Sammy Watkins lit college football on fire for three years, and now many are connecting him to the Jaguars at No. 3 (or in a trade down) due to the lack of dynamic play makers and no true No. 1 wide receiver on the Jaguars offense. But is Watkins the guy to fill that void?
Where Sammy Watkins Wins
Watkins is known for being an incredible athlete, and he lives up to that reputation. He is one of the most explosive receivers in recent drafts, not only in his release, but downfield as well. He never slows down. He is able to maintain his speed throughout his route, and even hit 2nd gears when needed. He does not have special long speed, but his foot quickness and explosion are special.
Watkins is a yards-after-the-catch monster, but not just because of his speed, but because of his physicality. He frequently, almost only, chose to run through defenders instead of around them, and is a rare ball carrier for the position. He has the strength to consistently break arm tackles and first, second, and even third tackle attempts. He is able to pick up chunks of yardage wherever he gets the ball.
In terms of the technical aspects of playing the position, Watkins is a bit inexperienced because of how he was utilized at Clemson, but he shows all of the traits to succeed here as well. At Clemson, his route tree was limited in what was asked of him, as he executed screens a large number of times, but he shows the foot quickness, ability to plant his feet and explode, and zone recognition to be a good route runner. He has the traits, but it may take some time to get comfortable.
As for pure catching ability, Watkins is elite. His hands are special. He has amazing body control and concentration, and it was a rare instance for the ball to get into his frames and for him to not come down with it. He can catch the ball outside his frame and make adjustments downfield with ease.
Where Sammy Watkins Needs To Improve
I am normally pretty harsh of players in this area but when watching Watkins, I did not see a single fatal flaw. He is not extremely tall and his long speed is not special, but he is a dynamic athlete who possesses every wide receiver trait you could ask for.
If I had one quip with Watkins, it'd be he is not very creative as a runner in the open field. Instead of trying to make defenders miss, he tries to run through them. I know this is a strange issue, because we always want or play makers to get upfield and not east-to-west, but I would like to see him make more defenders miss.
Watkins has everything you want in a receiver, besides amazing size. He can transcend a passing game and I do not think he has any real fatal flaws. As for the Jaguars, he is the type of No. 1 receiver they need to take pressure off of Shorts, the running game, and whoever the quarterback ends up being. While he is not my first choice for the pick, I would have no issues with picking Watkins at No. 3 in this class. Same goes for trading down and picking him. He would be a core centerpiece for the future of the offense and give the Jags something they haven't had since the Jimmy Smith days.
Overall: 7.75, Top 10
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