After another disappointing season, the Detroit Lions are yet again sitting pretty with a top 10 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. I admit, it's probably far too early to even speculate what's going to happen on May 8th, (yes, that damned NFL pushed back the draft another 2 weeks) but I can tell you that we can expect two things on that day. One, the Lions will select the best player available with the #10 pick overall (assuming we don't trade the pick). We all know by now that Mayhew is known for his BPA (Best Player Available) philosophy, especially in the earlier rounds. You may not agree with it, but we're starting to hear that philosophy being used more and more recently, and it makes a lot of sense. Another thing you should expect, is that whoever we draft with the #10 overall pick, will play a decent amount of snaps that year.
Here's a look at the contributions of Mayhew's past 1st round picks.
|Year||Pick #||Name||Snaps||% of Snaps|
One of the Lions' most pressing needs is at WR. Specifically, they haven't had anyone truly step up on the opposite side of Megatron. Burleson and Broyles haven't been able to stay healthy. Durham just hasn't performed well as a #2 WR, regardless of his connections with Stafford. And while Ross has made some nice contributions on ST, and Ogletree has made a few nice plays here and there, no one has been able to solidify themselves as the #2 receiver. With the amount of talent at QB in the upcoming draft, and the amount of teams that need a QB in front of the Lions, I feel like the Lions are in a great position to draft a top WR with the #10 pick. And Sammy Watkins might just be the best of the bunch.
Sammy Watkins came out of Fort Myers HS as a highly touted recruit receiving offers from many top program schools. He was a Rivals 5 star recruit and was the 3rd ranked WR coming out of high school. He ended up choosing Clemson over Florida State, Florida, Miami (FL), Michigan and Tennessee. Throughout his high school career, Watkins posted 2,987 receiving yards on 123 catches, a whopping 24.3 yards per catch. He also tallied 35 TD's.
At Clemson, Watkins put up some impressive numbers as a Freshman. He led the ACC in TD's (12), was 3rd in receptions (82), 2nd in receiving yards (1,219) and 3rd in yards from scrimmage (1,450). He also had a kick return TD that year, just to show that he can do a little bit of everything. The following year, Watkins proved why he would be a perfect fit for the Lions. If you sensed a little sarcasm there, then you probably get where I'm going with this. Yes, Sammy Watkins has character concerns. He was charged with possession of marijuana in 2012 by Clemson campus police and received a 2 game suspension to start the 2012 campaign. He was also caught with Vyvanse and Adderall at the same time. Watkins has seemed to mature since then though, in an interview with USA Today, Watkins had this to say:
"Last year is in the past," Watkins said, "I'm not worried about last year, I'm more grown up now, I'm past all that stuff; I'm focused on what Clemson can do this year, but not just this year, I mean these next four, five, six years.
He also has pretty high expectations for himself.
On former teammate and Clemson WR DeAndre Hopkins:
"I don't think there's a better receiver than me, not in the ACC, not in the nation," he said. "My goal is to break all of (DeAndre Hopkins'), records and help get this team where we want to go.
"I have heard the critics doubt me," Watkins said, "I've heard them say I can't play a whole season or the defenses figured me out or whatever, but that's not the case. I will catch 80 or more balls, I'll get at least 13-16 touchdowns and 1400 yards, that's what's coming.
Sammy Watkins is a very versatile WR. I've seen him line up as a second HB in a T-formation several times. I've seen him return punts and kicks. And in this particular play, we see him running a WR reverse, a play we're all familiar with in Linehan's offense. Hopefully if we draft him, our new coach can implement some reverses and quick screens to Mr. Watkins, because he is one of the best WR's in the nation at getting yards after the catch. Watkins averages 9.71 yards after the catch (as of Nov. 6th). That's pretty incredible.
If you don't know a whole lot about Sammy Watkins, I suggest you watch this short clip. About a minute into the video, Watkins explains how he takes his work seriously and strives to get to the next level, and that's what makes him so mature. Clemson Offensive Co-Ordinator Chad Morris and Watkins go over a specific play against Florida State where Watkins ended up scoring on a double move. Watkins was able to score so easily because he noticed Florida State defenders were yelling "SLANT!" and pointing at him on 3rd downs, so he was able to work them on a double move where he ended up scoring an easy TD. Seriously....that's just dirty.
This is probably my favorite play I've seen from SW. He beats zone coverage fairly easily, and is able to catch the ball and turn his hips downfield in a single motion. #5 on Georgia had no chance of stopping him and he just bulls right through the guy and uses his elite speed to outrun the entire defense.
I hope everyone saw that Orange Bowl game last night as well. Watkins set Orange Bowl records for receptions (16) and receiving yards (227). Oh and he had 2 TD's to go with that.
Why We Should Draft Sammy Watkins
The Lions should take Sammy Watkins with their #10 overall pick because he is the perfect compliment to Calvin Johnson. He would take a lot of pressure off of our star WR and could also take a lot of pressure off of Matthew Stafford. Since Watkins is so good at getting yards after the catch, Stafford could use a break from throwing it downfield so often now that he has a WR that can actually create some yards for himself after the catch. We need a #2 WR so badly on this team, and it's just getting painful to watch Durham try and be the guy. We can't keep going #2 WR by committee, it's just not working.
Why We Shouldn't Draft Sammy Watkins
Watkins is a stud on the field, but not so much off the field. The Lions have been known to have problems with picking players with character concerns, and Watkins is just another one of those guys. As I stated earlier, he was caught by campus police in May of 2012 on a possession of marijuana, and was also in possession of Adderall and Vyvanse. The Lions had been conservative recently on picking these types of players with their history, so if Watkins is there at #10, they might avoid him for that reason.
Whether we draft him or not, Sammy Watkins is the real deal. I expect him to go in the top 10 of the 2014 NFL Draft, regardless of character concerns. The dude is just too much of a freak on the field. Strong hands, great speed, elite route running and a superb athlete. I've seen a lot of comparisons to Percy Harvin, but I see him more as a Julio Jones to be honest. Either way, that's some pretty great company.
Didn't plan on this being so long, sorry about that. Think I'll do some research on Mike Evans next and do something similar. Also, I'm having a hard time embedding these youtube videos at the correct time I want. I put the youtube link with the correct amount of time in the embed video option, but it doesn't seem to work.