The Los Angeles Rams made a big move to acquire Sammy Watkins from the Buffalo Bills. Watkins has battled injuries but has shown the potential to be a star at wide receiver. And so while there is some question on Watkins’ health, he’s a pretty good gamble. He isn’t the first and won’t be the last young, productive receiver to try to shake “injury-prone” labels.
Here is a list of first round picks who averaged at least 50 yards per game in games they played in their first three years, but missed at least 8 games before the end of year 3 due to injuries:
Everyone is an injury risk in the NFL. This group of injury-prone guys averaged 15 games played in year 4. And look at the numbers they put up–on average almost 1,100 receiving yards and 8 TDs.
So my takeaway is that this is now a no-excuses year for Jared Goff. Jared Goff, in many circles, has already been written off as a bust. However, as I noted in looking in past comparables, his early draft status and those horrific stats don’t necessarily mean we can write him off.
But most of the quarterbacks who eventually panned out started to show something in their second year starting. If Goff is going to live up to his first overall status, he needed to begin showing it this year anyway.
But now, the team has given him a true playmaking #1 wide receiver. All of the moves have been designed at getting him into a better place. Those include:
- Trading for Watkins;
- Hiring a young offensive mind as head coach replacing the previous Jeff Fisher regime;
- Signing Robert Woods, a solid 2nd/3rd wide receiver type;
- Drafting Cooper Kupp in the 3rd round and tight end Gerald Everett in the 2nd round;
- Signing veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth from Cincinnati to solidify and give a hard-nosed veteran presence on the line.
The team is replacing Kenny Britt, who was the first Rams receiver to cross the 1,000 yard mark (by two yards), since Torry Holt in 2007. But Watkins is a major upgrade there.
Jared Goff doesn’t have to be a star this year, but he does have to look like a competent starter. With all the changes plus a talented running back in Todd Gurley and the most expensive and overpaid slot receiver Tavon Austin (now not overmatched as the top option), there is no excuse and 2017 now looks like a pivotal year in Goff’s career.