Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Sports

May 8, 2014

Bold draft move by the Bills

Buffalo trades with Cleveland for fourth overall pick WR Sammy Watkins

NEW YORK CITY —

Doug Whaley made a bold move in opening his first NFL draft as the Buffalo Bills general manager.
Whaley struck a deal with the Cleveland Browns to move up five spots and select Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins with the fourth pick. Whaley called it "a calculated move to help us win now," adding a dynamic threat to what has been a sputtering offense.
In the deal with the Browns, Buffalo gave Cleveland its No. 9 pick this year, plus a first- and a fourth-round pick in next year's draft.
Watkins put up eye-popping numbers during his three-year college career.
He finished with 240 catches for 3,391 yards and 27 touchdowns in 29 starts over three seasons and set 23 school records. He's listed at 6-feet and 211 pounds.
One NFL scouting report described Watkins as "one of the more elite prospects that the school has ever developed."
"Dynamic playmaker, and that's what this game is all about," Whaley said of Watkins. "He's automatically going to make our quarterback better."
Whaley is overseeing his first draft since taking over after Buddy Nix stepped down a year ago. Whaley had spent the previous three seasons being groomed for the job as the team's assistant GM.
The Bills' most pressing need this offseason has been improving an offense that was inconsistent under rookie quarterback EJ Manuel last season. Buffalo finished the year 19th in total yards gained, and 29th in yards passing.
Manuel had his development stunted by three separate knee injuries that led to him missing six regular season and two preseason games. He finished with a 4-6 record with 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
"Sammy Watkins was a player that was very, very high on our board, and someone we felt could contribute immediately," Bills President Russ Brandon said.

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