St. Louis Rams among teams closely tracking Sammy Watkins as draft approaches

The Clemson Sports Blog

Orange Bowl - Sammy Watkins celebrates after catching a 34-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter

Photo by Mark Crammer

Orange Bowl - Sammy Watkins celebrates after catching a 34-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter

The wind may change a dozen times between now and draft day in May, but for now there appears to be a feeling among NFL analysts that the St. Louis Rams will make a strong move for Sammy Watkins with the first of their two first-round picks.

The idea of pairing Watkins with former West Virginia star Tavon Austin in appealing both to analysts and Rams fans, who can see the former Clemson star help kick the club's offense into gear.

How it might go down is another question.

The Rams could stand pat and be almost certain to grab Watkins with the No. 2 pick, since the Houston Texans are not expected to go for another receiver after drafting Clemson's DeAndre Hopkins in the first round last year.

Or they could gamble by maneuvering themselves down four spots, to No. 6, via a trade with the Atlanta Falcons. In exchange for putting the Falcons in position to nab South Carolina Jadeveon Clowney, the Rams might pick up an extra first-round pick for 2015, plus still have a shot at Watkins at No. 6.

Or at least that's the way the discussion is trending on various NFL draft-watch websites these days.

The Jaguars and Browns are considered less likely to grab Watkins because of their specific needs, and that would leave the Oakland Raiders as the team most likely to spoil the Rams' maneuvering. The Raiders need both a quarterback and a wide receiver, and with likely at least one of the big four quarterbacks - Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel and Derek Carr - likely to still be available, it might be too much for the Raiders to pass up.

Tampa Bay, which sits at No. 7, would also likely draft Watkins were he available, as would the Detroit Lions at No. 10. The Bucs are Mel Kiper Jr.'s pick for Watkins in his latest mock draft, while there is speculation in the Detroit press that the Lions might be willing to trade up in order to draft Watkins.

The oddity of it all, in comparison to college recruiting, is that Watkins has no say in the matter.

With that in mind, he says he'll be happy anywhere he lands.

Phil Steele ranks Watkins, Thomas, Boyd in top 100: Phil Steele's pre-draft top-100 pegs Watkins at No. 4, Tiger offensive tackle Brandon Thomas at No. 83, and quarterback Tajh Boyd at No. 87 on his top-100.

Watkins is listed as the No. 1 wide receiver, Thomas as the No. 10 offensive tackle, and Boyd as the No. 8 quarterback.

Two other ACC players are rated as the nation's best at their positions - North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron and Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald.

Florida State is well-represented on the top 100, with Devonta Freeman the No. 8 running back, Bryan Sortk the No. 4 center, Kelvin Benjamin the No. 4 wide receiver, Timmy Jernigan the No. 5 defensive tackle, Telvin Smith the No. 10 outside linebacker, Christian Jones the No. 6 inside linebacker, Lamarcus Joyner the No. 6 cornerback, and Terrance Brooks the No. 8 safety.

Other ACC players ranked among the top dozen at their positions include Boston College's Andre Williams, the No. 10 running back; UNC's Russell Bodine, the No. 5 center; Miami's Brandon Linder, the No. 11 guard; Miami's Seantrel Henderson, the No. 12 offensive tackle; UNC's Kareem Martin, the No. 8 defensive end; Georgia Tech's Jeremiah Attaochu, the No. 6 outside linebacker; and Virginia Tech's Kyle Fuller, the No. 7 cornerback.

Martavis Bryant gets a new agent: Clemson wide receiver Martavis Bryant has switched agents in advance of the NFL draft, according to sportsagentblog.com. Formerly represented by BTI Sports Advisors, Bryant has switched to Elevate Football, where he'll be represented by Tom Santanello.

After strong performances at the NFL Scouting Combine and Clemson's Pro Day, Bryant is being prospected as a possible third-round pick.

Follow Kerry Capps on Twitter @oandwkc

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Comments » 1

Bigboots writes:

I hope Sammy gets a better team than the Rams.
He deserves better. What a lousy organization.

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