The Buffalo Bills made their boldest, win-now draft-day move in a decade Thursday by trading up five spots to pick Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins with the fourth overall pick in the NFL Draft. The Bills gave the Cleveland Browns first- and fourth-round picks in 2015 to move up from ninth to fourth this year. Watkins, a 6-foot-1, 211-pounder, was widely acknowledged as the top receiver in the draft. He has elite speed and quickness and boasts rare leaping ability to catch balls in the air, both down the sideline and over the middle. “We went into this draft saying we were going to be bold, and we made a bold move,” said Russ Brandon, Bills president and chief executive officer. “Very high cost, but we thought it was a calculated risk and a risk we were willing to take,” Bills General Manager Doug Whaley said. “The high cost of not making the playoffs is something we weighed, and we thought this guy’s going to get us to the playoffs.” Whaley stopped short of guaranteeing the playoffs this year but made it clear the team’s 14-year playoff drought weighs heavily on the team’s decision-makers. “In football terms, we’re willing to give up not making the playoffs again for Sammy,” Whaley said. “That’s what we looked at. We want to make the playoffs. Being 14 years and not making the playoffs. That’s the tradeoff we expect.” The pick continues the team’s effort to bolster the supporting cast of second-year quarterback EJ Manuel. The Bills’ pass offense ranked 28th in the NFL last season. Buffalo’s 16 touchdown passes tied for second fewest in the league. Watkins will join second-year man Robert Woods as the Bills’ starting outside receivers. Veteran Stevie Johnson spent most of last season working out of the slot. However, the addition of Watkins makes it a strong probability the Bills will shop Johnson on the trade market.
Bills nab coveted receiver Watkins with bold move
Buffalo Bills News | May 9