May 8, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Sammy Watkins (Clemson) poses for a photo after being selected as the number four overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft to the Buffalo Bills at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
It is no secret that the Buffalo Bills have put a lot of faith in the abilities of Sammy Watkins. The Bills went into this year’s draft with the ninth selection in the first round. However, the Bills traded away their first and fourth round selections in next year’s draft to the Cleveland Browns in order to move up five spots to the fourth overall selection.
In their new spot on the draft board the Bills selected Watkins.
Since becoming a part of the Bills organizations Watkins’ reception has been somewhat mixed. Some have bought into the Bills’ faith and some have said the Bills gave up too much for a wide receiver that may not transition well into the NFL.
One of the more popular reports was put together by Mike Rodak for ESPN.com where he mentions that Watkins may be a bust for the Bills because the lack of his be a “big-play” threat. Here’s what he had to say.
"Watkins gained 71.3 percent of his receiving yards after the catch at Clemson, numbers that Kascmar says compare to receivers like Tavon Austin or Percy Harvin — talented in the short game and after the catch, but not necessarily big-play threats."
This type of receiving would not be something new to the Bills and how they move down the field. Last season the Bills gained a total of 3,373 yards through the air, 1,607 of those yards came after the catch. That translates to 48-percent of their passing yards coming after the receiver caught the ball.
Watkins grabbed 3,391 receiving yards over 36-games while at Clemson. If the math from the article above is correct that would put Watkins at about 2,407 yards gained after the coach while he was in college.
As for the “big-play” comment above, the ability to get down the field for big gains after the catch should, in my eyes, qualify as a “big-play” threat.
The jury is obviously still out on Watkins and will be until we see what he will do on the field. But I am sure if he does anything close to what he did in the video below everyone will be pleased with what the Bills grabbed in the draft and what they gave up to get him.