The Buffalo Bills needed to beef up their wide receiving corps heading into the 2014 season and they did that on Thursday by making a bold move: Buffalo made a trade with Cleveland and moved up five spots to take Sammy Watkins with the fourth overall pick in the NFL Draft.
CBSSports.com senior writer Pete Prisco disliked the pick because of the high cost of the trade.
Watkins to Bills: They need an explosive playmaker, and I like Watkins. But moving up can be risky. Does he put them over the top? GRADE C-— Pete Prisco (@PriscoCBS) May 9, 2014
Watkins was considered by most to be the top receiver available this year and Buffalo must have agreed because the Bills gave up a lot to get him. The Browns will get Buffalo's first-round pick in 2015 and the Bills 109th pick in the 2014 draft in exchange for the move. Cleveland will also get the ninth overall pick in the 2014 draft that was previously held by Buffalo.
Despite leaving Clemson with a year of eligibility left, Watkins was still there long enough to break several school records. In only three seasons, Watkins set Clemson's career-record for receptions (240) and 100-yard receiving games (15).
Watkins was borderline unstoppable in 2013 and fans got a glimpse of that in the Orange Bowl when the receiver caught 16 passes for 227 yards in a 40-35 win over Ohio State.
Watkins should contribute right away in Buffalo, as long as EJ Manuel can get him the ball.
The only knock on Watkins, according to NFLDraftScout.com, is that he lacks elite speed and doesn't break many tackles, but with his talent, that might not matter.
Here's the contract Watkins is likely to ink, via former NFL agent Joel Corry.
Correction: Sammy Watkins' signing bonus should be $12,618,620. His '14 compensation should be $13,038,620.— Joel Corry (@corryjoel) May 9, 2014
The 2014 draft marks the second straight year that a Clemson wide receiver was taken in the first round. Last year, the Tigers had a first-round pick when DeAndre Hopkins was taken 27th overall by the Texans. Before that, a Clemson wide receiver hadn't been taken in the first-round since Rod Gardner was drafted 15th by the Redskins in 2001.