Thursday, March 6, 2014
All eyes on Watkins at Clemson Pro Day
By Brett Perrotta, ESPN Stats & Info
Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY SportsPlenty of scouts will put pencil to paper today as they check out Clemson’s Pro Day.
Sammy Watkins and Tajh Boyd keyed the Clemson Tigers' success this past season.
Teams looking for help at wide receiver need look no further than the Tigers’ Sammy Watkins – who was a big-time play-maker during his collegiate career. Of his 27 career receiving touchdowns, 21 came on plays of at least 25 yards.
The average pass thrown to Watkins this past season traveled just 4.7 yards downfield. As his career has gone forward, Watkins has been targeted closer and closer to the line of scrimmage.
In 2013, Clemson did whatever they could to get him the ball, targeting him behind the line of scrimmage 65 times last season, 14 more than any other AQ player.
At the NFL Combine, Watkins measured 6’1” and ran a 4.43 second 40-yard dash. That combined with his production in college was enough for Scouts, Inc. to rank him as the fourth-highest player on the board. Todd McShay and Mel Kiper are in agreement that he is the best wide receiver available – with both projecting him to go at No. 5 to the Oakland Raiders.
Watkins’ quarterback Tajh Boyd was a consistent performer in college as well and finished his career as the ACC leader in 300-yard games, touchdown passes and touchdowns responsible for.
Boyd also showed improvement each season as his yards per attempt and completion percentage climbed in each successive year.
The deep ball was one of Boyd’s specialties as he completed 54.7 percent of passes of at least 20 yards. That ranked highest among all BCS-AQ quarterbacks – nearly five percentage points better than the next two closest: Blake Bortles of UCF and Marcus Mariota of Oregon.
Although he was productive in college, Boyd’s height is one reason why he is just the 11th-ranked quarterback according to Scouts Inc. 54 players threw at least 20 passes in the NFL last season, and just seven of them were 6'1" or shorter. Of course one of those was Russell Wilson – who recently won the Super Bowl.