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Sunday, January 5, 2014
NFL draft watch: WR Sammy Watkins

By Scott Brown

PITTSBURGH -- It’s hard to imagine a player as dynamic as Sammy Watkins slipping to the 15th pick of the 2014 draft assuming the Clemson wide receiver is in it.

Watkins put the exclamation point on an outstanding junior season by absolutely dominating Ohio State in the Orange Bowl, and he could be the first wide receiver taken in the draft.

Do the Steelers have a chance of selecting Watkins? Probably not unless they are willing to trade up, something they do not have the chips (i.e. extra picks) to do. But they are at least in position should Watkins start to drop in part because a handful of teams picking ahead of the Steelers need a quarterback and could reach for one.

There is plenty of time for the shine to fade from Watkins’ 16-catch, 227-yard performance against Ohio State. He will have to go navigate the gauntlet that is the pre-draft process. And remember a subpar 40-yard dash time dropped Jarvis Jones in the draft last year and allowed the Steelers to take him 17th overall.

If something similar happens with Watkins for whatever reason, it is a no-brainer that the Steelers take him at No. 15 even with the number of needs they have on defense. He is a bigger receiver -- Watkins is listed at 6-1, 205 pounds -- and has tremendous ball skills. Watkins would give the Steelers a deep threat to pair opposite Pro Bowler Antonio Brown and add another dimension to an offense that should be very good in 2014.

It is unlikely that Watkins lasts past the first 10 picks of the draft, but strange things can happen when teams place too much emphasis on the pre-draft process rather than what a player has put on tape.

And the Steelers can dream.

Especially quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.