Sammy Watkins will kick off my 2014 NFL Draft Prospect Analysis. Watkins is graded by many as the best wideout in this year’s draft. So, it is only right to start out with the “best”. I didn’t have access to the coach’s tape, so I spent some time on draftbreakdown.com for the prospects’ game film.
Two games in and the first thing that stands out is that Watkins is a straight monster with the ball in his hands. He has a knack for the big play and is mostly effective with the ball in his hands quick in the down. The Clemson offense was wide open and defenses had to keep tabs on where #2 would line up. The Clemson coaches called many quick screens, and reverses to get Watkins active early and often.
Watkins has strong hands, but he will drop the occasional easy ball. He made countless strong catches on back shoulder fades, or within tight windows on slant routes and digs.
Watkins ran a 4.43 second 40 yd dash at the combine and it showed on many plays. Versus Syracuse, he ran past off coverage by the cornerback and caught a go route, then he accelerated to the endzone for six. One of my favorite plays of his was against Georgia. It occurred when Watkins turned to catch a pass that was behind him, then he trucked the defender and did his best Usain Bolt impersonation to gallop into the endzone. It was a play many Redskins fans have seen operated by their #88. Kid’s a beast!
From what I saw, Sammy will need some development on his routes. His transition at the top of his routes are choppy, though he wasn’t asked to run many precise routes within the spread system. He is quick enough to beat press coverage, but he’s yet to see NFL CBs. I think he will adapt expeditiously.
After watching Sammy Watkins run over secondary defenders with ease I drew the comparison of Pierre Garcon. Standing 6′ and 211 lbs the kid is built like a half back and his YAC derives from the rare combo of power, quickness, and speed.
Watkins will be a top 10 pick and the first WR off the board come May 8th. Barring any unforeseen trades, I can see Watkins going to Cleveland to be along side Josh Gordon. Another interesting fit could be in Tampa Bay since Mike Williams was traded to Buffalo.
Sammy Watkins is an explosive player with the play making potential that makes coaches and scouts drool. As long as he is implemented correctly, I expect him to make an instant impact on offense and special teams for the team that drafts him.