Sammy Watkins was supposed to wait his turn at Clemson.
He was all-this-and-that in Fort Myers, Fla. but the Tigers always had receiver talent. Maybe by his sophomore year ….
“We had a guy named (Marquan) Jones who was going to start,” said Tajh Boyd, the quarterback. “We’d all heard about how good Sammy was but nobody had seen it yet.
“Our first 7-on-7, I went back and threw it as far as I could, and Sammy got it and scored a touchdown. We all got excited and then we looked at Jones and said, ‘Sorry about that, bro.’ Because from then on, Sammy was playing.”
Sammy kept playing. He was a first-team All-American as a freshman. Only three other guys had done that: Herschel Walker, Marshall Faulk and Adrian Peterson.
As a junior he caught 102 passes and scalded Ohio State with 16 catches and 227 yards, an Orange Bowl record.
Clemson was already on the map. Watkins and Boyd turned it into a globe and made it spin. Boyd, in fact, was the scout team quarterback last December, imitating Jalen Hurts, when Clemson prepared for and beat Alabama for the College Football Playoff championship.
Watkins was the fourth overall draft pick in 2014. Buffalo traded two first-round picks and a fourth to get him.
He was a Sure Thing in a league that doesn’t believe in them, that subjects its receiving geniuses to the whims of injury and quarterbacking. Watkins had too many of the former, not enough of the latter. He wasn’t playing anymore, at least not enough, and on Friday he was traded to the Rams. Even in a league that disposes of its players like blue razor blades, this was news that made you blink.
“This is the best thing that ever happened to (Rams quarterback) Jared Goff,” Boyd said. “You got Todd Gurley in the backfield. You got Robert Woods and Pharoh Cooper out wide, plus those tight ends. You’ve improved your offensive line. Now you got Sammy. You got to get him on your fantasy team right now. They’ve taken their offense and turned it into a…