2014 NFL Draft: Is Sammy Watkins a No. 1 Receiver in the NFL?

Watkins
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins is widely considered to be the best receiver prospect is this draft, and to some he is the best receiving prospect since A.J. Green in the 2011 NFL Draft. This hype raises the question: Is Sammy Watkins going to be a No. 1 receiver in the NFL? The short answer? Yes. Watkins has the skills to make it as a No. 1, and that’s likely exactly what he’ll be for whatever team ends up selecting him. Watkins has several different skills that set him apart. Let’s take a look at each of these skills.

Athleticism

Watkins is a ridiculously talented athlete, and he uses that to his advantage on the football field. His combination of speed and acceleration allow him to have an explosive first step, and in the NFL, Watkins’ ability to accelerate so quickly will allow him to beat out most corners in the league. Once he reaches the NFL, Watkins’ athletic ability is going to lead to tons of opportunities, and he will quickly become his quarterback’s best friend.

Hand-Eye Coordination

Obviously the ability to catch the ball is an important trait in any receiver, but with Watkins his skills extend way beyond catching ability. Watkins has lightning quick reflexes, and by combining that with his exceptional hand-eye coordination he is able to react quicker than many other receivers  can even dream of. This skill also allows Watkins to routinely come down with the tough catches. Watkins’ hand-eye coordination is a trait that may be overlooked, however, it will be very important to his success at the next level.

Elusiveness

Much like New Orleans Saints running back Darren Sproles, Watkins is a monster for opposing defenders to try to tackle. Watkins can seemingly slip through any defender’s fingertips, and if he can get the ball in space, you can forget about it. Ask any defender; Sammy Watkins is not a fun man to try and tackle.

Overall, Watkins has the ability to not only be a No. 1 receiver at the next level but be a darn good one. The closest NFL comparisons to Watkins come in the form of Cincinnati Bengals receiver A.J. Green and Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones. Watkins has Green-like athletic ability with Jones-like playmaking ability, and to put it lightly, that’s an unstoppable combination. So yes, Sammy Watkins is indeed a No. 1 receiver at the NFL level, and he has a chance to be much much more than that if he plays up to his ability.