Scouting Report: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

Scouting Report: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

Can't miss talent
By: Pete Davidson : February 16, 2014 6:01pm

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Sammy Watkins is the the best overall receiver in the 2014 draft class. If we were an NFL team and we had the whole class on the board, we’d most likely select Sammy. We think he is going to be very good and very consistent as a pro, and we think it will happen relatively quickly as long he lands in a decent situation.

While I have heard recent comparisons to A.J. Green and Julio Jones, I see Watkins as more of a Roddy White-type receiver, with a Pierre Garcon after-the-catch ability. Not bad, right? In fact, if Watkins has any growing pains, they will likely be the same ones that White and Garcon had early on. Those pains included dealing with the jam and the strength of NFL cornerbacks as well as refining routes.

There’s a lot to like about Sammy, but here are the key attributes that we see.

  • Size - Though not a prototypical big body wide out like Demaryius Thomas or Brandon Marshall, Watkins is solidly built at over six feet tall and over 200 pounds.  He's also got long arms, which help him play bigger than his height would indicate.
  • Speed - The game tape doesn’t lie. Watkins plays very fast. That much we know and he’s a not a guy where his value is going to move much based on his 40 time. 
  • Hands - Watkins has made a lot of his bones with his hands. He’s a pure hands catcher and only uses his body when it gives him the best chance to make the play.  He makes outstanding adjustments to poorly thrown balls.  
  • Ball skills/ Athleticism - This is where he makes up for not being a big bodied receiver. Watkins can accelerate when the ball is in flight. He can go up and get the football in contested situations due to a good vertical leap. In the footage below, you’ll see him throw a touchdown pass to Andre Ellington.
  • Motor - Watkins plays hard and likes to compete.  He runs hard after the catch and doesn't shy away from contact.
  • Running ability - Once he has the football, Sammy is all kinds of explosive, and it’s the speed and ability to break tackles that makes him so dangerous. He’s got great burst and balance, which allows him get to the edge and turn the corner.
  • Big play ability - This is important to note with Watkins, because he can hurt you badly from anywhere on the field. He’ll take the top off the defense and he’ll take a screen to the house too. He’s a game-changer. He’s also explosive in the return game.

Here’s a look at Watkins blowing up defenders.

If you’re looking for some sobriety, I do have a few minor concerns. Because Watkins is going to be drafted very high, there’s a good chance he’ll have an unreliable quarterback early on in his career. His best case scenario may be the Rams who hold second pick, but that’s a long shot based on the Ram’s needs and their depth at receiver. He’ll be playing with Matt Ryan if he makes it to the sixth spot, but he’ll also have to share with Roddy White and Julio Jones. The Raiders seem to be the most likely landing spot right now and that’s less than ideal as far as quarterbacking goes.

The other concern with Sammy is his 2012 arrest and subsequent suspension for marijuana possession.  To his credit, he owned up to his mistakes. "I just kept good spirits, stayed humble through the whole situation because I messed up, no one else messed up." Watkins has played outstanding football since that time and expect that to continue.

We expect Sammy Watkins to have some redraft value as a rookie, even in a less than ideal destination like Oakland. He should be a first rounder in all rookie drafts and a high priority in all dynasty leagues and salary cap formats. He’s a player you want. We’ll be back after the draft to help you gauge just how much.

This scouting report will be updated after the Combine.

Other 2014 Scouting Reports:

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