When it comes to the famed 2014 wide receiver draft class — and in this case, Sammy Watkins — a specific Rotoworld article will always be a memorable one.
Written by Greg Peshak, it was a piece that explained the analytical findings from a season-long, film-watching project.
(Watkins was featured in the first installment in the two-part series.)
The goal was to quantifying just about everything the top wideout prospects in that class did on the football field in 2013.
Peshak broke everything down into subheadings like “Where Did They Catch the Ball?” and “What Did They Do After They Caught It?” etc.
What Peshak found regarding Watkins’ final year at Clemson will make the receiver’s extremely limited, basically non-existent use in the screen game as a pro even more head-scratching than you originally believed.
Because Watkins was compared to receivers he’s not physically or stylistically similar to, Kelvin Benjamin and Mike Evans, in Peshak’s opening article, I’ll compare his overall findings, which included figures from Odell Beckham Jr., Brandin Cooks, Marqise Lee, Jordan Matthews, Allen Robinson and Jarvis Landry as well.
Among the eight top receiver prospects profiled, Watkins’ had the highest percentage of his receptions come on screens, at a whopping 57.4%. YO. That’s a gigantic number.
The most striking revelation came in the “What Did They Do After They Caught It?” subheading.
Using Peshak’s words here on Watkins: “he averaged the highest YAC of this class gaining 8.48 yards on average. Most importantly he still averaged a solid 6.1 yards on non-screen passes showing he can get it done all over the field.”
The next-closest wideout featured in Peshak’s project in the YAC category was Matthews at an average of 7.80 yards-after-the-catch.
Whether it has been Nate Hackett or Greg Roman calling the plays, Watkins has rarely been featured on a screen play thus far in this NFL career.
So, yeah, the screen to Watkins is probably something Anthony Lynn wants to incorporate into his offense right away.