For the upcoming fantasy football season, top-tier wide receiver prospect Sammy Watkins likely holds the greatest potential value of any offensive skill player in the 2014 NFL draft. However, his fantasy production as a rookie will largely depend upon where he ultimately lands.
Nearly every projection and NFL scout views Watkins as a top-five pick in Thursday’s draft. While he will almost assuredly go off the board this early, any team could hypothetically trade up to grab Watkins for the right price.
All but one team currently in the top five of the draft order has the need for wide receiver depth. Only the Houston Texans, currently holding the No. 1 overall pick, are essentially a lock to pass on Watkins—the Texans drafted Watkins’ former college teammate, DeAndre Hopkins, with their first-round pick in last year’s draft.
Consensus opinion among most draft analysts has Watkins headed to Jacksonville (pick No. 3), Cleveland (pick No. 4) or Oakland (pick No. 5). However, a source extremely close to the three-time All-American receiver—Watkins himself—suspects a Julio Jones-esque trade-up scenario:
I truly think a team going to jump up n grab me who it may be i know 😂— Sammy Watkins (@sammywatkins) April 29, 2014
All those teams in top 10 might draft me but I been thinking outside the box interesting phone calls 😳😁😱😥— Sammy Watkins (@sammywatkins) April 29, 2014
In 2012, the Atlanta Falcons gave up five draft picks to jump all the way from the 27th overall pick to grab Jones at pick No. 6. Such a blockbuster deal is rare; however, Watkins’ enticing, NFL-ready skill set might just be enough to merit such a trade.
If a team, especially a potential Super Bowl contender, views Watkins as a transformational talent, there is always a price at which a deal can be done.
Under the assumption that he could end up just about anywhere, let’s take a look at the five best landing spots to maximize Watkins’ fantasy value in 2014.