With the No. 4 overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills have selected Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins. The team traded up from No. 9 with the Cleveland Browns to do so, giving up the No. 9 overall pick, their 2015 first-round pick and a 2015 fourth-round pick to do so.
Watkins, a junior, has been a star for the Tigers essentially from the moment he stepped on campus. He was a sensation as a freshman in 2011, catching 82 passes for 1,219 yards and 12 touchdowns, and remained atop the receiver board after a junior season in which he improved those numbers nearly across the board (101 receptions, 1,464 yards, 12 touchdowns).
Though he is not the size receiver the Bills had been purportedly looking for in the spring months, his leaping ability, strong hands and ability to high-point the football lead to his playing much bigger than his 6’1", 211-pound stature. Excellent with the ball in his hands, Watkins is capable of scoring from any area on the field, and brings a diverse skill set and huge upside to a Bills receiving corps that has been searching for a legitimate No. 1 option for several years.
Watkins will be expected to start right away for the Bills - and he will - and, ideally, will help second-year quarterback EJ Manuel develop significantly in the 2014 season. With Watkins penned in as a starter, the team will have a fierce competition for playing time between Stevie Johnson, Robert Woods, Mike Williams and Marquise Goodwin on the other side of the field.
Oh, and by the way? Watkins grew up a Bills fan.
The Bills are not scheduled to make any more selections this evening, so let us know what you think of the Watkins pick, enjoy the rest of the first round, and we’ll have much more on this selection later this evening and throughout the morning on Friday.