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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Tags: Buffalo Bills NFL Draft Sammy Watkins

  • trinity

    I think if there will be any struggle involving Sammy Watkins, it will be EJ Manuel struggling to take advantage of his talent. I was bummed when the bills selected Sammy in the draft, because I felt he deserves a better quarterback than EJ. hopefully EJ proves me wrong this season.

  • NWBill

    I think that Sammy will struggle a bit, especially during the early part of the season as he adjusts to route trees and feeling out opposing DBs. I certainly don’t expect him to put up galactic numbers – however, I do think he’ll shine in YAC. His speed and elusiveness will make a big difference, and I hope that Hackett and the Bills eases his way into the league by running a lot of the similar formations and plays he excelled within at Clemson; screens, bubble passes, etc., to build his confidence. After he settles in, they should start diversifying his routes and plays …working to fill in the holes in his game. I don’t think this is going to happen overnight, and so it’s going to require that fans be patient; something they’re not known for. After all, columnists love stoking the “EJ is a bust” lie by saying his first season didn’t meet expectations – despite the fact that he was injured, it was his rookie year, with a new coach, system, team, and OC.

    Bottom line: Give ….Sammy …time …to …make ….it! His teammates think he has special talent; be like them, and wait for him to shine. He will; he’s just too talented not to – and THAT’S why the Bills moved up to draft him (a move I agreed with).

  • NWBill

    You really need to be more patient. Considering everything he went through last year, his stats weren’t unexpected; or that bad, for that matter. But you sound like one of those fans who have already written him off. You need to step back and think about everything he had to DEAL with, and maybe give him a little more SLACK. I would say that THIS year is the year we’ll see what we have with him; he’s past his injuries, he’s finally starting to get acclimated in the new system …and the Bills have collected a lot of talent around him to succeed.

    Why don’t you table all of the “bust” crap until AFTER this season, at least!

  • trinity

    Calm down. I’m not ready to call him a bust yet, which is why I said “hopefully he proves me wrong”. Right now, I find him unimpressive. But one season is not enough to write him off completely, and I acknowledge that there’s a chance he could prove me wrong. Like you said, we will definitely know what he is after this season. Whether that will be good or bad is very much up in the air.

  • NWBill

    “I was bummed when the bills selected Sammy in the draft, because I felt he deserves a better quarterback than EJ.”

    Sounds very much like you’re calling the guy a bust; maybe you need to brush up on your grammar and syntax skills. Cause when I read that, it really sounds like you think EJ is a bust.

    I will remind you that Tom Brady was drafted in the 6th round …the 6TH! Now, I’m not saying that EJ Manuel is equal in any way to Tom Brady (I have a well-developed familiarity with grammar and syntax, as well as saying what I mean), but I would think that a guy with his skill set would be given more time by Bills fans who seem to think the Bills went wrong with EJ. All I remember before the draft last year was watching film of this kid, and then being VERY interested in what Jon Gruden had to say about him after having him on his program, “Quarterback Camp.”

    Let me refresh your memory:

    “He’s a guy that can run just about any play you can dream up,” Gruden said of Manuel. “Option football which is coming into the NFL now, you can put him in a no huddle system where he’s comfortable. You can drop him straight back to pass. You don’t even have to block anybody because if you miss a few blocks he can still turn it into an explosive play. That’s how talented he is.”

    “The size is imposing,” said Gruden. “It’s rare physical size and you combine that with tremendous athletic ability and that’s where I draw those comparisons. At Florida State they had a lot of ‘go get it’ balls. They dropped back to pass and he just launched it and those Florida State receivers went and got it and that reminded me of Culpepper. But he does have some of that Cam Newton athleticism in him and I think it’s going to be exciting to see what Buffalo does with him.”

    I’d say there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be “proven wrong,” and I would definitely respect and accept the opinions of a Jon Gruden regarding EJ Manuel, over fair weather fans who’d rather look at and talk about negatives, than show patience and give players time to show what they can do under the right circumstances.

  • trinity

    Lol are you a seer? How about shooting me the winning lottery numbers then? If you can’t, don’t embarrass yourself by stupidly trying to tell me how I feel when you know absolutely nothing about me. Second, i was indeed disappointed. I wanted Sammy to go to someone better and more proven, so that we could see him come out on all cylinders. EJ Manuel is not what I wanted for him. Does that in any way translate to saying he’s a lost cause? No it does not. What it means is simply there are better and more proven quarterbacks. If you think otherwise about my meaning, than perhaps it’s you who needs to brush up on your comprehension skills. As for Tom Brady, I could not care less about his draft situation. It’s completely irrelevant to this discussion.

  • chas territo

    I was curious to read your take on this article. At least until I got to the end of this long sentence??
    “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.”
    Do you proofread or even know what proof reading is?
    With this gigantic fail, I will never read you again, good riddance. GO BILLS!!

  • chas territo

    Trinity, NWbill is a critic of anyone who he THINKS is whatever he doesn’t like. Don’t waste your time defending yourself with him, he will only insult you eventually. Not a good man or fan, leave it be.

  • trinity

    Ah I see. I won’t entertain his stupidity any longer then. Thanks for the heads up Chas.

  • chas territo

    Yeah, he threatened to kick my ass but would not meet me to do so. A mark of a bullying coward, that’s what he is.

  • Zachary Alexander

    lmao. I do agree with NWBill, a lot of fans do not support EJ because of last year’s performance, which is ironic because Bills fans wholeheartedly support CJ Spiller even though he didn’t have his best year. Spiller only had one great season yet no one will question if Spiller can consistently produce in the AFC but will totally question if EJ can become the franchise QB the Buffalo Bills so desperately need. But that is besides the point.

    Watkins should produce as a playmaker similar to Percy Harvin. His presence alone makes him an all around threat, which will take the pressure off of everyone else on the offense. Although he may not have the statistics that will blow your mind, having Watkins on this offense should spark the entire offense.

    I also understand trinity’s viewpoint but I can’t agree that Watkins deserves a better QB than Manuel. Manuel has a strong arm but he also played behind the worst Guard/Tackle duo in the league, two hurt running backs, and a completely new offense. Passing the ball with Buffalo receivers last year was almost impossible so you can’t place that all on EJ.

  • E Kowa

    Very hopeful that Sammy has a great year. However, I may be more inclined to rate Sammy’s presence on the field more b y how the whole offense performs rather than him individually. He is a rookie and will be the number 1 receiver; thus expect a lot of double-coverage, especially in t he end zone. If he does not get a lot of touchdowns It would be fine, as long as his presence opens up stuff for the rest of the team and the offense performs well overall and gets a lot of touchdowns, I will be happy

  • Reginald King

    trinty Are there any gaurantees in the draft? Even #1 overall picks become busts. So to say that the qbs in this past draft will be any better than E J Manual is stupid.

  • NWBill

    How do you judge a WR coming out in the draft based on what QB he’s “supposed” to go to, in order to make him better? Talk about a “seer!” I had no idea that you directed the proceedings of the NFL draft, pairing up WRs with the best teams or QBs you think they’re “supposed” to be with, so that they have the best chance to succeed! In that case, all the WRs would go to SF, Seattle, Denver, and New England!

    Look, I’m really not trying to be personal here, but I just don’t understand how you can seem to judge EJ Manuel so quickly, and so completely, that he’s not fit to play alongside a guy like Sammy Watkins. I was watching Sammy’s face when the pick was announced, and he didn’t seem to be all bent out of shape over it …and I’m sure he was aware of each team’s starting QB. Didn’t look like a guy who was thinking, “oh, crap ….I’m gonna be catching balls from EJ MANUEL?!?!”

    Maybe, just maybe, they’ll make EACH OTHER better – how about that for a more positive outlook?

  • NWBill

    And chas territo is nothing but an small irritant, a guy who thinks threatening people makes him more popular ….and someone who knows almost nothing about football; let alone the Buffalo Bills. I ran him off the board once before; looks like he’s come back for second helpings.

    No problem; there’s plenty of time between now and the start of the season ….and I’m sure he’ll say a lot for myself and others to rip apart.

    A prediction; his reply will be some form of threat; that’s what people with 9th grade educations resorts to, when they’ve had their heads handed to them.

  • NWBill

    Actually, it was the other way around. Check the posts; you all will be able to see. And when I didn’t back off, as he expected ….he disappeared for a while, hoping I wouldn’t hang around to beat him again.

    Anybody wants to meet me in the real world ….I’ve got no problem with that. If you think you got the stones, line on up. Plenty have tried before.

  • NWBill

    EXACTLY, Zachary! That’s all I was saying! People are judging EJ without looking at the total situation around him last year; I’ve said that over and over again. All I’d like for people to do is give him some time, and a chance to produce with everything in place; last year was definitely NOT in place for him!

  • NWBill

    See what I mean about how he treats people? He’s ragging on someone else’s proofreading, when he can’t even spell the word consistently! To him, people expressing opinions have “gigantic fails,” and he’ll “never” read them again! That’s how his feather of a mind operates; all fluff, and little substance.

    Well, boo hoo!! Chas Territo won’t read someone again ….let’s all have ourselves a nice big cry!! What an egotistical, know-it-all moron!

  • trinity

    You are seriously very strange. Did I claim to “run” the draft? NO. I expressed a simple desire for a player I really like to go elsewhere. Just like all football fans who follow the draft have an opinion on these things, so you need to calm down. Right now, I’m not that confident in EJ. But I acknowledge it’s possible for him to change my mind. It’s really just as simple as that.

  • trinity

    Who said anything about quarterbacks in this draft? I’m talking about talented, proven quarterbacks who I wanted to see throwing the ball to Sammy.

  • The Realist

    Dude, as a devoted Buffalo Bills fan for about 16 years now, I have seen enough from EJ to know that he isn’t the guy. Yes, I know he only played like 9 games last year, but his footwork and accuracy were horrendous, and likely would have been horrendous had he played the entire season. The footwork can be corrected a little bit, but the accuracy? Cannot. Either you have it or you don’t. He just doesn’t have it, I’m sorry. The Bills should have grabbed Manziel instead of Watkins. I hope Watkins does well, but I don’t think he will be good enough to compensate for a shitty QB.
    If you wanna call me a hater or whatever, just remember how sold we were with Trent Edwards as the starter….I repeat… TRENT EDWARDS. Ryan Fitzpatrick? JP Losman? We haven’t had a QB since Kelly, yet fans are so quick to fall in love with whoever we bring in….stop already! We’ve been through this before and its a proven fact that the Buffalo Bills front office are masterminds at selling us bullshit year after year. When are you people going to wake up? Manuel is not a good NFL QB. Say what you want to defend him, that he just needs one more year to get better and that he was injured a lot of last season, blah blah blah the fact is…he is a good backup in the NFL, no more , no less. He will be gone in 2 years and it will start all over again, I can almost guarantee it

  • chas territo

    Zachary, I have been a big supporter of EJ since he was drafted and saw his Sport Science video clip with Coach Gruden. Don’t listen to NWBill about me. We do not like each other. I can show immaturity like him but he is insignificant. I have been a Bills fan since 1964. not that that means much to bill as superior as he thinks he is. It’s a qualification that I have been around and thru the bad and good times. My posts are well thought out and informative. I never critique most like mine but if I disagree, well, then you have NWBill who reacts with insults first and says you, I did it first proving not only an immature man but a liar as well. Make your own choices in life based upon your own mind. GO BILLS!!

  • chas territo

    Another of your many fucking lies. I wanted to meet you and see if you could kick my ass. You would not. You say look back at the posts, how? You know that’s not possible. I live in Tonawanda, NY. You, I think are nowhere near me. IF SO, LET’S FUCKING MEET??? GO BILLS!!

  • Robert Lee Giles Jr.

    I like all the points said on this post. I won’t judge any of your opinions or artificially announce agreement. What I will say however is all of you are missing the big point. None of you actually breakdown the way Sammy Plays and how different he is in comparison to every receiver in the NFL today. It’s almost as if your putting him on the platform of a regular receiver. That’s a no-no my friend. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if Sammy pulls of a “Grand” this year in yards..why? Simple..he just isn’t equated to most. I see they compare him to AJ Green and Julio Jones but why?? If he’s so regular then how come he’s got such confidence to announce his intentions to dominate months before he even touched the field his Freshman year at Clemson University. They didn’t have a proven QB at the time and came off a rough season of 5-7 before Sammy even arrived. No disrespect to Tajh Boyd but without Sammy He may have went a little lower than where he was drafted. Sammy accomplished a lot without a proven QB so thats no worry to him at all. I find it outstanding that not one but 3+ times in his football career has he come out and stated what he will do to shock the football world. Just being around the guy(forget the fact I’m related to him) and seeing his work ethic combined with how humble the young man is, is beyond outstanding. I remember being in our school gym(South Fort Myers High) and watching my dad record a video of him stating what achievements he would accomplish his very first year at Clemson. WOW! To be so bold and to actually go out and prove what he said he’d do is not something seen in sports today because you’d think there’d be some backlash just because you opened your mouth. How about during his freshman year he called his own play the first time playing against FSU. TOUCHDOWN! If you didn’t know, he is the fourth, yes the fourth freshman all-american EVER! Its truly remarkable. &NO it doesn’t stop there but continues on after his drug arrest, after a disappointing sophomore season, he comes out and eagerly states that he is without a question the is the best receiver in collegiate football in an article months before his Junior year and first game against Georgia(We all were witnesses to what he did). So here we are now, he’s a proven top ten pick and the number one receiver taken off the board. He goes to a team were arguably he’s the best player on the offense if not the team. My point today is that yes the NFL is vastly different from the NCAA and I won’t even try to compare the two because its pointless. What i will do however is state once again that he isn’t like most of the receivers you guys are comparing him to or hoping he’ll become. He’s a WR/RB/SP and to me that’s a stretch and seems like an understatement. Whatever you guys said Sammy couldn’t do, he’s going to commit his life to proving everyone wrong. Yes the route tree back at Clemson and South Fort Myers was a little less complex when compared to the schemes of the offenses and defenses in the NFL. Theres no denying that fact. But, he’s going to shock the NFL or let me rephrase that…the Bills are going to shock the NFL..this year. Mind you, the AFC East is by far the weakest its been in quite sometime so its not like its out of the question. I won’t put my faith just in Sammy but in the entire organization. Why? Because it reminds me of what he had to overcome back at Clemson. Im still on the outside looking in when it comes to Sammy but i will not doubt this guy after knowing him for so long and being a witness of his personality and talents just like you guys. Manuel is a project just like most of the Bills. But wow if this all pans out we will be in for a hell of a ride over the next couple of years. Im on your side trust me! &if you were wondering if i was a Bills fan like Sammy said he was before he got drafted..no i wasn’t. Im actually still a ST. Louis Rams fan(Long Story). But so what i believe in Sammy and by him being on the Bills I’m now a loyal Bills fan too. I particularly like the guards picked up in this years draft as well as the Brandon Spikes signing. Im learning about the organization because i believe in what the front office believes. They were pushing for a “WIN NOW” not later mentality within the organization so they went out and got who i truly believe was the absolute best player in this years 2014 NFL draft. If you believe otherwise then please go right ahead and state your opinions. I’ll shut you down instantly. Im not afraid to state my opinions. I even signed up for this site through Facebook so you guys would know who I am and not take me for granted. Anyway i apologize for the long article like text. This is my first time blogging, so to say, about Sammy. I only wish the man the best and i hate to see him compared to other receivers when he’s so raw and original. &dont get me wrong I’m not banking on one year but i do honestly consider Sammy Watkins the prototypical receiver that could potentially change the way Collegiate receivers are scouted before being drafted. With that he’ll end up changing the game of football altogether. The bills took a leap of faith by trading away their 2014/2015 1st round picks to trade up and take him with the number 4 pick regardless of their options at QB. Its time for all the bills fans and sammy fans to stand up do the same. It’ll be a fun ride!

  • Zachary Alexander

    One thing you must learn about Bills fans is it isn’t enough to believe in a player when discussing the future. I’m not saying that Bills fans don’t believe in Sammy or that I don’t because I would be lying if I said I didn’t believe in him. The problem is Bills fans believe and believe but belief doesn’t always translate to the field which is why in discussion Buffalo fans can seem a little negative in their views. I actually met Sammy at his pro camp in West Seneca this past Sunday, he is a very down-to-earth dude. I don’t question his talents or his will, but the topic of discussion is whether he will disappoint as that was the title of the post. We all wish him the best because we all want to see the same thing: Buffalo in the postseason.

  • Zachary Alexander

    Yet you say Manziel is a better QB? He hasn’t even played a down yet in the NFL. If you base it off of his college performance alone, Vince Young was nice in college too and he didn’t go anywhere. You just play the skeptic so you can be right, that is the easiest position to take in discussion because you don’t commit to either side. How can Accuracy not be corrected when it is in direct correlation with footwork? You can say Manuel is shitty, I can argue against or defend a QB who has yet to play a full season. But you make some horrible points to come to that conclusion.

  • Robert Lee Giles Jr.

    Duly Noted…

    Although yes I’m new to the Bills fan base and I’m learning new things everyday about the organization I do understand. I was simply tossing out the fact that he’s a once in a lifetime sort of talent. The sort of talent Bills fans have been lingering for. If we can all be patient and not doubt(which is what I’m sensing this article is doing) then we will all be amazed. The Hype is real. He’s truly a prospect that can do damage much in a way Randy moss once did with and without a QB. I only wrote what i did above in compliance with the article. I don’t believe Sammy needs a QB to be productive. I see a lot of people relying on EJ which makes sense because a good team usually always has a good QB but Sammy is not your ordinary receiver. I don’t mean to praise as much as i did but there comes a time for change and that change is now. You don’t have to believe and believe. Just watch and you’ll understand what he brings to the team and how it’ll impact the core. Mark my words. Im not going off of faith but also understanding. Think about it ZACH..out of the other three Freshman AA’s how many were busts or flops? ..and how many are HOF’ers? Maybe there’s your answer…