The Oakland Raiders hold the fifth selection in the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft and need to land an impact player. Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins fits the bill as an explosive playmaker who looks very NFL ready. His performance in the Orange Bowl should secure his place as the consensus best wideout and entice the Raiders to take a long look at him at the fifth pick.
Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie stands by his best player available draft strategy. That is the reason taking Watkins is a possibility. The Raiders have pressing needs at quarterback and along the offensive and defensive lines. That is where most feel the Raiders need to address. Wide receiver is one of the positions the Raiders are most talented. They will return Rod Streater, Andre Holmes, and Denarius Moore. All three showed they could play in 2013, but adding Watkins to that mix could be a huge boost.
Despite the talented receiving corps and the needs at other positions, Watkins would not be a reach at number five. That is where he is projected by most evaluators. He torched Ohio State in the Orange Bowl with 16 catches for 227 yards and two touchdowns. He has top end speed, explosiveness and the size at 6'1", 205 pounds. He showed toughness by staying in the game despite visible injury issues. He caught 101 balls for 1,464 and 12 touchdowns this season as a junior. He was a First Team All-American as a freshman.
Don't forget the Raiders have a serious amount of salary cap space to address some of their other need areas. They could get help on the offensive and defensive line via free agency which could put them in a position to take Watkins. With many of the teams in front of them in the NFL Draft looking at quarterbacks, the Raiders most likely will not get a chance at the best prospects. Therefore, they may be forced to go another route and Watkins would be a terrific contingency plan.
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