Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Whaley: I'd hate to see our record without Watkins


It's been six months since Doug Whaley pulled the trigger on the landmark draft-day deal that brought wide receiver Sammy Watkins to Buffalo.

Despite having plenty of time to second guess his move, the second-year GM is sticking to his guns.

Whaley and the Bills acquired Watkins with the fourth overall pick, swapping spots with Cleveland, who in turn received Buffalo's No. 9 pick, as well as the team's first overall pick in next year's draft.

Whaley made the move to jump-start his offense and get some more games in the win column, a plan he argues has already started to peak through.

"I can count at least three games where he was an integral part to us winning, and I would hate to see our record if he was not on our team," he said, via Chris Brown of buffalobills.com. "We knew it was going to be a talented group, but we’re very excited and we felt that this guy would bring something to our team that we didn’t have. We thought he was the best player for our situation."

As the success of Watkins's draft class grows, however, so will the skepticism behind Whaley's decision.

The next wide receiver picked after Watkins was Mike Evans at No. 8, who currently leads all rookie wideouts in receiving yards. After him was Odell Beckham, Jr. at No. 12, who's hauled in nearly 500 yards and three touchdowns despite missing the first four games of the season.

Then there are guys like Kelvin Benjamin, who though picked last among first-round receivers leads the group with eight touchdowns and is right behind Evans in yards.

It remains to be seen whether Watkins, who currently has 649 yards receiving and five touchdowns, will emerge as the long haul, bar-none pick, but it's certainly becoming clearer by the week that last year's class was deeper than even Whaley may have thought.

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