I just don't get it.
During this past season, and the year before that, I just went along with the hype on most players. I heard that there was this guy Sammy Watkins who was a great YAC threat with great deep speed. He wasn't the biggest, but that didn't really matter all that much. Then after the season ended (Super Bowl!), I decided to take a look at some of the top prospects to see how much I'd like to trade up for them. And I'd take Sammy Watkins in the first, but I wouldn't trade up for him. I think he's incredibly overrated.
YAC specialists (as he's hyped to be) need to have three things for me, agility, balance, and strength. Let's take a look at his best game, against Ohio State:
Now, taking a look at some notable things,
0:30, good strength to get that couple extra yards against the Ohio State defender
0:38, THIS is where Watkins is at his best, on vertical routes.
1:13, great play by the Ohio State defender, wraping up Watkins, but isn't that supposed to be where Sammy's best?
1:49, this is the only time that Watkins jukes a guy out. The only one I've seen on any of his tape.
2:16, good job evading Ryan Shazier, but there was another guy helping keep Shazier away.
3:50, this is the play that has everyone excited. He trucked Ryan Shazier (not Shazier's best game huh?). A great play by Watkins, and this shows his second best attribute, his lower body strength, he's really good at dragging that defender for a couple yards after he's hit.
4:26, GREAT play by Watkins. High-points the ball in the endzone over two defenders.
5:05, again that lower body strength shows itself.
Like I said, I'd like Watkins in the first round. I like him as a prospect. I'd like to have him on the team. But there are other guys that I'd like more. Watkins doesn't bounce off of tacklers like I'd like to see, Golden Tate did that very well. He's not as fast as Percy Harvin, or even his teammate Martavis Bryant, He's not as big as Mike Evans, Watkins is good in every category, but not really great in any of them. He could be the safest receiver in the draft, but I'd actually take Cody Latimer ahead of him, Latimer's faster, better on jump balls, and is a better blocker. Again, Sammy is good in all those areas (his blocking is really underrated in my opinion), but he doesn't fit the prototype that Latimer does.
The final straw for me came when Bleacher Report did this: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2031939-miller-and-simms-debate-whos-the-better-prospect-sammy-watkins-or-julio-jones
Because after that, I went and watched the only tape I could find on Jones, his game against Auburn.
This was much more impressive than ANY single game that Watkins has.
Looking at the two, I have to give Jones the edge in literally every physical category, he also played in a pro style offense, and against SEC defenders and coordinators. In the video they also said Watkins was the best receiver prospect to come out since Megatron. I guess they forgot about a certain AJ Green, a guy who's scouting reports consistently read as such:
"Has the ideal length, refined route-running skills, hands, and big-play ability to become one of the league's top players at the position. Displays tremendous acceleration and fluidity for a taller player. Is a consistent vertical threat because of his outstanding combination of deep speed, height, ball skills and leaping ability. Very productive underneath gaining separation or catching the ball in a crowd" (NFL.com)
Some were even more glowing.
Look, it's not that I dislike Watkins, or even that I don't think he's a first round pick, he's definitely a top 32 player in this draft. But he played in a spread offense that didn't use many routes other than slants, posts, 9s, and screens, only one of those take any skill (and yet people still praise his route running). I can see why you'd put him in the same area as a guy like Calvin Johnson, who's route running was VERY raw coming out of college, or at least, why you'd have an argument in that case, but he's not as good as AJ Green was coming out, or as Julio Jones was coming out. I'm really frustrated by all this hype, and I just don't see it.
If Watkins comes in and tears up the league in a couple years, I'll gladly admit that I was wrong (you may have to remind me though, I tend to forget some things). After all, I'm not a scout, I don't get paid for this, I don't have any training in spotting talent in different players like Rob Staton, Danny Kelly, Davis Hsu, or Jared Stanger. This is just what I see, and it's good, 1st round good, but not worth this amount of hype for a guy who just looks like a slightly bigger Torrey Smith.