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Danny Watkins(notes), the Baylor offensive lineman who was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles with the 23rd pick in the NFL draft, is:

a. The oldest player taken in the first round.

b. Only the fourth Canadian ever selected in the opening round.

c. Without his two front teeth, the product of an old hockey injury (he has replacements).

d. Someone who didn't play football in high school.

e. A former volunteer firefighter.

f. The most compelling story of the 2011 NFL draft.

When his name was read at the draft, Watkins received a standing ovation from a group of his fellow firefighters from the West Kelowna Fire Department in British Columbia. Watkins joined the department as a volunteer at age 16:

When it was time to go to college, Watkins chose a California junior college to pursue his firefighting education. He hadn't played a down of organized football in his life. As you'd expect, it didn't take long for a 6-4, 260-pound guy with size 19 feet to get noticed on campus, and soon Watkins was on the football team, slowly acclimating himself to the game.

Related: Draft pundits weigh in on first round's winners/losers

First he made the Juco All-American team. Two years later he was an All-Big 12 selection at Baylor. Now he'll be tasked with keeping Michael Vick(notes) off the turf.

Judging by his past, Danny Watkins shouldn't have too much trouble in protection.

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