Round 4 – No. 101
Jaylen Watkins, CB
Height: 5’11” – Weight: 194 lbs.
Age: 21 – Class: Senior
The first player selected on the third day of the 2014 NFL Draft, Florida Gators cornerback Jaylen Watkins signed a four-year, $2.72 million contract on Monday with the Philadelphia Eagles, which picked him in the fourth round at No. 101 overall.
One of the most underrated and overlooked players in the draft, Watkins brings a lot to the table for the Philadelphia with his versatility, which will allow him to play corner, nickel or safety as an NFL rookie. He has fluid hips and great change-of-direction and even learned to become a better tackler in 2013 when starting at safety for Florida, checking in third on the team with 52 takedowns.
Watkins ascension began with his play in Senior Bowl practices (he missed the game due to an Achilles injury), continued at the NFL Combine when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.44 seconds, and reached its peak during team interviews as he impressed scouts, coaches and general managers with his high football IQ, tremendous character and obvious maturity.
OnlyGators.com learned the details of Watkins’s contract on Thursday. He will earn $544,257 as a rookie in 2014, including a $420,000 base salary and one-quarter of his $497,028 signing bonus, which will be paid out over the duration of his contract. His annual average salary is $679,257, and his deal maxes out at $809,757 in 2017.
Watkins, who started 28 of the 48 games he played but saw starter’s time in most other contests in 2013, pinpointed the Eagles as an ideal landing spot. He wrote in his OnlyGators.com Path to the Draft blog that he feels like their system fits him very well.
The first Gators cornerback selected since Joe Haden in 2010, Watkins is the 13th UF player chosen by the Eagles since 1954 and the first since wide receiver Riley Cooper in 2010. Watkins will be two former Florida players in Philadelphia – Cooper and rookie tight end Trey Burton, who signed with the team as an undrafted free agent.