We all know Sammy Watkins is one of the most explosive players in this year’s draft. But just how high could he be drafted in May? There’s a case to be made about Watkins being one of the first two players off the board.
He could fit in immediately with both Houston and St. Louis because of the opportunities available. The Texans do not necessarily need a receiver this high in the draft, but with Andre Johnson at 32 years old, adding another young receiver wouldn’t hurt anything. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston’s first-round selection last season, had a solid rookie campaign, but the addition of Watkins would put Houston near the top in terms of offensive production.
St. Louis could for sure use Watkins, as Jared Cook, the tight end, led the Rams in receiving yards last season. They only had two receivers eclipse 500 yards in 2013: Cook and Chris Givens. Sam Bradford will be back from his injury and providing him with a No. 1 receiver could send his career in the right direction.
The other side to this argument would be that Houston and St. Louis would pass on Watkins and fill other position needs first. The deep class of receivers could end up hurting his chances of going high, with teams thinking they can find their fit at receiver in later rounds.
Houston for sure has needs other than wide receiver, including getting someone to throw the ball to them. Houston has three options at quarterback: they either trade for a quarterback/sign one, draft one, or keep believing in Matt Schaub and Case Keenum. It’s likely that Houston would go with either Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel, or Teddy Bridgewater with the first overall pick, but there’s always the possibility that they fall in love with Watkins and can’t pass on him.
Many mock drafts have St. Louis filling a position need with the second pick, and selecting an offensive lineman. Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews, and Taylor Lewan offer a deep selection of tackles and that may be a direction St. Louis decides to go in.
The case I will make for Watkins is that teams will fall in love with his skillset and athletic abilities. It will become a situation in which they select the best player available instead of basing their pick off team needs.
Sammy ran a 4.43 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, which was middle of the pack for the wide receivers, but is still very fast. At 6’1″ and 211 pounds, he is an interesting case. Watkins doesn’t have the large 6’4″ or 6’5″ frame, but he can still elevate to get the ball when it’s in the air. He can play on the outside as a possession receiver, or in the slot as a speed guy. His versatility and athleticism, along with knowing he could contribute as a No. 1 receiver immediately, will be hard to pass up when Houston and St. Louis are on the clock.
NFL Films Senior Producer Greg Cosell thinks Watkins is the best wide receiver prospect since AJ Green and Julio Jones.
NFL media analyst Bucky Brooks is also very high on the young receiver. He has him at No. 3 on his big board, right behind Jadeveon Clowney and Greg Robinson.
Watkins had a very good showing at the NFL Combine, and if he can continue his success at Clemson’s Pro Day on March 6th, it will gives draft scouts a tough decision to make.