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Sammy Watkins NFL Draft 2014: Highlights, Scouting Report for Buffalo Bills WR

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 03: Sammy Watkins #2 of the Clemson Tigers runs with the ball in the first half against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 3, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Ryan McCrystalFeatured ColumnistFebruary 10, 2014

Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson (HT: 6'0¾", 211 lbs)

Buffalo Bills

First Round: Fourth Pick (From Cleveland Browns for two 2015 picks)

NFL Comparison: A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

Combine Weigh In
HeightWeightArmsHands
6'0 3/4"21132"9 5/8"
NFL.com
Combine Workout
40-Yard Dash10-yd SplitVerticalBroad Jump3-Cone DrillShuttle
4.431.5334.0"10'6"6.954.34
NFL.com

Positives

  • Playmaking ability after the catch is a step above all other receivers in this class.
  • Doesn't often win with his size, but he has the height and overall frame to develop in his ability to win the battle in traffic.
  • Has shown the agility and quickness to develop his route running.
  • Consistently catches the ball with his hands away from his body.
  • Has shown some impressive leaping ability and body control in limited opportunities downfield.
  • Speed makes him a threat in the open field.
  • Not afraid of contact and has shown the ability to break tackles.
  • A decisive runner who sees the field and makes quick, explosive cuts.
  • Acceleration off the line of scrimmage is impressive.
  • Not often used as a deep threat in college, but he has the pure speed to develop that area of his game.
  • Capable of making an impact from the slot or when lined up wide. 
  • Gives a decent effort as a blocker and has a good amount of experience blocking in key situations due to Clemson's offensive scheme.
  • An explosive kickoff returner with some experience returning punts as well.

 

 

Negatives

  • Route-running experience is extremely limited.
  • Almost exclusively used on screen passes and other short routes.
  • Hands are a bit of an unknown due to the nature of the catches he was asked to make in college.
  • Very little experience making contested catches.
  • Doesn't drop many balls but when he does, it appears he lacks focus. 
  • Most of his drops were uncontested; he simply turned his attention downfield before securing the football.
  • Size is average at best.
  • Relatively slight frame makes him an injury risk.
  • Some minor durability concerns due to the number of hits he takes and the physical style with which he runs.
  • Knocked out of a few games, including 2012 Chick-fil-A Bowl, with minor injuries.
  • Production dropped off slightly during his sophomore year after a breakout freshman campaign.
  • Teams should look into the dropoff to determine if it was related to effort or simply an issue of battling through lingering injuries. 

 

Collegiate Statistics
YearTeamRecRec YardsYds/RecTD
2011Clemson821,21914.912
2012Clemson5770812.43
2013Clemson1011,46414.512
http://espn.go.com/college-football/player/_/id/512839/sammy-watkins

 

Personal Notes

  • Suspended at the beginning of the 2012 season following an arrest for marijuana possession.
  • Became fourth freshman selected as a first-team All-American by the AP in 2011. 
  • Brother Jaylen played defensive back at Florida. 


Ratings Chart

Chart created at nces.ed.gov/

 

Overall

Watkins has the physical tools to be an elite, well-rounded receiver, but he still needs some development. Clemson's screen-heavy offense severely limited his development in terms of route running and learning how to compete for balls in traffic. He should immediately succeed in a similar role in the NFL, but to reach an elite level, he'll need to develop his downfield skills. He appears to have the tools to excel in an expanded role, but the lack of experience can't be ignored.

He enters the NFL in a similar situation as Peter Warrick, who was an elite playmaker at Florida State. Warrick never fully developed into the well-rounded player the Bengals hoped when they selected him fourth overall, and it's definitely possible that Watkins has a similar fate. 

 

Draft Projection: 1st Round

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