Jun 18, 2014; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins (14) runs a pass route during the Bills Minicamp at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Bills, Sammy Watkins to Disappoint in Rookie Year?

 

Buffalo Bills wide rookie Sammy Watkins is one of 16 receivers taken within the top 10 overall in the draft since 2004.  Here is the list of all 16 players:

Year Player Overall Pick
2004 Larry Fitzgerald 3
2004 Roy Williams 7
2004 Reggie Williams 9
2005 Braylon Edwards 3
2005 Troy Williamson 7
2005 Mike Williams 10
2007 Calvin Johnson 2
2007 Ted Ginn Jr. 9
2009 Darrius Heyward-Bey 7
2009 Michael Crabtree 10
2011 A.J. Green 4
2011 Julio Jones 6
2012 Justin Blackmon 5
2013 Tavon Austin 8
2014 Sammy Watkins 4
2014 Mike Evans 7

 

Some of these names experienced brief stints of success in the league; however, for the vast majority of wide receivers selected in the top ten since 2014, it would be fair to say expectations were not met based on their respective team’s investment. In my opinion, only Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green, and Julio Jones have lived up to their top ten statuses to this point in their careers. Michael Crabtree is a player that is on his way to panning out, but we still need to see a few more years of top notch production before that judgment can be made. Reggie Williams, Troy Williamson, and Mike Williams are safely in the “draft bust” discussion, while players like Braylon Edwards, Ted Ginn Jr. and to an extent Roy Williams, have enjoyed moderate NFL success, but still below expectation levels of top-ten picks.

 

I have run some analysis on games played, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns for each of the above names from their respective rookie campaigns – the results are not too comforting. From 2004 through 2013, these are the collective rookie season averages for all of the players listed above:

 

42 receptions, 595 receiving yards, and 4 receiving touchdowns

 

It goes without saying that a vast majority of Bills fans would be extremely disappointed if Watkins produces similar outputs this season. It is also worth noting that every single player on this list played in at least 10 games during their respective rookie seasons, so the averages are not necessarily weighed down from a lack of games played. Only one receiver on this list, A.J. Green, eclipsed 1000 receiving yards in his rookie season. Green also had the highest number of receptions of this group during his rookie year, hauling in 65 passes.

If we run further analysis on this group, and only look at players selected within the top 6 overall of their respective drafts (6 of the 14 players), the numbers are a bit more promising. This group also averaged 14 games played their first year. Here are the production averages, again, looking at only rookie seasons:

 

54 receptions, 822 receiving yards, and 6 receiving touchdowns

 

As a fan of the Bills and as we are all constantly being told by the experts that wide receiver is the hardest position to translate from college to the pros, I would not be overly disappointed if Watkins produced this level of output in 2014. Considering he was selected 4th overall, and the splits of being picked in the top 6 vs. 7-10th are about even, it is probably fair to expect Watkins to fall somewhere in this statistical range.

 

Obviously, other factors also have to be taken into account, such as the level of quarterback play, complimentary pieces, offensive line play, playing from behind, etc., but his high level analysis should provide a decent picture of what we should expect out of Watkins during his rookie season.

 

So Bills fans, what do you believe are fair statistical expectations for Sammy Watkins for the 2014 season?

 

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