With the 2013 season of the Baltimore Ravens now behind us, let’s take a look at the 2014 NFL Draft. According to CBSSports.com, Baltimore is projected to either have the 16th or 17th selection overall selection; that will be determined by a coin flip with the Dallas Cowboys. Even with that determination being made, I doubt Ozzie Newsome will stick around in either spot. I believe that Newsome will move up the board to take a chance on the best receiver in the draft to help Joe Flacco in the passing game. Anyone who had a good look at this year’s Orange Bowl could clearly see a guy who dominates through the air – Sammy Watkins.
Watkins’ most recent performance was an eye opener on a national stage. He blew up stat charts with career high number of 16 catches for 227 yards and two scores helping, Clemson beat “THE” Ohio State. Anyone who has been watching this guy all season knows this is just business as usual for the Florida Native. Watkins has racked up 101 catches for 1464 yards and 12 TDs this season alone.
The Ravens have plenty of speed at the receiver position, but lack the chain moving receiver who can make people miss in open space. Another plus to the projected first round pick is that he goes up for the ball at its highest point; this speaks to his aggressiveness to get the ball. John Harbaugh is probably drooling at the idea of getting his hand on such a talent.
While Watkins is full of talent, there are some things he’ll need to work on at the next level. Should Baltimore be fortunate enough to snatch the young star up, he will need to work on getting off the “jam” of press cornerbacks like Darrelle Revis and Captain Munnerlyn, as the Ravens look to take on the NFC South in the upcoming season. The Ravens also need more muscle across the middle to make the tough catch, and while his ability will be similar to Torrey Smith’s, his 205 pound frame may not be enough to muscle off the NFL’s tough linebackers; Watkins may need to bulk up a bit. Last but not least, Clemson did not put him in many underneath routes except the bubble screen pass. While he may have excelled with screen passes, he’ll need some work on the fundamental route running that elite receivers in this league work on daily.
Even though there is some fine tuning to be done to this receiver, he is still a good plug-and-play type of player. If for some reason he drops past the top 10 picks of this years’ draft, look for the Ravens to be on the phone, making moves to acquire this talented prospect.