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Sammy Watkins shows the risks of trading up

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At Clemson, Sammy Watkins was such a sure-thing prospect that he probably would have been a high first-round pick after his freshman year, if not for the NFL’s rule requiring players to be three years out of high school before they can be drafted. When he finally was eligible in 2014, the Bills were so eager to draft him that they traded two first-round picks and a fourth-round pick to move up and get him.

That was a mistake, as it usually is when teams trade up. The draft is just too unpredictable to justify pouring those kinds of resources into any one prospect. The smarter move is to acquire a lot of picks and hope that at least some of them pan out.

When the Bills announced this week that they would not pick up Watkins’ fifth-year option, they were essentially admitting that the move up for Watkins was a mistake. And it was a particularly costly mistake because the Bills probably would have ended up with a better player than Watkins if they had just stayed put at No. 9, rather than moving up to No. 4 to take Watkins: Still on the board at No. 9 was Odell Beckham, who has proven to be a much better receiver than Watkins, not to mention Pro Bowlers Anthony Barr, Taylor Lewan, Aaron Donald, Ryan Shazier, Zack Martin and C.J. Mosley, all of whom went off the board between Pick 9 and Pick 17.

If the Bills didn’t want Beckham for whatever reason, they could have drafted one of those other Pro Bowlers with the ninth overall pick and used their second-round pick to take Allen Robinson or Jarvis Landry, second-round receivers from the 2014 draft who have both out-performed Watkins through the first three seasons of their careers.

If you’re going to give up two first-round picks and a fourth-round pick for one player, you’d better be absolutely certain that one player is going to be far better than the players you could get with the picks you gave up. And in reality, no team is ever absolutely certain. Absolute certainty just isn’t available in the NFL draft.

This isn’t hindsight; I tweeted on draft night in 2014 that the Bills gave up too much for Watkins. That’s not a knock on Watkins, who was a great receiver at Clemson. It’s just the simple reality that trading up in the NFL draft is a big risk, one that usually doesn’t pay off.

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83 Responses to “Sammy Watkins shows the risks of trading up”
  1. trainwrecksryan says: May 4, 2017 6:16 AM

    More sadness for the Cleveland Bills.

  2. dabears2485 says: May 4, 2017 6:25 AM

    So, what about Julio Jones? Atlanta gave up a king’s ransom for him without a super bowl win to show for it. Don’t get me wrong, he’s great and all, but they couldn’t even make it to the NFC Championship until they built the team up (Freeman, Coleman, offensive line, Sanu, defensive help). Was Jones worth it? The stats have been great for hype and sales, but the trade delayed the acquisition of more talent to help the team. Would they have been better off drafting someone else and using those picks they traded to build the team as a whole? I think it’s a subject worth discussing. Again, Jones is great, but they were not “one player away” at that time, making the decision to trade so much for him questionable.

  3. electricrelish says: May 4, 2017 6:28 AM

    You’re assessment is that other players are better than Watkins which is why he wasn’t worth the 2 first round picks and more. I don’t disagree that it was a bad trade, but you are basically blaming Watkins for not being good enough when the real issue is that he keeps getting hurt. That’s what’s frustrating about Watkins, not his ability on the field.

    What they really should have done is not traded 2 first round picks for a player who is dependent on a quality QB who can get him the ball. The Bills don’t have that QB. A healthy Watkins with a better QB changes everything.

    The Bills not picking up the contract option for Watkins’ 5th year is all about his foot surgery. They know he is a top WR but they just want to make sure he can stay on the field this year.

  4. ricko1112 says: May 4, 2017 6:29 AM

    These are the Bill folks…

    Sure, they didn’t pick up his option, but they’ll probably bid against themselves next year and give him even more money.

  5. "All Eyez On Me" in theaters june 16 2017 says: May 4, 2017 6:33 AM

    They move from 9th to 4th right in front of Oakland to take him, I wanted Oakland to draft Sammy, Oakland needed a #1 WR & he was it, love what Big Reg is doing in Oakland but everyone knew he was taking Watkins thats the reason bills traded up right in front of them!!!

  6. jkossrt says: May 4, 2017 6:42 AM

    I understand the premise being made here. But I don’t believe the logic. No one knows that any of those other receivers were going to be any better than Watkins. In fact if he can stay healthy this year I think he will prove he’s as good if not better than any of them. Except for the fact that he doesn’t have a real qb to get him the ball. Injuries and subpar qb have depressed his numbers. The Bills should have shut him down last year and let him heal properly, but Rex was coaching for his life, so he played. Big mistake.

  7. whodat5150 says: May 4, 2017 7:00 AM

    And Julio Jones shows why you move up to take a player, you believe can be a difference maker. As many others have already pointed out, his problem is he can’t stay healthy.

  8. truthinesshurts says: May 4, 2017 7:03 AM

    It’s unfair bordering on naive and silly to list several great/really good players drafted after the Ninth pick as missed opportunities…as if they knew to pick the small percentage who would turn out great as opposed to the 90% that didn’t.

  9. xlivsaints says: May 4, 2017 7:15 AM

    SWatkins

  10. mymanmccoy says: May 4, 2017 7:19 AM

    watkins has talent, but he won’t shut his mouth. It amazes me how players ruin draft stock and careers just because they won’t keep their pie hole shut.

  11. peytonsforehead says: May 4, 2017 7:20 AM

    It wasn’t two first round picks. This isn’t that hard to understand. Swapping first round picks position and giving next years first equates to one first round pick and a fourth. Still too steep for my liking but tell the truth man and stop it with the whole two firsts thing.

  12. Footballfanz says: May 4, 2017 7:27 AM

    This is not the issue, the issue is the Bills not getting offensive help. They had the 4th best defense in the league with the same defensive roster coming back and Rex coming in as coach. Rex said ‘4th isnt good enough’, changed up the defense and spent first 3 rds of the next two drafts just on defensive players. Rex is not even a good defensive coordinator, he had to try and buy a defense through the draft- leaving the offense with no help at receiver, no extra o-line help, no bump up in QB. Watkins was the only named receiver, next up was Robert Woods. So while watkins has been hurt, its no ones fault and it sucks for them, but had they stuff with schwartz as d-coordinator, hired an offensive minded coach and used the draft to bulk up their offense they would have been a playoff team in the last two years and no one would be talking about if watkins was a bust.

  13. canetic says: May 4, 2017 7:31 AM

    Sammy Watkins is very good. It’s not like he’s out of the league already. If he were cut today, 31 teams would claim him on waivers.

  14. 6thsense10 says: May 4, 2017 7:38 AM

    The Falcons traded 2011 1st 2nd and 4th round picks plus a 2012 1st and 4th for the rights to draft Jones. Wow!

    Luckily for them the team they traded all those picks to were the Browns who couldn’t do a thing with the picks in terms of selecting players else this pick would have been rediculously lopsided even with Jones’s current production. That’s the type of trade you should be able to build a contender off of.

    Unless the player in question is a can’t miss QB like Luck or Peyton Manning I just can’t justify the risk of trading away all those picks.

  15. joetoronto says: May 4, 2017 7:42 AM

    There was no need to use another 1st to get Watkins, injuries or not.

    No need at all.

  16. zwhateverz says: May 4, 2017 7:42 AM

    MULTIPLE teams around the league would kill for that type of production from any of their drafted WRs.

    Corey Davis for instance has better college stats than anyone Baltimore has drafted in the past eight years combined.

  17. pillowporkers says: May 4, 2017 7:48 AM

    @dabears, I’m pretty sure Julio is a huge part of the reason they got to the Super Bowl. And was also a big reason why they should have won it. Something your bears haven’t done(or my Vikings) in that timeframe. They would do that trade again in a heartbeat. You are way over analyzing that one.

  18. exinsidetrader says: May 4, 2017 7:52 AM

    If you want to be successful and a winner look closely at what losers do and how they live — and then to the opposite!

    The Pats are the best team in football for any number of reasons, but one of them surely is that they don’t operate like the Bills.

  19. BuffaloSportsTown says: May 4, 2017 8:01 AM

    Buffalo wasn’t winning anything with a healthy Watkins, as far as I am concerned, his injury has driven the price of first round talent down and now he has to perform in a contract year.

    Rex Ryan was the biggest drain on this organization. That can not be overstated.

  20. nolasoxfan2012 says: May 4, 2017 8:01 AM

    The problem was trading up for a wide receiver, not trading up in general. Wide receivers are often a wasted draft pick in the first round. College competition just isn’t good enough to know who is going to really excel in the NFL. Even then, it’s not clear how much of an impact elite wide receivers have on the game.

  21. skoobyfl says: May 4, 2017 8:02 AM

    It takes some players years to get physically NFL ready & some never reach their potential. Sammy being perpetually hurt doesn’t mean he won’t be a great WR in the NFL, it means he hasn’t had a chance to really play.

    Nothing is assured at the highest levels of the draft, it comes with high expectations and risks. Taking that all into account, if Sammy gets 2,000 yards this season then where does your theory stand ? Sammy becomes better than all of those other players and has many years of NFL play left ??

    I like to talk about the race after the finish line is crossed, something things happen during the race that can be overcome and sometimes it can’t. You’d be smarter to follow suit.

  22. weepingjebus says: May 4, 2017 8:03 AM

    Remember, the NFL and CFL have played each other 6 times. The NFL is 5-1. The only NFL team to lose to a CFL team? The Bills.

  23. skoobyfl says: May 4, 2017 8:04 AM

    It takes some players years to get physically NFL ready & some never reach their potential. Sammy being perpetually hurt doesn’t mean he won’t be a great WR in the NFL, it means he hasn’t had a chance to really play.

    Nothing is assured at the highest levels of the draft, it comes with high expectations and risks. Taking that all into account, if Sammy gets 2,000 yards this season then where does your theory stand ? Sammy becomes better than all of those other players and has many years of NFL play left ??

    I like to talk about the race after the finish line is crossed, sometimes things happen during the race that can be overcome and sometimes it can’t. You’d be smarter to follow suit.

  24. eroschmidt says: May 4, 2017 8:04 AM

    The Bills and Sammy Watkins story isn’t complete yet. Let’s not write this off as a bad decision until the final chapter is written.

  25. psj3809 says: May 4, 2017 8:11 AM

    Love the way the media change their view. Watkins (with no decent QB) had 2000 yards in his first two seasons. Last year he was injured a chunk of the year and had a bad year.

    Now everyones anti Watkins ?! Tim Brown started off slow with the Raiders, brilliant rookie year then was injured his second season and had a few quiet seasons. Didnt have a 1000 yard season until his 5th year.

    Sure Watkins will bounce when hes fully fit

  26. whatjusthapped says: May 4, 2017 8:15 AM

    As with Championship choking, the Vikings one upped the Bills in this department too when they traded up in the first round to take a kick off returner masquerading as a WR.

    Neither team is close to building a good team that can make the playoffs, the difference is the Bill’s fans at least recognize it.

  27. redsoxu571 says: May 4, 2017 8:18 AM

    Unless you are going by the “health is a skill” notion, the letdown with Watkins is NOT that he “is not good enough”. He IS good enough…he just can’t stay on the field. Perhaps he was always destined to be unhealthy, in which case that should be baked into his assessment…or perhaps it has been bad luck. Perhaps if Buffalo had taken OBJ that WR would have been injured multiple times and Watkins would have dominated elsewhere.

    Buffalo paid for Watkins because it was CERTAIN that he had the skills of a high-end WR. And in the limited time we have had with a healthy Watkins, he HAS been just that. So Buffalo got what it paid for in that area, but sadly the nature of football has prevented that skilled player from returning the quantity of performance expected from such a skilled player.

  28. r00tabaga says: May 4, 2017 8:22 AM

    Hindsight is 20/20 bro. If healthy he would have gotten that 5th yr option. Smart by the new Bills brass to make sure he clears befote paying tons.

    Don’t forget that he was head & shoulders above OBJ & others around draft time that year.

  29. joeytorontosucks says: May 4, 2017 8:28 AM

    This website is just obliterating Sammy Watkins recently. While he hasn’t been the all-world receiver they thought they were getting, it hasn’t been about his talent on the field. He’s had a multitude of injuries, combined with the fact he has no QB. Being a Dolphins fan, I know that he has always been one of the guys that could dominate us in a game. Was the move up too much to pay? Probably for a team that wasn’t one or two players away. Insinuating he’s not very good though; I can’t get behind that…

  30. billswillnevermove says: May 4, 2017 8:29 AM

    When healthy, Watkins is better than punk Beckham. Don’t care what anyone says. So sick of hearing it. You look up Juilo Jones first 3 years in the league and Watkins, they are almost a carbon copy. Jones too, had the same injury, the problem was the Bills put him on the filed too quickly.

  31. atthemurph says: May 4, 2017 8:30 AM

    The problem with the trade, and it is always the same problem with the move up picks, is the chance of injury.

    All players can get hurt. However the pain a team feels when they trade multiple picks for one player, especially when that player isn’t a QB, is that when he gets hurt it’s like have 2 or 3 or 4 starters get hurt too.

    In the Bills case Watkins gets hurt and they lose the value of the rest of the picks they would have had. They used two 1sts on the guy (certain starters), and a 4th a likely contributor or even starter.

    If I were a GM I would never make a big move for a guy like this unless I had a stacked roster already. Most every team needs those picks every year rather than wasting 3 picks on one guy.

  32. patsfaninus says: May 4, 2017 8:30 AM

    Super star wide receivers are the equivalent of shiny hood ornaments. They don’t make a team great, they just dictate a different style of offense that is appealing to TV audiences with an occasional long bomb.

    The reality is a good defense will shut them down in the playoffs. They have negative diva potential, and take up too much cap space.

    Well balanced offenses win super bowls.

  33. zoneread510 says: May 4, 2017 8:30 AM

    Technically I guess they traded two of their first round picks, but didn’t they acquire Cleveland’s and really only traded one first round pick (plus the 4th rounder)? If Watkins has a huge year, this could haunt the Bills even more not picking up his 5th year option.

  34. cafetero1075 says: May 4, 2017 8:32 AM

    Shouldn’t trade up and give up so much for a WR. Only a QB is worth the risk. Fans saying Julio Jones, yes he’s great but how many years did the Falcons stink? It’s not like they are in the NFC championship game every year.

  35. bocadiver1 says: May 4, 2017 8:33 AM

    Not sure a case could have been or can be made that Watkins would have turned out better than Beckham. He may be a nut case but he is electrifying.

  36. Adam McCune says: May 4, 2017 8:36 AM

    Ibrahim Cambell, Cameron Irving, Justin Gilbert

    THATS what the Browns essentially got for Watkins with those picks. (They also traded away a pick that went to the Vikings for Anthony Barr) It’s as much about the dangers of trading up as it is about the dangers of not making the right selections.

  37. bassplucker says: May 4, 2017 8:38 AM

    They move from 9th to 4th right in front of Oakland to take him, I wanted Oakland to draft Sammy, Oakland needed a #1 WR & he was it, love what Big Reg is doing in Oakland but everyone knew he was taking Watkins thats the reason bills traded up right in front of them!!!
    —————-
    It’s OK, Amari Cooper will wind up having a much better NFL career than Sammy Watkins ever will.

  38. wny49er says: May 4, 2017 8:44 AM

    It all comes down to scouting. Whaley panic because he needed to win now and he gave up way too much. If he had scouted properly he would saw that other WR’s were as talented. Major fail by Whaley and Co. Second biggest fail of his tenure. First is picking EJ Manuel with a mid 1st round pick. At least Watkins is productive when on the field.

  39. agbnewfoundlaw says: May 4, 2017 8:45 AM

    I mean isn’t it a little unfair to say he hasn’t been good….or worth it.look at the QBs he’s played with.

  40. pftthoughtpolicemostwanted says: May 4, 2017 8:53 AM

    I like your ‘for whatever reason’ blast you laid on the Bills for not taking Beckham. Why don’t you just be open and tell us what you are really thinking?

  41. winningisabrees says: May 4, 2017 9:07 AM

    Ryan Pace

  42. bigal1952 says: May 4, 2017 9:09 AM

    “They move from 9th to 4th right in front of Oakland to take him, I wanted Oakland to draft Sammy, Oakland needed a #1 WR & he was it, love what Big Reg is doing in Oakland but everyone knew he was taking Watkins thats the reason bills traded up right in front of them!!!”

    Actually in an article published before the draft last week, Reggie was quoted as being on pins and needles when the Bill traded up, because he thought they were moving up for Mack, who played his college ball right there in Buffalo. Reggie had graded Mack as the best player in that draft, and was relieved when the Bills chose Watkins, so he could get his guy.

  43. jim699 says: May 4, 2017 9:10 AM

    Some people still don’t get why this was a bad trade. If you did a redraft, knowing what you know now, would you trade 1 first and a fourth to move up and get Beckham, knowing that you could sit tight and just take Mike Evans?

    That class was loaded with receiver talent if that’s what you are hell-bent on picking. You don’t know how any of them will turn out though. Even if Sammy Watkins turned out to be the best receiver in that draft, it’s still kind of a bad trade considering the other talent available.

  44. lgbarn says: May 4, 2017 9:20 AM

    I don’t care how healthy he is, he won’t be better than Evans. That whole WR class is turning out to be great except for Watkins.

  45. macjacmccoy says: May 4, 2017 9:22 AM

    Jordan Matthews has been better.

  46. donbat67 says: May 4, 2017 9:30 AM

    When teams move up like that it’s because someone baited them and they panicked , Rookie GM move .You Never see successful teams do this .

  47. theandy59 says: May 4, 2017 9:30 AM

    How many times since 2000 have the New England Patriots drafted a WR in the first round? Zero. How many times since 2000 has a receiver taken in the top 10 of the first round LED his team to a SB championship? Zero. Case closed.

  48. kissmysandwich says: May 4, 2017 9:35 AM

    You wanna talk about the risks of trading up how about RG3?

  49. tomny0970 says: May 4, 2017 9:36 AM

    “”All Eyez On Me” in theaters june 16 2017 says:
    May 4, 2017 6:33 AM
    They move from 9th to 4th right in front of Oakland to take him, I wanted Oakland to draft Sammy, Oakland needed a #1 WR & he was it, love what Big Reg is doing in Oakland but everyone knew he was taking Watkins thats the reason bills traded up right in front of them!!!”

    Oakland got Khalil Mack #5.

    It’s a good thing Reggie is running the Raiders and not you.

  50. savethebs says: May 4, 2017 9:37 AM

    Don’t disagree that the trade itself was a bad move. But Sammy WAS the consensus best WR in that draft. And due to injuries hasn’t been as productive as advertised. And OBJ came into the league with injury concerns. He didn’t even play his rookie season until like week 6. Granted, he has put up insane numbers. But he also has a QB who can get him the ball & a OC who knows what the hell he’s doing.

  51. 23rdusernameused says: May 4, 2017 9:52 AM

    “That was a mistake, as it usually is when teams trade up. The draft is just too unpredictable to justify pouring those kinds of resources into any one prospect”

    Julio Jones Says HI!

    not a falcons fan, but he was worth whatever they traded for him!

  52. phinatic29 says: May 4, 2017 9:53 AM

    they swung for the fences ….. in a lot of ways i respect that.
    I mean c’mon Watkins is obviously a very talented player.
    this is all bad luck with injuries and IMO not an indictment on the player or the people that decided to trade up to draft him. When Healthy he is a top 10 WR in the NFL easy.

    Dolphin fan.

  53. JazzAwakens says: May 4, 2017 9:53 AM

    bocadiver1 says:
    May 4, 2017 8:33 AM

    He may be a nut case but he is electrifying.

    —————-
    That is the best description to completely sum up Beckham in 10 words that I have ever read.

  54. truthinesshurts says: May 4, 2017 10:01 AM

    +++++++++++++++++
    Unless the player in question is a can’t miss QB like Luck or Peyton Manning I just can’t justify the risk of trading away all those picks.
    +++++++++++++++++
    Can’t Miss QBs:
    RGIII
    David Carr
    Ryan Leaf
    Joey Harrington

  55. tcostant says: May 4, 2017 10:05 AM

    Trading up was not the issue, it was trading up for a WR when you had no QB. Julio Jones has a QB, so go for. The Bills, not so much…

  56. twinfan24 says: May 4, 2017 10:07 AM

    I do not think one instance proves a point. With a little research, you could find a couple dozen times where teams moved up and the player turned into a stud. Moving up isn’t the issue in general, and wasn’t the issue with Watkins. The true problem is (and was) paying way too much to move up.

  57. brandontroutman says: May 4, 2017 10:12 AM

    I get so tired of seeing crap write-up’s like this. This is not admitting a mistake, at least in terms of the selection of Watkins. It shows they are realistic about his health issues and being financially responsible for the team. Let me be clear that I think trading the kind of picks in order to move up like the Bills did is foolish. I was glad to see them reverse the role this year and trade down, grad an extra #1 for next year, and a mid round this year, it was a good move, maybe Whaley’s apology on his way out the door. Trade-up’s like Watkins put so much pressure on these kids, and then when they get bumped teams are cautious because they have spent so much money on them that they don’t want to damage the goods too early. There is too much pressure on all involved when trades like this happen.

    That being said, this declining the fifth year option is a win-win for both sides. 1) Buffalo now has several scenarios that include a long term deal, franchise tag, trade, or letting him walk. 2) If they don’t franchise him, Watkins can go make himself some cash wherever he wants. If they do franchise him, he’ll still make himself some cash, probably a bit more than on the open market.

    It’s all about the foot. If it holds up and he’s productive, both sides have some leverage and both sides could win out.

  58. steeelfann0155 says: May 4, 2017 10:13 AM

    On the other hand,,Steelers trade up for Santonio Holmes and
    he is unstoppable in Suoer Bowl win. They trade up for Polanski,
    and he is hall ifcfamer with 3 super bowl appearances
    So that is that side. Yea somecwin some lose.
    We know that

  59. steeelfann0155 says: May 4, 2017 10:13 AM

    Polamalu

  60. gah05 says: May 4, 2017 10:24 AM

    Whaley’s legacy.

    I love Watkins when healthy but Bills gave too much, in total agreement of the article. Nowadays a franchise QB is the only position selling the farm for.

    Watkins’ injuries should keep his next contract in check though, could be a bargain for the Bills.

  61. blackcatsluck says: May 4, 2017 10:44 AM

    Hindsight sprinkled with ifs.

    Watkins was the #3 rated player with a 7.3 rating. That’s “Pro Bowl-caliber player” per NFL sight. Bills were not the only ones thinking highly of him.

  62. blackcatsluck says: May 4, 2017 10:45 AM

    or “NFL site” as the case may be

  63. chuckxx says: May 4, 2017 10:53 AM

    Too bad the Chiefs didn’t read this article before they gave away the farm to go from #27 up to #10 for a project. Do you remember Todd Blackledge???

  64. shogunassasin30 says: May 4, 2017 11:06 AM

    I think it’s short sighted to suggest that all these players are better than Sammy Watkins. The issue is injuries. I understand the best ability is availability but Watkins is certainly explosive and has shown some great flashes when playing with very below average quarterbacks. Odell Beckham for example happens to be in a WAY better situation

  65. chaseutley says: May 4, 2017 11:17 AM

    Justin Gilbert. Cameron Erving. Ibraheim Campbell. This is the reality of what the Bills gave up.

    If we’re playing “what might have been,” Mike Ditka also traded away Tom Brady in the Ricky Williams trade because he dealt away his first rounder the following year.

  66. justintuckrule says: May 4, 2017 11:17 AM

    Not a fair comparison. Who is the bills qb? Had Buff drafted OBJ and NYG drafted Watkins, it would be OBJ not getting his option picked up.

    The real leason is don’t trade up unless you have a franchise qb.

  67. justtherealfacts says: May 4, 2017 11:20 AM

    This is stupid, Watkins had a cfl calibre qb throwing to him his entire career and put up good numbers in spite of that when healthy. Put him on the steelers, saint, packers or pats and he is a 4 time all pro.

    Stick Antonio Brown on the Bills and he is a afterthought.

  68. bionicjoe says: May 4, 2017 11:34 AM

    Moving up to get a WR is always a dumb move. There is no bigger waste of money in SPORTS than the WR position.

    If WRs made a team or QB great Arizona would’ve been a QB factory with Larry Fitzgerald.

    Lots of people talking about Julio Jones being worth it.
    In the two years prior to Jones’ arrival the Falcons could score from the 50, but couldn’t convert 4th & short in the playoffs.
    Jones is drafted and the Falcons lose in the playoffs without scoring an offensive point.
    Then the O-line & D-line that would’ve been supplemented with draft picks got old and the Falcons won 3 games and missed the playoffs the next year.

    Basically the Falcons now look like they did with Roddy White 7-8 years ago on offense, but a better defense got them to a Superbowl.

    Too bad Kyle Shanahan is more overrated than his dad.

  69. dvdman123 says: May 4, 2017 11:45 AM

    Even Julio Jones was not worth what the Falcons gave up to get him.
    It took awhile to reap the rewards and even now still looks like
    they gave up too much despite his recent success.

  70. granadafan says: May 4, 2017 11:50 AM

    “psj3809 says:
    May 4, 2017 8:11 AM
    Love the way the media change their view. Watkins (with no decent QB) had 2000 yards in his first two seasons. Last year he was injured a chunk of the year and had a bad year.

    Now everyones anti Watkins ?!”
    ==============================================

    Why do people insist on blaming the media for everything? The media aren’t the ones who traded up to draft him. The media aren’t the ones who decided not to pick up the 5th year option. It’s pretty obvious what the Bills think of him based on their decision not to pick up the option.

  71. dingbutt says: May 4, 2017 11:51 AM

    Stick any of those WR’s on the Bills for 4 years and see how they do.

  72. magikskillz says: May 4, 2017 11:56 AM

    This is pretty unfair to the Bills. It is incredibly easy to look back on the 2014 draft and judge the teams knowing how the picks panned out. Yes players that turned out to be more successful were still available to chose instead of Watkins. But the Bills had a need at wide receiver. Now just because you are a first round pick does not mean you have to be a hall of famer. Odell Beckham Jr is putting up hall of fame numbers already and Jarvis Landry is putting up pro-bowl numbers. Sammy Watkins is not elite but he is a good receiver when healthy. The problem is that he gets injured too often. The fifth year option is only guaranteed for injury and that is why he did not receive the option. In 3 seasons he has only played 37 games. In contrast Odell Beckham Jr has played 43 games and Jarvis Landry has played all 48 games.

    Also Odell has a much better quarterback in Eli Manning and he gets the ball thrown to him much more often. In 2o15, Odell had 60 more targets in only 2 more games! The only other knock on Watkins besides his injury rate is that his catch rate is average (it has been 51%, 62% and 54%). In Contrast Odell has 71%, 61% and 60%. Lastly Landry has 75%, 66%, and 70%.

  73. patsfan1820 says: May 4, 2017 11:57 AM

    He will probably end up with the Patriots next season knowing the Bills luck.

  74. nhpats says: May 4, 2017 12:32 PM

    Is Watkins the bust or is Tyrod Taylor the problem? I’m willing to bet if you put Watkins on the Pats Brady would have Wakins looking like Randy Moss

  75. cjweber5187 says: May 4, 2017 12:36 PM

    Sammy’s a solid player. He plays in a run-first system with a QB that scrambles at the first sign of pressure. I think he’ll thrive if he ends up leaving Buffalo.

  76. webster8723 says: May 4, 2017 1:18 PM

    The Bills offense is poor, what can I say (I’m a Bills fan, relax). Tyrod has a problem getting Sammy the ball (or anyone for that matter) and then the offense relies on McCoy to get the job done. Buffalo’s offense isn’t hard to stop, lets be serious for a moment. Its not Sammy’s fault, but he’s not in an environment to be successful. The Bills aren’t successful. Haven’t been for almost 2 decades. You get one shot in the NFL, and if your shot is in Buffalo you’re going to be fighting a major uphill battle.

  77. palsgraf21 says: May 4, 2017 1:28 PM

    The question is WILL he ever be healthy again. Julio has been able to be productive after a similar injury (though he may never be 100% of what he was pre injury). But Harvin couldn’t come back after one of his wheels went down. Watkins is more like Julio than Harvin in that he is not just a speedster so he may be able to come back. Wish him best of luck.

  78. vicksdawgpound says: May 4, 2017 1:34 PM

    You say this about Watkins….. Well what about Julio Jones? Same thing almost Atlanta gave up 2 first rounders to move up to get him and he has been a game changer. So your story is trash. People gamble and take chances. Sometimes they work sometimes they don’t.

  79. dvdman123 says: May 4, 2017 1:43 PM

    Put Watkins on the Saints roster and would be a 1500 receiver.

  80. jpaq68 says: May 4, 2017 2:35 PM

    Don’t worry about Sammy – the Unbreakabke sequel comes out next year

  81. unionjack1776 says: May 4, 2017 10:19 PM

    Watkins and Manuel are the two biggest reasons why Whaley is no longer employed as a GM for the Bills. He whiffed hard on both of them for different reasons.

  82. ak185 says: May 5, 2017 3:44 AM

    To be fair, the Bills aren’t keeping anybody. They elected not to give Gilmore, Gillislee, Manuel, Watkins, and others new deals. They fired Doug Whaley and (obviously) Rex Ryan and Rob Ryan. Good or bad, this seems more to be about the Bills cleaning house than it is about Sammy Watkins himself.

  83. mattbilleauthor says: May 8, 2017 4:33 PM

    Nobody predicted Beckham, head case and all, would be that much better than Watkins, so they get a pass on that one point. But they needed other positions, too, and Zack Martin was an obvious no-brainer to keep their QB, whoever the hell he is, upright.

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