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Sammy Watkins the next Andre Johnson...


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@RapSheet: If Sammy Watkins had fallen to No. 5, the #Lions feel they would’ve been able to trade for him. Instead, #Bills made the move at No. 4.

Watkins was almost a Lion.

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Was EJ Manuel really that horrible last year?

I remember people being pleasantly surprised that he played well the first couple of games and then he got injured after a couple of stinkers.

As a rookie that's about par for the course. I'd say there is a half decent chance that Manuel will improve over the next two years, if he doesn't he'll be ditched and a new guy will come in.

Anyway rookie WRs rarely give big rewards, the proving point for Watkins is likely more 2015 than 2014

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the look on Watkins face wh

en selected was priceless..like, " buffalo? really, #$%$% buffalo??"

Couldn't be more wrong boss.

Watkins grew up a Bills' fan. He absolutely loved this coaching staff and team on his pre-draft visits. CJ Spiller was a former Clemson standout. Watkins wanted to come to Buffalo.

I absolutely love this move by the Bills. Call me crazy, but I'm glad they were able to get the Browns to take their 1st next year instead of our 2nd or 3rd this year. The #41 pick in this very deep draft should net the Bills a starting RT and fix the most glaring hole left on the roster. If they can get that starting RT at 41, this offense is scary. Just look at our WR corp:

Sammy Watkins - Instant #1

Robert Woods - Bills love Woods and he began to hit it off with Manuel

Stevie Johnson - If he isn't moved, he will be their slot guy full time. One of the best route runners in the league if he can stay healthy.

Mike Williams - Traded a 6th round pick for him. If he can get his act together, could be a steal. 25 TD's in a little over 3 seasons of games. Gives us the redzone threat so desperately needed

Marquise Goodwin - 3rd round pick last season. Fastest player in the NFL. I really like this kid and he could be a major sleeper.

With the addition of Watkins and Williams, I think this makes Hackett move more towards a spread offense. Lots of 4 WR sets. Spiller did his best work when Gailey spread things out.

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the look on Watkins face wh

en selected was priceless..like, " buffalo? really, #$%$% buffalo??"

Couldn't be more wrong boss.

Watkins grew up a Bills' fan. He absolutely loved this coaching staff and team on his pre-draft visits. CJ Spiller was a former Clemson standout. Watkins wanted to come to Buffalo.

I absolutely love this move by the Bills. Call me crazy, but I'm glad they were able to get the Browns to take their 1st next year instead of our 2nd or 3rd this year. The #41 pick in this very deep draft should net the Bills a starting RT and fix the most glaring hole left on the roster. If they can get that starting RT at 41, this offense is scary. Just look at our WR corp:

Sammy Watkins - Instant #1

Robert Woods - Bills love Woods and he began to hit it off with Manuel

Stevie Johnson - If he isn't moved, he will be their slot guy full time. One of the best route runners in the league if he can stay healthy.

Mike Williams - Traded a 6th round pick for him. If he can get his act together, could be a steal. 25 TD's in a little over 3 seasons of games. Gives us the redzone threat so desperately needed

Marquise Goodwin - 3rd round pick last season. Fastest player in the NFL. I really like this kid and he could be a major sleeper.

With the addition of Watkins and Williams, I think this makes Hackett move more towards a spread offense. Lots of 4 WR sets. Spiller did his best work when Gailey spread things out.

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If you include the 1st rounder from next year the Bills have invested 50% of their first two picks on WRs in three years. And they also spent a 3rd on Goodwin. This WR corp has no choice but to be really good if they are going to compete in the near future. Perhaps I'm wrong, but that seems like a lot to invest in one position and not something that well managed teams do. It also is a bit suspect that the young core (sans Williams/Johnson) are all under 6'2"

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Was EJ Manuel really that horrible last year?

I remember people being pleasantly surprised that he played well the first couple of games and then he got injured after a couple of stinkers.

As a rookie that's about par for the course. I'd say there is a half decent chance that Manuel will improve over the next two years, if he doesn't he'll be ditched and a new guy will come in.

Anyway rookie WRs rarely give big rewards, the proving point for Watkins is likely more 2015 than 2014

With the crew he has at WR there will be no excuses for poor play.

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Interesting place for him to go, but will also be interesting to see how this offense is going to work. Watkins has to be on the field. So does Woods. Either Stevie (if he stays) or Mike Williams (if his head is in the right place) has to as well - and as the above poster said they also have the fastest man in the NFL buried on the WR depth chart.

So, how often will be they running 4 WR sets? How's Spiller going to react with only 6 or 7 in the box?

Yeah, might have been a lot to pay to get Watkins, but now Woods will be lined up against the #2 CB rather than the #1...and so on down the line.

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Interesting place for him to go, but will also be interesting to see how this offense is going to work. Watkins has to be on the field. So does Woods. Either Stevie (if he stays) or Mike Williams (if his head is in the right place) has to as well - and as the above poster said they also have the fastest man in the NFL buried on the WR depth chart.

So, how often will be they running 4 WR sets? How's Spiller going to react with only 6 or 7 in the box?

Yeah, might have been a lot to pay to get Watkins, but now Woods will be lined up against the #2 CB rather than the #1...and so on down the line.

The fastest man guy can return kicks.

Edited by JohnnyU
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If you include the 1st rounder from next year the Bills have invested 50% of their first two picks on WRs in three years. And they also spent a 3rd on Goodwin. This WR corp has no choice but to be really good if they are going to compete in the near future. Perhaps I'm wrong, but that seems like a lot to invest in one position and not something that well managed teams do. It also is a bit suspect that the young core (sans Williams/Johnson) are all under 6'2"

They weren't going to get either Watkins or Evans with their pick and they needed to get a weapon for Manuel. That's what you do if you want to put your QB in position to succeed.

Look what A.J. Green has done for Dalton.

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Interesting place for him to go, but will also be interesting to see how this offense is going to work. Watkins has to be on the field. So does Woods. Either Stevie (if he stays) or Mike Williams (if his head is in the right place) has to as well - and as the above poster said they also have the fastest man in the NFL buried on the WR depth chart.

So, how often will be they running 4 WR sets? How's Spiller going to react with only 6 or 7 in the box?

Yeah, might have been a lot to pay to get Watkins, but now Woods will be lined up against the #2 CB rather than the #1...and so on down the line.

The fastest man guy can return kicks.

Sure, he'll get to do that once every game or two in today's touchback league...

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I posted this in the Watkins vs Evans discussion, but I think it bears repeating here among all these naysayers and doubters...

I think you're kidding yourself if you think this landing spot hurt Sammy. He's instantly the #1 guy in the offense that can exploit his talents. Everyone raising concerns about his QB and where's he's playing should be thinking the same of Evans...

Firstly, cold weather and snow be damned. Teams like NE and GB have been playing in it successfully for years. Historically, cold weather impact on points scored isn't as significant as (and is more dependant on) the style of play (see: http://www.sportingc...her-months.aspx). If the Bills can use the speed they have on this offense and continue to move into a more up-tempo offense, they can be very successful into the late, cold months of the season. Look at the WR's the cold weather teams have produced over the years... it's foolishness to think Watkins can't be successful. If anything the game is played with more short/intermediate routes in that weather which is something Sammy can hang his hat on.

Next, EJ Manuel was the most NFL ready QB to come out last year (in a really lackluster class) and has all the tools to develop into a franchise QB. He was thrown to the wolves last year with very little help around him. Giving him some weapons with Watkins and Mike Williams is going to go a long way in his development. Last season showed us that he's not really weak at any one thing, he was a rookie playing his first season which included a nagging knee injury. Some QB's take time to develop and it's a shame that the NFL and it's fans are so quick to dish on when someone isn't all that successful out of the gates. Not everyone has the ability to pick up the game like the natural Andrew Luck. It seems the Bills are showing confidence in their guy and making moves to help him out.

Watkins > Evans a week ago. Watkins > Evans today and throughout their careers. Going to a team where he'll be the instant #1 WR only helps that.

Edited by werdnoynek
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I posted this in the Watkins vs Evans discussion, but I think it bears repeating here among all these naysayers and doubters...

I think you're kidding yourself if you think this landing spot hurt Sammy. He's instantly the #1 guy in the offense that can exploit his talents. Everyone raising concerns about his QB and where's he's playing should be thinking the same of Evans...

Firstly, cold weather and snow be damned. Teams like NE and GB have been playing in it successfully for years. Historically, cold weather impact on points scored isn't as significant as (and is more dependant on) the style of play (see: http://www.sportingc...her-months.aspx). If the Bills can use the speed they have on this offense and continue to move into a more up-tempo offense, they can be very successful into the late, cold months of the season. Look at the WR's the cold weather teams have produced over the years... it's foolishness to think Watkins can't be successful. If anything the game is played with more short/intermediate routes in that weather which is something Sammy can hang his hat on.

Next, EJ Manuel was the most NFL ready QB to come out last year (in a really lackluster class) and has all the tools to develop into a franchise QB. He was thrown to the wolves last year with very little help around him. Giving him some weapons with Watkins and Mike Williams is going to go a long way in his development. Last season showed us that he's not really weak at any one thing, he was a rookie playing his first season which included a nagging knee injury. Some QB's take time to develop and it's a shame that the NFL and it's fans are so quick to dish on when someone isn't all that successful out of the gates. Not everyone has the ability to pick up the game like the natural Andrew Luck. It seems the Bills are showing confidence in their guy and making moves to help him out.

Watkins > Evans a week ago. Watkins > Evans today and throughout their careers. Going to a team where he'll be the instant #1 WR only helps that.

I'm sitting at 1.2 in one league and I'll jump for joy if he takes Evans at 1.01 and lets Watkins fall to me.

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I posted this in the Watkins vs Evans discussion, but I think it bears repeating here among all these naysayers and doubters...

I think you're kidding yourself if you think this landing spot hurt Sammy. He's instantly the #1 guy in the offense that can exploit his talents. Everyone raising concerns about his QB and where's he's playing should be thinking the same of Evans...

Firstly, cold weather and snow be damned. Teams like NE and GB have been playing in it successfully for years. Historically, cold weather impact on points scored isn't as significant as (and is more dependant on) the style of play (see: http://www.sportingc...her-months.aspx). If the Bills can use the speed they have on this offense and continue to move into a more up-tempo offense, they can be very successful into the late, cold months of the season. Look at the WR's the cold weather teams have produced over the years... it's foolishness to think Watkins can't be successful. If anything the game is played with more short/intermediate routes in that weather which is something Sammy can hang his hat on.

Next, EJ Manuel was the most NFL ready QB to come out last year (in a really lackluster class) and has all the tools to develop into a franchise QB. He was thrown to the wolves last year with very little help around him. Giving him some weapons with Watkins and Mike Williams is going to go a long way in his development. Last season showed us that he's not really weak at any one thing, he was a rookie playing his first season which included a nagging knee injury. Some QB's take time to develop and it's a shame that the NFL and it's fans are so quick to dish on when someone isn't all that successful out of the gates. Not everyone has the ability to pick up the game like the natural Andrew Luck. It seems the Bills are showing confidence in their guy and making moves to help him out.

Watkins > Evans a week ago. Watkins > Evans today and throughout their careers. Going to a team where he'll be the instant #1 WR only helps that.

I'm sitting at 1.2 in one league and I'll jump for joy if he takes Evans at 1.01 and lets Watkins fall to me.

I'd say you have a real good shot at Watkins #2, if you want him. Cooks will be a #1 candidate. Perhaps a yet to be drafted RB/WR might land in a spot worthy enough to challenge, too.

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Cooks a #1 overall possibility? Has the world gone and lost its mind? Evans, maybe. We've yet to see the RBs landing spots. That is the real threat IMO. Cooks though? Please stop the madness.

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I posted this in the Watkins vs Evans discussion, but I think it bears repeating here among all these naysayers and doubters...

I think you're kidding yourself if you think this landing spot hurt Sammy. He's instantly the #1 guy in the offense that can exploit his talents. Everyone raising concerns about his QB and where's he's playing should be thinking the same of Evans...

Firstly, cold weather and snow be damned. Teams like NE and GB have been playing in it successfully for years. Historically, cold weather impact on points scored isn't as significant as (and is more dependant on) the style of play (see: http://www.sportingc...her-months.aspx). If the Bills can use the speed they have on this offense and continue to move into a more up-tempo offense, they can be very successful into the late, cold months of the season. Look at the WR's the cold weather teams have produced over the years... it's foolishness to think Watkins can't be successful. If anything the game is played with more short/intermediate routes in that weather which is something Sammy can hang his hat on.

Next, EJ Manuel was the most NFL ready QB to come out last year (in a really lackluster class) and has all the tools to develop into a franchise QB. He was thrown to the wolves last year with very little help around him. Giving him some weapons with Watkins and Mike Williams is going to go a long way in his development. Last season showed us that he's not really weak at any one thing, he was a rookie playing his first season which included a nagging knee injury. Some QB's take time to develop and it's a shame that the NFL and it's fans are so quick to dish on when someone isn't all that successful out of the gates. Not everyone has the ability to pick up the game like the natural Andrew Luck. It seems the Bills are showing confidence in their guy and making moves to help him out.

Watkins > Evans a week ago. Watkins > Evans today and throughout their careers. Going to a team where he'll be the instant #1 WR only helps that.

I'll strongly disagree about Manuel. I WANT him to be good. The Bills desperately NEED him to be good, but there are a ton of red flags. Firstly, there is no way he was the most NFL ready rookie QB last year. That was Barkely, though Barkley doesn't have the same tools.

And no glaring weaknesses? His accuracy was atrocious all year. He was unwatchable at some points. Balls in the dirt, 5 yards behind guys, 10 feet over their heads, etc. And he just didn't make many reads last year. Tons of open WRs that he missed because he was either locked onto a guy or too afraid to risk throwing it down field. So many big plays lost because he either wasn't willing to rip it down field to open receivers or because when he did he missed them by a ton. IMO, a lot of it seemed to stem from being too tentative and afraid. He looked scared out there a lot, like he was afraid to risk an interception all the time and constantly looking for the check down. He honestly looked his best when they were in situations where it was clear he was just going out and playing rather than thinking through everything too much. A lot of his accuracy problems were from planting weakly and trying to aim the ball rather than being authoritative and ripping it. If the game slows down for him and he just goes out and plays without over thinking, I do think a lot of his problems will self-correct.

But it is no given that he can do that. It's very possible that he simply isn't smart enough to process it all and that the game will never slow down for him. If that's the case, he'll remain scared, erratic and completely ineffective.

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I posted this in the Watkins vs Evans discussion, but I think it bears repeating here among all these naysayers and doubters...

I think you're kidding yourself if you think this landing spot hurt Sammy. He's instantly the #1 guy in the offense that can exploit his talents. Everyone raising concerns about his QB and where's he's playing should be thinking the same of Evans...

Firstly, cold weather and snow be damned. Teams like NE and GB have been playing in it successfully for years. Historically, cold weather impact on points scored isn't as significant as (and is more dependant on) the style of play (see: http://www.sportingc...her-months.aspx). If the Bills can use the speed they have on this offense and continue to move into a more up-tempo offense, they can be very successful into the late, cold months of the season. Look at the WR's the cold weather teams have produced over the years... it's foolishness to think Watkins can't be successful. If anything the game is played with more short/intermediate routes in that weather which is something Sammy can hang his hat on.

Next, EJ Manuel was the most NFL ready QB to come out last year (in a really lackluster class) and has all the tools to develop into a franchise QB. He was thrown to the wolves last year with very little help around him. Giving him some weapons with Watkins and Mike Williams is going to go a long way in his development. Last season showed us that he's not really weak at any one thing, he was a rookie playing his first season which included a nagging knee injury. Some QB's take time to develop and it's a shame that the NFL and it's fans are so quick to dish on when someone isn't all that successful out of the gates. Not everyone has the ability to pick up the game like the natural Andrew Luck. It seems the Bills are showing confidence in their guy and making moves to help him out.

Watkins > Evans a week ago. Watkins > Evans today and throughout their careers. Going to a team where he'll be the instant #1 WR only helps that.

I'll strongly disagree about Manuel. I WANT him to be good. The Bills desperately NEED him to be good, but there are a ton of red flags. Firstly, there is no way he was the most NFL ready rookie QB last year. That was Barkely, though Barkley doesn't have the same tools.

And no glaring weaknesses? His accuracy was atrocious all year. He was unwatchable at some points. Balls in the dirt, 5 yards behind guys, 10 feet over their heads, etc. And he just didn't make many reads last year. Tons of open WRs that he missed because he was either locked onto a guy or too afraid to risk throwing it down field. So many big plays lost because he either wasn't willing to rip it down field to open receivers or because when he did he missed them by a ton. IMO, a lot of it seemed to stem from being too tentative and afraid. He looked scared out there a lot, like he was afraid to risk an interception all the time and constantly looking for the check down. He honestly looked his best when they were in situations where it was clear he was just going out and playing rather than thinking through everything too much. A lot of his accuracy problems were from planting weakly and trying to aim the ball rather than being authoritative and ripping it. If the game slows down for him and he just goes out and plays without over thinking, I do think a lot of his problems will self-correct.

But it is no given that he can do that. It's very possible that he simply isn't smart enough to process it all and that the game will never slow down for him. If that's the case, he'll remain scared, erratic and completely ineffective.

:goodposting:

Manuel had plenty of weaknesses coming into the league and didn't really do anything to fix them last year. That was partly due to injuries and he was a rookie so he can certainly improve, but he is still a giant question mark.

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I think most Bills fans are not that confident in Manuel. We're hoping he works out, but probably expecting him not to (given the recent history of QBs with this franchise).

Most rookies aren't ready to play so I don't know how much we can read into his performance last year. I'm kind of thinking he's the type of QB who will be ok. Not likely to be great, and probably won't be horrible. I think you can win with those guys if the talent around them is really good and everybody is on the same page. I also think he can be good enough to not hurt Watkins' from a production standpoint. I mean Chad Henne did pretty well with the guys in Jacksonville and he's nothing special. Andre Johnson put up good numbers with some mediocre QBs throwing him the ball.

I hope the coaching staff stays aggressive and gets him to be more aggressive. He definitely looked way too tentative at times last year but I'm hoping that changes.

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Rotoworld:

WGR 550 Buffalo expects the Bills to "do what they can" to try and trade Stevie Johnson.

Following the pick of Sammy Watkins at No. 4 overall last night, the Bills now have a glut of receivers. Johnson is due a $3.65 million salary and had a bit of a rocky relationship with the new coaching staff last season. With Watkins in the fold, we'd expect he and Mike Williams to handle outside duties with Robert Woods working mostly in the slot. Marquise Goodwin will be the situational deep threat. The Bills are likely looking for a mid- to late-round pick for Johnson.
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Cooks a #1 overall possibility? Has the world gone and lost its mind? Evans, maybe. We've yet to see the RBs landing spots. That is the real threat IMO. Cooks though? Please stop the madness.

I don't think I'm the only one who had Cooks ranked 3rd, not too far behind Watkins/Evans. Factor in the situation he landed in, and I know I'm going to be going after him...

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I think most Bills fans are not that confident in Manuel. We're hoping he works out, but probably expecting him not to (given the recent history of QBs with this franchise).

Most rookies aren't ready to play so I don't know how much we can read into his performance last year. I'm kind of thinking he's the type of QB who will be ok. Not likely to be great, and probably won't be horrible. I think you can win with those guys if the talent around them is really good and everybody is on the same page. I also think he can be good enough to not hurt Watkins' from a production standpoint. I mean Chad Henne did pretty well with the guys in Jacksonville and he's nothing special. Andre Johnson put up good numbers with some mediocre QBs throwing him the ball.

I hope the coaching staff stays aggressive and gets him to be more aggressive. He definitely looked way too tentative at times last year but I'm hoping that changes.

I'm kind of on the other side- I view EJ as more of a boom or bust guy. He has the tools to be a very good QB IMO, but he needs a lot of work. I don't expect him to end up being a game managing mediocre Alex Smith/Matt Schaub type.

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I posted this in the Watkins vs Evans discussion, but I think it bears repeating here among all these naysayers and doubters...

I think you're kidding yourself if you think this landing spot hurt Sammy. He's instantly the #1 guy in the offense that can exploit his talents. Everyone raising concerns about his QB and where's he's playing should be thinking the same of Evans...

Firstly, cold weather and snow be damned. Teams like NE and GB have been playing in it successfully for years. Historically, cold weather impact on points scored isn't as significant as (and is more dependant on) the style of play (see: http://www.sportingc...her-months.aspx). If the Bills can use the speed they have on this offense and continue to move into a more up-tempo offense, they can be very successful into the late, cold months of the season. Look at the WR's the cold weather teams have produced over the years... it's foolishness to think Watkins can't be successful. If anything the game is played with more short/intermediate routes in that weather which is something Sammy can hang his hat on.

Next, EJ Manuel was the most NFL ready QB to come out last year (in a really lackluster class) and has all the tools to develop into a franchise QB. He was thrown to the wolves last year with very little help around him. Giving him some weapons with Watkins and Mike Williams is going to go a long way in his development. Last season showed us that he's not really weak at any one thing, he was a rookie playing his first season which included a nagging knee injury. Some QB's take time to develop and it's a shame that the NFL and it's fans are so quick to dish on when someone isn't all that successful out of the gates. Not everyone has the ability to pick up the game like the natural Andrew Luck. It seems the Bills are showing confidence in their guy and making moves to help him out.

Watkins > Evans a week ago. Watkins > Evans today and throughout their careers. Going to a team where he'll be the instant #1 WR only helps that.

I'll strongly disagree about Manuel. I WANT him to be good. The Bills desperately NEED him to be good, but there are a ton of red flags. Firstly, there is no way he was the most NFL ready rookie QB last year. That was Barkely, though Barkley doesn't have the same tools.

And no glaring weaknesses? His accuracy was atrocious all year. He was unwatchable at some points. Balls in the dirt, 5 yards behind guys, 10 feet over their heads, etc. And he just didn't make many reads last year. Tons of open WRs that he missed because he was either locked onto a guy or too afraid to risk throwing it down field. So many big plays lost because he either wasn't willing to rip it down field to open receivers or because when he did he missed them by a ton. IMO, a lot of it seemed to stem from being too tentative and afraid. He looked scared out there a lot, like he was afraid to risk an interception all the time and constantly looking for the check down. He honestly looked his best when they were in situations where it was clear he was just going out and playing rather than thinking through everything too much. A lot of his accuracy problems were from planting weakly and trying to aim the ball rather than being authoritative and ripping it. If the game slows down for him and he just goes out and plays without over thinking, I do think a lot of his problems will self-correct.

But it is no given that he can do that. It's very possible that he simply isn't smart enough to process it all and that the game will never slow down for him. If that's the case, he'll remain scared, erratic and completely ineffective.

Alright, I didn't get to see all his games and maybe I was a bit high on praise. He had a lot of growing up to do and could have benefited from sitting behind a vet for a year. Barkley more NFL ready? I guess we'll have to disagree on that - but you must not have seen him play during the preseason. I believe Manuel has all the tools to be successful in this league, and while it was clear he was in over his head last season, he showed flashes of those tools and what he can potentially do. I guess I can't understand or appreciate the doom and gloom outlook of being a Bills fan (being a fan of the Green and Gold myself lol), so to me, your outlook seems a bit harsh. Maybe it's just realistic, but most rookies look like that year one. I'd say he fared just as well as Tannehill did as a rookie without any receiving weapons around him. Many have Tannehill in their top 15 at this point given his upside. I'd say EJ is a similar guy and I look at him in the company of Tannehill, Dalton, Roethlisberger, Flacco, and the other Manning currently. He has the potential to crack the top 10 if he continues to grow into the position.

Edited by werdnoynek
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Cooks a #1 overall possibility? Has the world gone and lost its mind? Evans, maybe. We've yet to see the RBs landing spots. That is the real threat IMO. Cooks though? Please stop the madness.

I don't think I'm the only one who had Cooks ranked 3rd, not too far behind Watkins/Evans. Factor in the situation he landed in, and I know I'm going to be going after him...

Maybe he will blow up there. I think he's fools gold, though. NO has a poor track record of drafting WRs and I see Cooks as a slightly better Austin. Landing in NO will drive up the price because of Brees. I'm thinking I won't touch him.
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One less mouth to feed now... Stevie Johnson is gone.

Yes, but it would have been nice for him to learn from Stevie a little.

That's true. He was saying in a pre draft interview about a couple of things he wanted in the team that drafts him.

  1. A great QB... uhhhh
  2. A great WR to learn the ropes from... uhhhh

Hopefully Rob Moore and Marrone/Hackett will give him what he needs in coaching to make up for it... lol.

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No consideration for the fact that the scheme fit could be a great fit for Watkins?

Yeah, I don't buy that Buffalo is the worst landing spot. I'm actually kind of excited about their offense going forward. They showed the early stages of an exciting spread attack last year, and IIRC, they were the only team that ran more plays per second than Chip Kelly's Eagles. I think people are basing their opinions of Buffalo too much on the past (and the weather) and not enough on the future.

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Browns came 'very close' to drafting Sammy Watkins

By Dan Hanzus

Around the League Writer

The Cleveland Browns' 2014 NFL Draft will be remembered as a franchise-altering masterpiece if cornerback Justin Gilbert and quarterback Johnny Manziel thrive at the next level.

The fact that Browns general manager Ray Farmer also managed a Thursday night trade with the Bills that netted first- and fourth-round picks in 2015 only adds to the potential of this draft.

But one pesky asterisk hangs over Farmer's haul. Cleveland is aware it potentially will be without Josh Gordon for some or all of next season after another positive drug test. How could the Browns not select a single wide receiver in 10 picks?

Farmer told Peter King of TheMMQB.com that the Browns came "very close" to selecting Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins with the fourth overall pick. King asked how Farmer will feel if Watkins becomes Randy Moss II.

"Even if Sammy turns into Randy Moss, Justin Gilbert can be every bit as good as Patrick Peterson," Farmer said. "That's how much talent he has. And in the game today, I feel cornerbacks are as important as wide receivers, and maybe harder to find. So I have no regrets about it, no."

Farmer said the Browns would've taken that wideout had the draft broken differently.

"I'll be candid here," he said. "The real position to get a receiver would have been at 35, and we thought of it. There were receivers there we liked a lot. But we loved (Nevada offensive tackle) Joel Bitonio at 35. He was clearly the highest-rated player for us then. Not another guy of his caliber, or even close, there. We stayed true to our board.

"Then we hoped one of the receivers we liked would have fallen to 71, but they were gone then. That's the heartbreaking part of the draft. You like so many guys, and they get picked, and you say, 'There goes another one.' It hurts, but you can't have everyone you want."

Any fantasy football owner can empathize with Farmer. As for the Browns, if the season started today they'd have a wide receiver group that includes Greg Little, Andrew Hawkins and Nate Burleson (who just broke his arm again).

Expect the Browns to sift through the free agent bargain bin in the near future.

The "Around The League Podcast" wrapped up the draft by picking our winners and losers.

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Rotoworld:

Coach Doug Marrone said Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods will both get chances to play in the slot.

Last year's slot receiver, Stevie Johnson, has been traded to the 49ers. The Bills are going to use Watkins all over the formation and feature him heavily after giving up a 2015 first-round pick to trade up for him Thursday night. Woods could also get some looks there. Only Mike Williams will be locked into an outside role.
Related: Robert Woods
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Serious question, does anyone have stats on the number of games the Bills have played in the snow in the last 10 years or so? It seems like the team plays like 1 home game in December every year, and it seemingly never snows. Out of 80 home* games over the past 10 years, I'd be shocked if they played more than like 8 of them in actual snowy conditions. I think the weather worries are overblown.

* including Toronto

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Serious question, does anyone have stats on the number of games the Bills have played in the snow in the last 10 years or so? It seems like the team plays like 1 home game in December every year, and it seemingly never snows. Out of 80 home* games over the past 10 years, I'd be shocked if they played more than like 8 of them in actual snowy conditions. I think the weather worries are overblown.

* including Toronto

Agreed - this argument always puzzles me. There are a large number of teams that play in potentially cold/ snowy venues and I don't see it as much of a factor at all.

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Serious question, does anyone have stats on the number of games the Bills have played in the snow in the last 10 years or so? It seems like the team plays like 1 home game in December every year, and it seemingly never snows. Out of 80 home* games over the past 10 years, I'd be shocked if they played more than like 8 of them in actual snowy conditions. I think the weather worries are overblown.

* including Toronto

I'm not sure it even matters. I think the metrics say that snow either has no effect on passing stats or maybe a slight positive even due to receivers knowing where they are cutting to and DBs falling down trying to make that same cut.

Wind and rain are much bigger negative factors with wind being the biggest one. Wind does play a role in Buffalo of course, but I think the league has actually tried to schedule less games in Buffalo in December to try to avoid non sellout games. When the team is typically bad and it's freezing cold, nobody wants to go to games.

Manuel's major accuracy issues from last year are much more of a concern to me than snow.

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Regarding Manuel's accuracy, just remember knee and lower leg injuries are going to affect that. See RG3 last year. I remember thinking Manuel looked really good in the preseason before he got hurt. Now he has some weapons. I think he's a good buy low personally.

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Serious question, does anyone have stats on the number of games the Bills have played in the snow in the last 10 years or so? It seems like the team plays like 1 home game in December every year, and it seemingly never snows. Out of 80 home* games over the past 10 years, I'd be shocked if they played more than like 8 of them in actual snowy conditions. I think the weather worries are overblown.

* including Toronto

I'm not sure it even matters. I think the metrics say that snow either has no effect on passing stats or maybe a slight positive even due to receivers knowing where they are cutting to and DBs falling down trying to make that same cut.

Wind and rain are much bigger negative factors with wind being the biggest one. Wind does play a role in Buffalo of course, but I think the league has actually tried to schedule less games in Buffalo in December to try to avoid non sellout games. When the team is typically bad and it's freezing cold, nobody wants to go to games.

Manuel's major accuracy issues from last year are much more of a concern to me than snow.

Yes, snow favors the offense. Treacherous footing favors the player who knows where he's going, not the player who is simply reacting. Witness Tom Brady throwing 6 first-half TDs against Tennessee, or Jerry Porter absolutely destroying Champ Bailey in his prime.

Weather conditions that affect the ball in flight favor the defense. That's mostly going to be heavy rain and wind. Extreme cold can increase fumble rates, but it has to be really cold before you start to see any impacts. Wet balls are also more likely to be fumbled, although snow isn't going to melt quickly enough to get a ball wet enough. Weather conditions that affect the condition of the field are more favorable to offenses. That includes snowy and wet fields, so as soon as the rain stops, the offense usually gains an edge.

Passing statistics do tend to fall in cold-weather cities late in the season, but that's not specifically due to the snow.

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Still 1.01? Not sure how I feel about him landing in Buffalo yet. I know there could have been worse.

I can see making a very good case that Evans is the pick over Watkins now.

Let's hear it.

There were several analysts prior to the draft suggesting that a number of teams had Evans on their draft boards ahead of Watkins, as he had more of the physical frame, speed, and catching radius that is highly coveted in the NFL today. There were a lot of suggestions that even if you evaluated Watkins as the better WR that the gap between the two wasn't all that significant. It has been suggested that Evans will have a larger red zone role than Watkins will, and that his skills perhaps translate better to the NFL.

In terms of opportunity, Evans has a clearer path to seeing a significant number of passing targets, as the # 2 WR job opposite Jackson is wide open, while in Buffalo Watkins will contend with a much more crowded receiving corps.

The QB situation is a bit unknown for each, as we don't know what the Bills have in Manuel; however, a veteran QB is likely the better short term option.

I also think that when you factor in the climate, those late season games in Tampa Bay are more favorable to offensive passing production than the games being played in Buffalo.

Watkins is immediately the #1 WR in Buffalo. How does Evans have a more clear path to targets?

ETA: Climate is overrated. Djax went 4-59 and a TD in a foot of snow against the Lions last season. I'll take that any week in that weather.

I don't think this is a given at all. Woods flashed plenty as a rookie, and we still don't know how quickly Watkins will aquire a full route tree. I wouldn't be surprised whatsoever to see Woods out-perform him this year. Just as important, it's easy to envision the TB offense as a whole putting up better numbers than the Buffalo offense, especially later in the season.

Edited by renesauz
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I really don't mind this landing spot for Watkins. I have stated before that I think Watkins is the type of talent that is bullet proof. Milkman, your Torrey Smith comparison makes no sense. Torrey Smith has exclusively so far shown he is one thing in both his college and NFL career. He is fast and is 1 dimensional. Smith has never at any stage of his nfl/college career caught more than 67 balls in a season. In the NFL he has topped out at 65. There is a decent chance that Watkins will beat that reception total as a rookie.

I am not sold on EJ Manuel and would it have been awesome had Watkins gone to a team with an extablished all pro QB? Of course. But the same could have been said about other elite WR's prior to them entering the NFL. Even if EJ Manuel ends up being average I think Watkins can thrive with sub par QB play. The talent with Watkins is there and the opportunity is also going to be there. He immediately is the best offensive pass catcher on the team and will be getting a ton of targets.

Manuel is going to have at least 500 plus pass attempts this year. Last year the Bills started Manuel, as well as Thaddeus Lewis, and Jeff Tuel and they combined for 522 attempts on the season. There will be plenty of targets available for Watkins to turn into fantasy points. All pro QB's usually have weapons and talent. Watkins could have went to Detroit and he would have been sharing targets with CJ, Tate, Bush etc. In, Buffalo Watkins is going to be the man. The offense will be developed around him. Buffalo loves him. You don't trade up for a player like Watkins and pay that type of price unless you love and believe in him and want to make him the main part of your offense.

I am excited to see what he can do being the guy.

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Still 1.01? Not sure how I feel about him landing in Buffalo yet. I know there could have been worse.

I can see making a very good case that Evans is the pick over Watkins now.

Let's hear it.

There were several analysts prior to the draft suggesting that a number of teams had Evans on their draft boards ahead of Watkins, as he had more of the physical frame, speed, and catching radius that is highly coveted in the NFL today. There were a lot of suggestions that even if you evaluated Watkins as the better WR that the gap between the two wasn't all that significant. It has been suggested that Evans will have a larger red zone role than Watkins will, and that his skills perhaps translate better to the NFL.

In terms of opportunity, Evans has a clearer path to seeing a significant number of passing targets, as the # 2 WR job opposite Jackson is wide open, while in Buffalo Watkins will contend with a much more crowded receiving corps.

The QB situation is a bit unknown for each, as we don't know what the Bills have in Manuel; however, a veteran QB is likely the better short term option.

I also think that when you factor in the climate, those late season games in Tampa Bay are more favorable to offensive passing production than the games being played in Buffalo.

Watkins is immediately the #1 WR in Buffalo. How does Evans have a more clear path to targets?

ETA: Climate is overrated. Djax went 4-59 and a TD in a foot of snow against the Lions last season. I'll take that any week in that weather.

I don't think this is a given at all. Woods flashed plenty as a rookie, and we still don't know how quickly Watkins will aquire a full route tree. I wouldn't be surprised whatsoever to see Woods out-perform him this year. Just as important, it's easy to envision the TB offense as a whole putting up better numbers than the Buffalo offense, especially later in the season.

You've got to be kidding me. Think about what they gave up to get him and what he can do on the field. Woods can't hold Sammy's jock. He's the instant #1 on this team and the instant top producer. There is no way Woods will out-perform him.

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I don't see any way that Watkins isn't given every shot to be the Bills WR1, sooner rather than later. Sooner being this season. Buf invested heavily into him and traded away their previous WR1 to avoid any conflict IMO. If he succeeds as such is yet to be determined but the opportunity is clearly there.

Edited by jurb26
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I don't see any way that Watkins isn't given every shot to be the Bills WR1, sooner rather than later. Sooner being this season. Buf invested heavily into him and traded away their previous WR1 to avoid any conflict IMO. If he succeeds as such is yet to be determined but the opportunity is clearly there.

As long as nobody on the staff says they're going to feed him receptions until he throws up. ;)

I agree, though. That's a significant investment and I think they do everything they can to get Manuel/Watkins going.

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the look on Watkins face wh

en selected was priceless..like, " buffalo? really, #$%$% buffalo??"

Couldn't be more wrong boss.

Watkins grew up a Bills' fan. He absolutely loved this coaching staff and team on his pre-draft visits. CJ Spiller was a former Clemson standout. Watkins wanted to come to Buffalo.

I absolutely love this move by the Bills. Call me crazy, but I'm glad they were able to get the Browns to take their 1st next year instead of our 2nd or 3rd this year. The #41 pick in this very deep draft should net the Bills a starting RT and fix the most glaring hole left on the roster. If they can get that starting RT at 41, this offense is scary. Just look at our WR corp:

Sammy Watkins - Instant #1

Robert Woods - Bills love Woods and he began to hit it off with Manuel

Stevie Johnson - If he isn't moved, he will be their slot guy full time. One of the best route runners in the league if he can stay healthy.

Mike Williams - Traded a 6th round pick for him. If he can get his act together, could be a steal. 25 TD's in a little over 3 seasons of games. Gives us the redzone threat so desperately needed

Marquise Goodwin - 3rd round pick last season. Fastest player in the NFL. I really like this kid and he could be a major sleeper.

With the addition of Watkins and Williams, I think this makes Hackett move more towards a spread offense. Lots of 4 WR sets. Spiller did his best work when Gailey spread things out.

I agree Watkins is a future stud WR, but Buffalo is less than an ideal landing spot..when I was watching the draft,it just seemed he had a smirk on his face when his name was announced, as if he almost expected to be drafted by another team, to end up elsewhere. I could be wrong, but that's the feeling I got with his initial reaction..I was on the 'back nine' of a 30-pack of at that point.. :D

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Does somoene have an all time list of NFL wide receivers drafted in the top 5 of the NFL draft?

Every draft in my lifetime....

2014 - Sammy Watkins

2012 - Justin Blackmon

2011 - AJ Green (Julio Jones was #6)

2007 - Calvin Johnson

2005 - Braylon Edwards

2004 - Larry Fitz

2003 - Charles Rogers and Andre Johnson

2000 - Peter Warrick

1999 - Torry Holt was #6

1996 - Keyshawn Johnson

1995 - Michael Westbrook

1992 - Desmond Howard

1988 - Tim Brown was #6 with Sterling Sharpe right after him.

1984 - Irving Fryar and Kenny Jackson

Take out Blackmon, possibly Edwards, and Westbrook due to character concerns (which I don't think Watkins has, but please correct me if that's not true), and possibly take out Warrick and Howard as both are a different kind of WR (specifically smaller kick returner types if memory serves)....and you've got a very nice list here.

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Does somoene have an all time list of NFL wide receivers drafted in the top 5 of the NFL draft?

Every draft in my lifetime....

2014 - Sammy Watkins

2012 - Justin Blackmon

2011 - AJ Green (Julio Jones was #6)

2007 - Calvin Johnson

2005 - Braylon Edwards

2004 - Larry Fitz

2003 - Charles Rogers and Andre Johnson

2000 - Peter Warrick

1999 - Torry Holt was #6

1996 - Keyshawn Johnson

1995 - Michael Westbrook

1992 - Desmond Howard

1988 - Tim Brown was #6 with Sterling Sharpe right after him.

1984 - Irving Fryar and Kenny Jackson

Take out Blackmon, possibly Edwards, and Westbrook due to character concerns (which I don't think Watkins has, but please correct me if that's not true), and possibly take out Warrick and Howard as both are a different kind of WR (specifically smaller kick returner types if memory serves)....and you've got a very nice list here.

thanks

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Does somoene have an all time list of NFL wide receivers drafted in the top 5 of the NFL draft?

Every draft in my lifetime....

2014 - Sammy Watkins

2012 - Justin Blackmon

2011 - AJ Green (Julio Jones was #6)

2007 - Calvin Johnson

2005 - Braylon Edwards

2004 - Larry Fitz

2003 - Charles Rogers and Andre Johnson

2000 - Peter Warrick

1999 - Torry Holt was #6

1996 - Keyshawn Johnson

1995 - Michael Westbrook

1992 - Desmond Howard

1988 - Tim Brown was #6 with Sterling Sharpe right after him.

1984 - Irving Fryar and Kenny Jackson

Take out Blackmon, possibly Edwards, and Westbrook due to character concerns (which I don't think Watkins has, but please correct me if that's not true), and possibly take out Warrick and Howard as both are a different kind of WR (specifically smaller kick returner types if memory serves)....and you've got a very nice list here.

thanks

I also think the trend over the last decade points to more hits than misses for the top guys than before. I'm not sure if that's a change in how elite WR prospects are scouted now or if it's just dumb luck, however.

Edited by FavreAndAwayAnIdiot
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Does somoene have an all time list of NFL wide receivers drafted in the top 5 of the NFL draft?

Every draft in my lifetime....

2014 - Sammy Watkins

2012 - Justin Blackmon

2011 - AJ Green (Julio Jones was #6)

2007 - Calvin Johnson

2005 - Braylon Edwards

2004 - Larry Fitz

2003 - Charles Rogers and Andre Johnson

2000 - Peter Warrick

1999 - Torry Holt was #6

1996 - Keyshawn Johnson

1995 - Michael Westbrook

1992 - Desmond Howard

1988 - Tim Brown was #6 with Sterling Sharpe right after him.

1984 - Irving Fryar and Kenny Jackson

Take out Blackmon, possibly Edwards, and Westbrook due to character concerns (which I don't think Watkins has, but please correct me if that's not true), and possibly take out Warrick and Howard as both are a different kind of WR (specifically smaller kick returner types if memory serves)....and you've got a very nice list here.

thanks

I also think the trend over the last decade points to more hits than misses for the top guys than before. I'm not sure if that's a change in how elite WR prospects are scouted now or if it's just dumb luck, however.

You don't think Andre Johnson was a hit? Torry Holt or Keyshawn or Tim Brown or Fryar? As I said, take out the character question marks (Blackmon, Edwards and Westbrook) which I don't think would apply to Sammy - and take out the two very undersized guys who were brought in to be kick returners as well, and you've got nearly 10 current or future hall of famers here.

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