Laiatu Latu was the 2023 Ted Hendricks winner, an award given to college football’s best defensive end. He had 13 sacks, two picks, and two forced fumbles, but the Eagles cannot draft him:

Can’t do it. Can’t draft a firefighter or else we’re looking at another Danny Watkins situation. We need you focused on bringing down Dak Prescott, not saving lives and selflessly serving the community. Off the board comes Laiatu Latu.

By the way, whatever happened to Danny Watkins? He did end up becoming a firefighter after all, down in the Dallas area. He’s 39 years old now and considered to be one of the biggest 1st round busts in Eagles history, but the most recent thing I could find on him was this 2016 article from Emily Kaplan at the Sports Illustrated:

Watkins is adamant he wasn’t fighting fires while with the Eagles. It was a misunderstanding, he says. Repeatedly, the coaching staff called him in and questioned his priorities, told him he needed to spend less time at firehouses and more time at the facility. But he insists he wanted to make it work with the Eagles.

“I guess you could say it didn’t go well in Philadelphia. I got hurt [he dealt with a nagging ankle injury his second season] and never really performed,” he says. “Then I got to Miami, and the whole Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito scandal happened, and I looked around and realized this isn’t where I wanted to be. I re-evaluated how things were going, and I knew I was ready to be a fireman again. I missed it so much.”

(Howard) Mudd thinks back to the local news footage, a mystery that, publicly, has never been solved. In August, Philadelphia sports blog Crossing Broad published photos that allegedly depict Watkins fighting a fire. The Philadelphia Fire Department looked into claims Watkins violated code; PFD Executive Chief Clifford Gilliam says the case is closed, no action will be taken against Watkins.

Mudd knows what he saw on the news… or maybe he had just heard about it so many times he convinced himself that he saw it. Now, he thinks back and sighs. “It wasn’t like it was a national emergency, like the fire department summoned anyone with experience to help,” Mudd says. “For whatever reason, he was just motivated to be there and not with us.”

A really fascinating story, if nothing else. It’s worth a read.

Also, Mel Kiper Jr. didn’t get the memo: