the final year of his contract just shy of 30 years old and would turn 31 mid way through his last season. Let's now take a look at the ages of the top 20 guards as ranked by Pro Football Focus for the 2010 season and see how old each were when the 2010 season kicked off on Thursday night. 5 of those players on that list were 30 or older when the season started. That's 25%. Not bad. The best thing with Watkins is that he could probably be extended before he entered a final season of a four year deal. Should he be a bust, the Steelers also would benefit from it only being a four year versus five year deal. Should he get a traditional 5 year deal at least you would have that spot locked up for half a decade should he be as advertised on film and lives up to the pre draft expectations. So what if he is just a one contract draft pick. Can he help the Steelers win championships in those years is what I am concerned with.
|RANK||POS||PLAYER||TEAM||WEEK 1 DAYS OLD||Years/Months/Days|
|1||LG||Carl Nicks||NO||9249||25 Years 3 Months 26 Days|
|2||RG||Josh Sitton||GB||8861||24 Years 3 Months 3 Days|
|3||LG||Wade Smith||HST||10728||29 Years 4 Months 14 Days|
|4||RG||Bobbie Williams||CIN||12402||33 Years 11 Months 15 Days|
|5||RG||Harvey Dahl||ATL||10669||29 Years 2 Months 16 Days|
|6||LG||Chilo Rachal||SF||8944||24 Years 5 Months 25 Days|
|7||LG||Kris Dielman||SD||10810||29 Years 7 Months 6 Days|
|8||LG||Ben Grubbs||BLT||9679||26 Years 5 Months 30 Days|
|9||RG||Brandon Moore||NYJ||11055||30 Years 3 Months 6 Days|
|10||LG||Mike Iupati||SF||8521||23 Years 3 Months 28 Days|
|11||LG||Brian Waters||KC||12256||33 Years 6 Months 22 Days|
|11||LG||Justin Blalock||ATL||9760||26 Years 8 Months 20 Days|
|13||RG||Geoff Schwartz||CAR||8826||24 Years 1 Month 29 Days|
|14||RG||Leonard Davis||DAL||11692||32 Years 0 Months 4 Days|
|15||LG||Richie Incognito||MIA||9928||27 Years 2 Months 4 Days|
|16||RG||Ryan Lilja||KC||10556||28 Years 10 Months 25 Days|
|17||LG||Jacob Bell||SL||10783||29 Years 6 Months 7 Days|
|18||LG||Rich Seubert||NYG||11486||31 Years 5 Months 10 Days|
|19||RG||Chris Chester||BLT||10102||27 Years 7 Months 28 Days|
|20||RG||Chris Snee||NYG||10461||28 Years 7 Months 22 Days|
Let's summarize. Watkins in many opinions is the 2nd best interior lineman in the draft and the Steelers could indeed consider the right guard position some what of a need after shuffling Trai Essex, Doug Legursky and Ramon Foster at the spot in 2010. Watkins played tackle in college so he certainly would have some position flexibility. He certainly looks good on tape and is an all around mature older kid that has interviewed well according to reports. He looks and sounds like a guy that could contribute pretty quickly in his rookie season. He might be a one and a half contract guy and I do not think that should scare the Steelers off even though he would be the oldest draft pick in 11 years. Now in no way am I saying that Watkins will be the pick at #31 for the Steelers, but I am certainly not ready to rule him out just on age alone. He looks like the real deal though and time will tell. Perhaps Methuselah Watkins knows Father Time.
ETA: Fixed the Pouncey numbers which I carried over wrong.
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