Ready for the bright lights

CLEMSON - Sammy Watkins wants to be part of the pomp and circumstance, so he'll pack up the family and head to New York in May for the NFL Draft.

Who could blame him?

After lighting up college football secondaries and thrilling Clemson fans for the last three seasons, he's earned it.

"I think it'll be an honor to. It's a once in a lifetime [opportunity]. For me, to take my parents up there and let them get that experience, it's not all about me, so I'll let my parents get to experience that," Watkins said, after his Pro Day in Clemson.

Besides, it's not like he's going to spend much time sitting around in the green room, waiting to hear his name called.

Watkins could go as high as No. 2 overall to St. Louis -- Rams' General Manager Les Snead was in Clemson last week for Pro Day. Sitting at the No. 5 pick, Oakland is need of offensive pieces, but the Raiders might opt for Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater or Blake Bortles if any of the three are available. And that's assuming they haven't traded up for a quarterback.

Rounding out the top 10, Tampa Bay [7], Buffalo [9] and Detroit [10] are other potential landing spots.

"There's a lot of wishing and hoping throughout this process," Watkins said. "For me, I'm willing to go to any team. I'm trying to be the dominant player. For me, I just control what I control."

That's the name of the game throughout this once in a lifetime process.

"For me, it's really not focusing on the draft," Watkins said. "I can't control that. I've done everything to try to maximize my opportunity on the field and off the field. I know I did everything at the combine, I did everything here.

"So, now, it's the time to sit back and relax, do the little things that I need to work on."

After turning in a time of 4.43 at the combine, Watkins decided he didn't need to run the 40-yard dash at Pro Day.

"I was going to run again. But, for me, I don't have anything to prove," he said. "I think my tape proved a lot. I think the NFL scouts understand that."

Those guys know Watkins can run and catch passes. That's all he did at Pro Day.

"I just came out here to do what I've been doing, come out here, perfecting my craft and work on the things I need to work on. I think I proved my point," Watkins said. "I can run my routes, be quick and fast, agile [and] use my hands on every catch."

And he had a good time doing it.

"This right here is all fun. I feel like, if you take it too seriously, you can't get your best out of it," Watkins said. "So, for me, it's all about having fun, playing with the guys, really doing what I've been doing all my life, and that's running routes, playing football and knowing the game.

"So, for me, I'm not [too] serious. I love the game. I have a passion for the game. But, for me, it's to really have fun."

Like C.J. Spiller, another former Clemson great from Florida, Watkins plans to be a regular around Tigertown during his professional career.

"For me, I'm always going to rep Clemson nation and the paw," Watkins said. "I'll definitely have a lot of memories here. I'll be back here. I'll probably have a house here, you never know. I'll be back in town." Top Stories