Philadelphia Eagles rookie defensive back Jaylen Watkins has been taking reps on the inside and outside at cornerback, and he has the ability to play anywhere in the secondary as arguably the draft class’s most versatile DB. Watkins, who is the younger brother of a certain Buffalo Bills rookie receiver, has a good mix of strength and speed with a forty time in the low 4.4s and 22 reps on the bench press at the Combine. But his biggest calling card heading into his first NFL season is his FBI (football intelligence), which has been on display so far this offseason.
Eagles defensive backs coach John Lovett said, via Jake Kaplan of the Philadelphia Daily News, “When you talk to him about his defense at Florida, he knew what everybody did. I talked to the defensive coordinator [D.J. Durkin] down there. They put him in at positions that he hadn’t even practiced that week because he knew what everybody was doing. He’s really got a great football IQ.”
Watkins probably won’t play much next season with plenty of depth at corner, including free agent signing Nolan Carroll, who has reportedly been the Eagles biggest standout at training camp (Chip Kelly also praised him). However, he should be a top backup, and his versatility will make him a fixture on the Eagles roster. His football IQ gives him plenty of upside, especially considering his pedigree and measurables. Although fellow Florida DBs Marcus Roberson and Loucheiz Purifoy are bigger names, it was Watkins who went drafted as the 101st overall pick and Purifoy and Roberson who surprisingly (well, mainly in the case of Roberson) went without hearing their names called.