Sammy Watkins, the most coveted wide receiver of the 2014 draft class, is headed to Buffalo. The Clemson standout has been selected by the Buffalo Bills with the No. 4 overall pick. The Bills traded up from the No. 9 spot with the Cleveland Browns to acquire Watkins.
Watkins was one of the most dominant receivers in college football from the moment he stepped on the Clemson campus in 2011. He caught a total of 27 touchdowns in his three seasons and piled up over 3,700 yards from scrimmage. He dominated as a freshman with 82 catches for 1,219 yards and 12 touchdowns. After a suspension and some injury issues held him back as a sophomore, Watkins had another dominant season in his junior year, grabbing 101 passes for 1,464 and 12 touchdowns.
As Brian Galliford notes, the Bills have been searching for an elite option at wideout for years. Now they have their man:
Though he is not the size receiver the Bills had been purportedly looking for in the spring months, his leaping ability, strong hands and ability to high-point the football lead to his playing much bigger than his 6’1", 211-pound stature. Excellent with the ball in his hands, Watkins is capable of scoring from any area on the field, and brings a diverse skill set and huge upside to a Bills receiving corps that has been searching for a legitimate No. 1 option for several years.
Help for E.J.?
In his scouting report on Watkins, SB Nation's Dan Kadar noted that the sure-handed playmaker has more upside than any other receiver prospect in this class.
Watkins is a sensation of a wide receiver. As a player, there are few flaws in his game. Those that are there – running a more diverse route tree, catching the ball when pressure is closing on him – are coachable points. Watkins is the type of receiver who can be brought in, start straight away and become a star. Expecting him to have the same type of impact A.J. Green did for the Bengals should be the expectation.
Watkins came in at No. 5 on SB Nation's top 200 big board, behind defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, offensive tackle Jake Matthews and outside linebacker Khalil Mack. Watkins, obviously, was first among receivers, beating Mike Evans for the top spot.
Weight: 211 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.43 seconds
Bench press: 16 reps
Vertical jump: 34.0"
3-cone drill: 6.95 seconds
20-yard shuffle: 4.34 seconds
While he's not the tallest wide receiver, Watkins has a ton of speed and does a ton of damage with the ball in his hands. He needs to clean up his route running a bit, but he demonstrates enough polish in the other areas of his game to make up for it. Watkins gets in and out of his breaks with ease, attacks the football well in the air and has reliable hands. He's the type of player who should be able to impact the game early.