James Madison All-American guard Earl Watford has been selected in the fourth round of the 2013 National Football League Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. Overall, he was the 116th pick of the draft and became the first Duke selected since Arthur Moats was taken by the Buffalo Bills in the 2010 draft. Selected to participate in the NFL Combine earlier this winter, he is now the 14th JMU football player ever taken and the third highest in school history.
Watford was the top-rated offensive lineman for the Dukes, starting all 11 games while also serving as a team captain. Watford earned four top team All-America honors from The Walter Camp Foundation, American Football Coaches Association, Associated Press and The Sports Network. Also a First Team All-CAA selection for the second consecutive season, he allowed just one sack on the season while, under extremely stringent linemen grading, grading out 80 percent or higher six times and 90 percent or better twice. Overall, he graded out at 85 percent for the season and had 25 knockdowns while leading an offense that ranked fourth in rushing offense in the CAA at 209.0 yards per game and 4.6 yards per rush. He blocked for Dae'Quan Scott, who ranked third in the CAA in rushing at 86.8 yards per game and earned Second Team All-CAA honors this year. Watford played in 43 games in his career, starting in 37 of them including the last 35 straight.