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Is Sammy Watkins Good? | #GoPackGo

Following the Green Bay Packers' mass exodus of wide receivers, they turned to the draft and free agency for help. Replacing Davante Adams is impossible, but with the signing of Sammy Watkins, the Packers hope they have a deep threat to fill in for Marquez Valdes-Scantling.

Can Sammy Watkins Help the Packers?

Coming out of Clemson in 2014, Sammy Watkins was considered a can't-miss prospect. His game-breaking speed and ability to stretch the field were second to none. Not only did the Tigers use Watkins as a deep threat, but they'd also utilize him out of the backfield and on jet sweeps - his world-class speed, agility, and acceleration would leave defenders looking helpless.

That's not the player the Green Bay Packers are getting.

Last season for the Baltimore Ravens, Watkins posted 27 receptions for 394 yards and one touchdown. He's not the player who put up over 1,400 yards on 101 receptions and saw the endzone 14 times in 2013 for Clemson. He's never been that guy in the NFL.

Since posting a 4.4 40-yard dash at the combine, injuries have sapped Watkins of his speed. After racking up 96 yards against the Las Vegas Raiders in week one of the 2021 season, he never came close to that mark again. His longest play of the season was a 49-yard reception against the Raiders, and even on that play, he had trouble gaining separation against the Vegas linebacker.

Not only has he lost his ability as a speedster, but his hands aren't anything to write home about either. Watkins ranked 197th out of 212 pass catchers according to Pro Football Reference's Catch%. While that places him ahead of Valdes-Scantling, who he's slated to replace in Green Bay, MVS outgained Sammy Watkins by nearly six yards per attempt according to PFF's Average Depth of Target (ADoT).

Watkins 14.6 Yards Per Reception is an impressive number, but the other starting-caliber receivers in his neighborhood were much more productive on a per-game basis. Despite a relatively weak receiver room in Baltimore, Watkins had trouble beating out Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay, and Hollywood Brown on the Raven's depth chart after week four.

Where Does Sammy Watkins Fit on the Packers?

Despite a raw receiver core in Green Bay and Aaron Rodger's preference of production to potential, I'm not sold on Watkin's ability to be a starting-caliber receiver in the NFL. He's missed ten games over the past two seasons and hasn't topped 700 yards since 2015. The Packers need bodies at the wide receiver position, but I fully expect Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs to absorb all of Watkin's snaps by the mid-point of the season.

Rodgers' familiarity with Randall Cobb and Allen Lazard will also cut into Watkins' playing time. The surly Green Bay quarterback isn't known for his patience amongst receivers, and Sammy Watkins has never done anything up to this point in his career to show that he must be on the field. Especially with his loss of speed.

Watkins doesn't have game-changing speed, his hands leave a lot to be desired, and he's not an elite route runner. There's no reason to believe Watkins' time in Green Bay will be any less underwhelming than the rest of his career. Don't expect Sammy Watkins to be an adequate Marquez Valdes-Scantling replacement, and if you were hoping he could help fill the void left by Davante Adams, keep dreaming.