Hey everyone, I'm starting to really get in to watching film on prospects, and I thought I'd give writing up a scouting report based on what I've seen rather than what I've read elsewhere.
This is my first time doing it, so I'd really appreciate any positive or negative feedback that I get from you guys.
I figured that I'd start with a guy that most people here will be familiar with - Clemson WR Sammy Watkins.
Watkins is a potential top-10 guy, and even a guy that we could be considering at #2 overall. Let's break down why his stock is this high.
Sammy Watkins is an elite athlete, no question about it. While he has great speed and agility, his ability to accelerate is phenomenal. If we were to compare his athletic ability to Tavon Austin, Austin would have the advantage in agility, Watkins would win in acceleration, and the speed is a toss up.
While he doesn't have the height of Brian Quick, A.J. Green, or Calvin Johnson, Watkins has adequate size to line up inside or outside in the NFL. While we'll see his official height and weight at the combine, he's likely to be right around 6'0" or 6'1". His weight is also currently listed at 205 lbs, which is a great starting point for an NFL receiver.
While you wouldn't expect someone at 6'1" 205 lbs to win with strength, Sammy Watkins often does. He routinely pushes the pile and never appears to be bullied by anyone. This strength has also allowed him to absorb hits and keep his balance to gain more YAC.
Sammy Watkins is about as reliable as they come catching the football. He's definitely a hands catcher, which will serve him well at the NFL level. His strength clearly translates to his hands, and he's good at making difficult grabs in traffic.
Watkins ability to run routes is yet to be seen. It's difficult to say that he's a poor route runner, but also difficult to say that he excels in it. He runs a ton of screen patterns, and often wins with athleticism.
Watkins lines up all over the field... He spends a lot of time both outside and in the slot. He probably does most of his damage from the slot, however, and could really excel in that role in the NFL a-la Victor Cruz.
Perhaps Sammy's greatest quality is his ability and willingness to pick up yards after the catch. This is why he's frequently thrown screens and used on end arounds. However, Watkins doesn't pick these yards up with great moves and agility a-la Tavon Austin, he does so with fearless aggression, similar to Dez Bryant. He isn't afraid to run around you, by you, or through you.
Sammy Watkins is as good of a receiver as I've seen at the college level. He has the athletic upside to be a true #1 wide receiver, and has the body and hands to have a successful, lengthy career in the NFL.
Pro Comparison: Dez Bryant
I haven't seen anyone else make this comparison yet, and that kind of surprises me. Watkins and Bryant are very similar after the catch. However, Bryant is obviously a little bit bigger, and I think that Watkins is a bit more athletic. I don't know many teams that wouldn't want the production of Dez Bryant, as long as it didn't come with the headaches that he causes... And that's exactly what kind of production you can expect from Sammy Watkins.