Considered a better prospect than Mike Evans, Odell Beckham, and Brandin Cooks in the 2014 NFL Draft, Sammy Watkins has not had anything close to the career that many expected. But he could still be a two-time Super Bowl champion next week.
Watkins is one of three former Rams expected to play in Super Bowl LV this Sunday as the Kansas City Chiefs look to repeat against six-time champion Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But none of those three players played for the Rams organization for more than one season.
Los Angeles traded E.J. Gaines and a second round pick to the Buffalo Bills for Watkins and a sixth rounder when the team hired Sean McVay to run things in 2017. Watkins was the third-best new addition at his own position though, losing ground to free agent Robert Woods and rookie third rounder Cooper Kupp. Woods and Kupp remain with the Rams, but Watkins signed a three-year, $48 million contract with the Chiefs after one underwhelming season in LA.
Watkins caught 39 of 70 targets for 593 yards and eight touchdowns, helping the Rams go from worst to first in scoring. But the fit wasn’t good enough for a Watkins extension (which says a lot given that Les Snead is the person handing out those contracts) and that turns out to have been one of the best non-moves in the Snead era.
In three seasons with Kansas City, Watkins’ best campaign was 52 catches for 673 yards and three touchdowns over 14 games in 2019. In last season’s playoffs, Watkins did flash what made him such a hot commodity (14 catches, 288 yards in three games, plus the biggest play in the Super Bowl) but that also turned out to be what prompted the Chiefs to make the incorrect decision to keep Watkins at $9 million.
Watkins played in 10 games this season, catching 37 passes for 421 yards and two touchdowns. He’s caught the same number of touchdowns in 34 games with Kansas City as what he had in 15 games with McVay. Watkins has also missed the playoffs with a calf injury but he’s expected to return for the Super Bowl.
Another disappointing starter set to appear with the Chiefs on Sunday who spent time with the Rams — albeit only being on their practice squad for a brief period in 2014 — is tackle Mike Remmers. An undrafted free agent out of Oregon State in 2012, Remmers didn’t appear in a game for St. Louis in 2014, but he was on the practice squad for about a month. Then the Carolina Panthers picked him up and from then on he became a starting NFL right tackle.
Remmers started 16 games for the Panthers in both 2015 and 2016 (appearing on both sides of the line), then played both guard and tackle for the Minnesota Vikings for two years. Remmers spent 2019 with the New York Giants and he played in 13 games for Kansas City this season. Remmers started a Super Bowl with the Panthers in 2015 and allowed three sacks and seven QB hurries — though Cam Newton should take some blame for that too.
With starting left tackle Eric Fisher ruled out, Remmers has been the focus as a possible weak spot on Kansas City’s incredibly potent offense. One player he may make contact with on Sunday is another former Rams player who had a short — but memorable — stint with the team himself.
And he also played in a Super Bowl in the last decade.
Ndamukong Suh was a three-time first team all-pro for the Detroit Lions, but since joining the Miami Dolphins in 2015, he’s only made one Pro Bowl in six years. Suh signed a one-year, $14 million deal with the Rams in 2018 and he had 59 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 19 QB hits, four tackles for a loss, and four batted passes in 16 games.
In the 2018 playoffs, Suh had five QB hits and two tackles for a loss in three games, plus 1.5 sacks in the NFC Championship win over the New Orleans Saints.
Suh signed with the Bucs in 2019 as a Gerald McCoy replacement and he posted six sacks this season, his most since 2015. Tampa Bay has had far-and-away the best run defense in the NFL since adding Suh.
I hope this list is complete, but it is possible that a player has been overlooked. If you know of any others, throw a comment down below!