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Road to the draft: Sammy Watkins


Position: Wide receiver.
School: Clemson.
Measurements: 6-foot-1, 211 pounds.
40 time: 4.43 seconds. Bench press: 16 reps of 225 pounds. Vertical jump: 34 inches.
Career stats: 240 receptions, 3,391 yards, 27 receiving touchdowns.
Draft projection: First round.

Lowdown: The most explosive player in the draft, Watkins starred at Clemson from the moment he stepped on campus. As a true freshman in 2010, he was a first-team All-American, just the fourth time that’s happened (Herschel Walker in 1980, Marshall Faulk in ’91, Adrian Peterson ’04). … Watkins leaves as Clemson all-time leader in catches and receiving yards despite playing just three seasons. Finished his college career with a game for the ages in a 40-35 victory over Ohio State in the Orange Bowl, going for 16 catches, 227 yards and two touchdowns. … Is a threat to take the ball the distance at any time by playing even faster than his timed 40 speed. … Is a good “hands catcher” and has a big catch radius, helping out his quarterback. … If there is a concern, it’s that he doesn’t have a lot of experience running different routes. For example, he was rarely asked to go over the middle for the Tigers. … Was arrested for marijuana possession in 2012, for which he served a two-game suspension. After that, his mother moved to Clemson, and Watkins has stayed out of trouble.

He said it: “I think I can do just about anything on the field from wide receiver to running back to the slot. I can make plays all over the field. What I love doing is dominating defenses. I think that’s what I bring to the game and I think that’s going to turn over to the NFL. When I come into the NFL, I think I can be that dominant receiver.”

The Buffalo News is profiling 50 prospects leading up to the NFL Draft, which begins on May 8.

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About the reporters

Vic Carucci returned to The Buffalo News as a Bills beat reporter in September. Carucci covered the Bills for 17 years before joining as a columnist in 1999. Prior to rejoining The News, he spent three years as a senior editor for the Cleveland Browns.

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida.