BUFFALO, NY (WIVB)–Sammy Watkins has yet to play a down in the NFL, but he already has the attention of Buffalo Bills fans. From Saturday to Monday, Watkins, the Bills 2014 first-round draft pick participated in rookie minicamp. Throughout this past year Watkins was considered the most dynamic receiver in this year’s draft class. Even so, in his first little taste of NFL football, Bills head coach Doug Marrone admits he exceeded expectations.
“I would say that I thought after having watched him now for a couple days, my assessment of him is that he probably has better hand eye coordination than I thought coming into it. I’m excited to see him,” Doug Marrone explained. “Again, I think for me the big thing, and I’ve always been this way and said this before when you guys have been around, I really look forward to when the pads come on and we start playing football and really evaluating people then.”
Watkins physical ability only tells half the story, in terms of what he put on display at rookie minicamp. He also demonstrated a level of desire and commitment, showing up to practice early to work on running routes.
“Someone told me today that he was in here at like 6:45am running routes on air. Someone told me that and those are things that are encouraging. I think those are the things you want to hear,” Marrone said.
Watkins added, “I think I need to work on my routes more than anything. I have the speed and size and the ability, now it’s just down to the details and the little things. Initially the cornerbacks are great, they know the details of your route and you have to be crisp and right on everything you do and have to make everything look the same. I woke up this morning and that’s what I was trying to do.”
The Bills traded away their 2015 first-round and fourth-round picks to draft Watkins this year. Clearly, with so much invested in Watkins, many eyes are zeroed in on him from day one. Despite the perceived added pressure, Watkins appears focused on one task at a time.
“I know this game is totally different from college. It’s still the same sport, but now guys are ten times smarter,” Watkins explained. “Now this is a job so you’re going to do anything in your power to get better at your steps or your speed. Just getting the right rest and eating right, so now it’s the time to work on the little things like break points and your eyes and working on the fluidity of your routes.”