Thursday, May 8, 2014
Bills pick Sammy Watkins in 1st
By Mike Rodak
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The pick: Sammy Watkins, wide receiver, Clemson.
My take: Wow. The Bills traded their No. 9 overall pick, their 2015 first-round pick and 2015 fourth-round pick for this selection. That's too high of a cost for Watkins in this opinion. Yes, Watkins gives EJ Manuel his best shot at succeeding in his second season, but the Bills have now depleted their draft board in what could be a critical third year of this coaching staff. Perhaps it's an indication that Doug Marrone and general manager Doug Whaley believe their jobs are on the line this season. There will be a new owner in Buffalo, and if their 14-year postseason drought isn't snapped, the new owner could go in a different direction. Watkins is one of the draft's best talents, but I just don't think you give up your first-round pick next year for him.
Stevie Johnson's future: Stevie Johnson's future in Buffalo immediately becomes murky with this move. Johnson, the team's top receiver for the past several seasons, now must make room for Watkins on the depth chart. The Bills invested a second-round pick last year in Robert Woods and sent away a sixth-round pick last month for Mike Williams. That's a crowded picture, even before you consider Marquise Goodwin or T.J. Graham. Johnson has an $8.5 million cap number this season, but the Bills' cap savings this season would be negligible by releasing Johnson. This is a situation that bears watching. Shortly after Watkins was selected, Whaley told reporters that Johnson "is on our team. He's under contract. He's another weapon in our arsenal."
What's next: The Bills were able to preserve their second-round pick (No. 41 overall) with this trade. It's highly unlikely that they'll trade back into the first round, so they're likely done for Thursday night. See you Friday. They'll likely be searching for a tight end and offensive tackle with their second- and third-round picks.