Scouting the WRs: Sammy Watkins, Clemson

watkins1It’s rare that a player comes along that is the total package at their position.  Sammy Watkins, the explosive wide receiver for the Clemson Tigers is just that.

Watkins has enjoyed a highlight-laden 2013 season with 85 receptions, 1,237 yards and 10 TDs.  Included in those TDs was a catch that went for 96 yards.  For his career, Watkins has totaled 224 receptions, 3,164 yards and 25 TDs.  He’s also proven to be a valuable kick returner on special teams.

Watkins isn’t without blemishes, though, as an off-season arrest heading into the 2012 season (drug possession) will cause NFL teams to do their homework in an effort to make sure he’s surrounded himself with a strong support system.

That said, Watkins enjoyed an injury and incident-free season in 2013, and his draft stock is as high as any’s in this year’s class.

The following is FRG Scouting’s analysis of Sammy Watkins.

NAME:          Sammy Watkins
Position:        WR
Ht:                 6’2″
Wt:                 205
40:                 4.39 (EST)

Strengths:          Size, Strength, Speed, Quickness, Ath Ability, Hands
Weaknesses:     Character

Standing 6’2″ and weighing over 200lbs, Watkins is the prototype size/weight prospect for the WR position…In addition to his natural size numbers, Watkins is a “long” athlete; his catch radius extends beyond the average 6’2″ athlete…Possesses plus strength for the WR position; able to break tackles and power forward for extra yardage after the catch…Blessed with game-breaking speed; a threat to score from anywhere on the field at anytime…Possesses plus quickness; is able to catch and turn upfield as fast as any prospect in recent years…Keeps defenders on their heels in the open field; has enough wiggle to make a man miss and plus acceleration to outrun DBs to the end zone…A true “hands-catcher”; plucks the ball away from his frame with reliable, soft hands…An efficient, clean route-runner; quick feet to plant and go in his routes, consistently creating space between him and the defender…A threat in all three areas of the passing game; can take a WR screen and turn it into a big play, is able to find open spots in coverage on mid-level routes, and can fly by the defender for a long ball…A willing blocker downfield; doesn’t shy away from contact and is always looking for someone to hit…Experienced in the return game; will allow him to get on the field and contribute right away as a rookie.

Sammy Watkins is a NFL Draft prospect that I struggled to find any weaknesses for.  Aside from his 2012 arrest, there’s not much reason to question whether he will be a star in the NFL.  Assuming he is surrounded by the right people, there’s little doubt in his game.

On the next level, Sammy Watkins presents as a prospect that can be the go-to-guy in any system early in his career.  He is blessed with “juice,” and there just aren’t many people walking this planet that will be able to stick with him stride for stride.  He’s tall, he’s long, he’s physical and he has really good hands.  He’s fast, he’s quick, and he has complete control over his body’s movements.  There’s no wasted steps with Watkins; from the second he has the ball in his hands, he’s moving forward at full speed. Watkins might just be the biggest impact player available in the 2014 NFL Draft because of what he’ll bring to a NFL offense from day one.  While Watkins doesn’t possess the kind of lateral quickness that Tavon Austin (Rams) has, he’ll be just as valued because of his ability to change a game in one play.  There’s no doubt that Watkins is one of the five or six best players that will be available in May.

GRADE:  9.0 

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