Sammy Watkins is emerging as a priority for the Detroit Lions in this years upcoming NFL draft. Where the Lions currently stand with the 10th overall pick, Watkins will likely be gone so having the opportunity to select him will not be possible without trading up into the draft order.
If the Lions were able to select he would become the third wide receiver in the Lions offense behind megastar Calvin Johnson and the newly acquired Golden Tate. Along with running backs Reggie Bush and Joique Bell who are both excellent receivers out of the backfield, the arsenal of talent available to quarterback Matthew Stafford would certainly strike fear into opposing defensive coordinators.
It might seem a luxury on team with the talent on offense that the Lions already possess and my initial thoughts were that general manager needed to place an emphasis on the defensive backfield in this draft. Earlier this week though the Lions were awarded to compensatory fourth round selections which not only makes up for the fifth round pick they spent on Mike Williams last year, but gives them an extra pick to trade with. Those picks give the Lions more opportunity to provide depth on the team and also eases the pain of giving up an additional pick to move up a few spots to select Watkins.
Mayhew has gone to Watkins pro day and went as far as to have dinner with Watkins family while there. Watkins on his end has tweeted photos of himself and Calvin Johnson together and had a mock up of a Lions jersey with his name on it. The interest is mutual. Thinking back to the heydays of the St Louis Rams “greatest show on turf” changed my opinion on this more than any other thing did. That first season the Rams added Torri Holt to a receiving core that already had Isaac Bruce and Az-Hazir Hakim along with star running back Marshall Faulk. Not only did quarterback Kurt Warner set the NFL world on fire with those weapons, it also likely extended the career and effectiveness of Isaac Bruce allowing him to take a few plays off, practice less and not be the constant focus of the offense as he aged. Having Watkins, Tate, Bush and Bell could do the same for Johnson as he reaches 29 years old this year.
The Lions have stated multiple times that they are all in and trying to win right now. Its playoffs or bust for Mayhew and coach Jim Caldwell and president Tom Lewand has even stated the goal of reaching the super bowl this year. If the Lions select a cornerback with their top pick, it will look smart, but, that position generally takes a few years to develop, so it appears the Lions plan on trusting what they already have in the young core of Darius Slay, Bill Bentley and Chris Greenwood. It may come back to kill them, but, if they are lucky enough to draft Watkins, they may score so many points that it doesn’t matter.