|by David Hood|
Spiller left Clemson after the 2009 season, and Watkins didn’t show up until the beginning of the 2011 campaign. However, Spiller has seen enough of Watkins’ work to know that his Buffalo Bills made the right choice when they took Watkins with the fourth overall pick in a trade with Cleveland.
“I’m so excited,” Spiller told Buffalobills.com. “I’m jumping over hills right now with the pick that we made, not only because he’s a great player, but because we went to the same university.”
Spiller, who was picked with the ninth overall pick by the Bills in the 2010 NFL Draft, said he knows what Watkins can do.
“Just watching him play in person I know the kind of player he is and the work that he puts in,” Spiller said. “He’s very serious about his craft. He’s a very talented player on the field. So I’m excited about the pick. I know it’s like a dream come true for him and now you’ve got a bunch of Clemson players on one team.”
Spiller said he knew from the beginning that Watkins was going to be special.
“I knew he was going to be one of the greatest ever,” he said. “You could just see that determination, his skill set was just apart from everyone else on the field. You could just see it his freshman year. From then on I knew there was a possibility that Clemson was going to lose him early and he did, but it turned out great.
“He’s just going to bring another explosive player. He’s great when he gets the ball in his hands. He runs crisp routes. He’ll open up things more. Our offense can be real dangerous, but at the same time we’ve got a lot of work that has to be done. At the end of the day we were still 6-10 and missed the playoffs.”
He then said that he hopes Watkins can help the Bills reach the playoffs.
“I’m excited and I’m pretty sure Bills nation is excited about the player that we got,” Spiller said. “We’ll let him enjoy this because he deserves it, but when he starts rookie minicamp next weekend it’s time to get back to work so he can help us get back to the playoffs.”
Watkins said that Spiller was a big help as he navigated the draft process.
“He’s a great guy who helped me through my (pre-draft) process, who updated me and it was just a blessing to have him throughout my process at Clemson,” Watkins said. “Now I’m going to the Buffalo Bills and it’s going to be a great journey.”
Watkins told TigerNet back in January that he grew up a fan of the Bills, and Spiller said it has to a dream come true for the Fort Myers (FL) native.
“He’s the fourth pick in the draft and gets picked by a team that he grew up liking and now has the opportunity to play for them. It’s a dream come true for him,” Spiller said. “I’m ecstatic. I’m pretty sure the other offensive guys are also. So we’re all excited. We just have to get back to work now. I love all the pieces that (GM) Doug (Whaley) and Coach Marrone have put together so we can make the playoffs and we’re going to do everything necessary to do that.”
Watkins said that Whaley told him the Bills would draft him, but Watkins didn’t put much stock in what Whaley said.
“I didn’t really think they were going to come up and get me,” Watkins told the media in a conference call shortly after the pick. “I had my interview with them and Doug Whaley just kept telling me that he was going to get me and I thought it was all fun and games because I was on an interview. Then the next thing you know here we are on May 8th and I’m a Buffalo Bill.”
Watkins then told the media what the Buffalo fans can expect.
“I think I bring a lot to the table,” he said. “You’re going to get a hard player, a guy that loves the game, a guy that understands the game and understands the power of preparation. I think if I just keep doing what I’ve been doing at Clemson that it will translate to the NFL.”
David Hood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org