Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Report: Lions bring in WR Sammy Watkins
By Michael Rothstein
The flirtation continues.
There is no chance Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins, the top receiver in the 2014 draft, will be waiting for the Detroit Lions when they are scheduled to pick at No. 10 during the first round in May. Someone above the Lions would surely select the gifted prospect, one who caught 101 passes last season and had 12 touchdowns.
Except there's this: The Lions continue to show all signs of pursuing him. On Tuesday, the Detroit Free Press reported that the Lions brought Watkins in for a pre-draft visit. This on top of heading to his Pro Day at Clemson and having dinner with Watkins before they attended the Pro Day. So clearly, the interest and research is there.
It is also reciprocal. Watkins lit up at the NFL combine when asked about the possibility of getting to play with Calvin Johnson -- the player he'd be drafted to complement and likely, eventually replace as the Lions' No. 1 receiver.
"I think that'd be a blessing, having Calvin Johnson on the other side," Watkins told ESPN.com at the NFL combine. "He's still young. It'd definitely be a blessing going to Detroit."
Having that type of situation -- where Watkins would not come in as the absolute No. 1 receiver for a team -- is something he would actually relish. It would allow him to become familiar with playing in the NFL and making the adjustment to the pros without having the pressure of having to carry a team's passing game.
"That's the best situation you can go into," Watkins said. "Then you're looking at a great player every week and he's pushing you. He's teaching you the ropes, breaking down film, how to study other guys, transitioning into the NFL."
Now the question for the Lions is what would it be worth to them to move up in the draft -- likely costing them draft picks or players or a combination of both -- to select Watkins. Doing so would almost definitively give Detroit one of the top receiving trios in the NFL along with Johnson and Golden Tate. It would also give the Lions one of the most talented offenses in the NFL with quarterback Matthew Stafford and running backs Reggie Bush and Joique Bell.
Scoring points should not be an issue at that point -- but the other question the Lions need to ask themselves is if moving up and drafting Watkins over a defensive player is something worth pursuing considering the holes the team needs to fill on the defensive side.
All of this will be answered in a month, when Detroit can't just pursue Watkins anymore -- it has to make a move to pick him or move on to another potential prospect.