INDIANAPOLIS — Sammy Watkins wanted to separate himself from the other receivers in the 2014 NFL draft class on Sunday.
The group of receivers, who ran the 40-yard dash and went through onfield drills at Lucas Oil Stadium at the NFL combine, is considered one of the most talented groups ever for a draft class. Watkins was hoping to make NFL teams view him as "uncommon."
"I can do just about anything on the field from wide receiver to running back to slot I can make plays all over the field," he said Saturday. "What I love doing is dominating defenses. I think that's what I bring to the game and I think that's going to turn over to the NFL. When I come into the NFL I think I can be that dominant receiver."Watkins proved his combination of strength and speed by posting some of the best results among receivers in both the bench press and 40-yard dash. His 4.43 time in the 40 was seventh-best and his 16 reps of 225 pounds were tied with Clemson teammate Martavis Bryant for ninth.
The 6-foot-4 Bryant, who said Friday he would run in the 4.3 range, clocked a 4.42 40 time – tied for fifth fastest among the receivers. South Carolina receiver Bruce Ellington put up a 40-yard dash time of 4.45 seconds.
"Hopefully I go top-10, who knows, that's the goal," Watkins said. "That's the ultimate goal I've been dreaming for all my life. Hopefully, I go top-5, top-10."
Watkins could wind up as the No. 2 overall pick to the St. Louis Rams.
"He's probably the most complete receiver here," Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd said of Watkins. "He's just a very wise guy. He's mature beyond his years. A lot of people have a misconception about him, but he's a very outgoing guy and a good-natured person. I enjoyed my time with him."
Watkins wanted to show teams Sunday that he does have good straight-line speed, but is also a good route runner.
"I think I can run by just about anybody," Watkins said. "That's my objective, that's my motive. Fly route, home run, post, that's the kinda guy I am. I feel like I can score on just about any play on any route when I get the ball and that's the mentality you have to have as a receiver.""I can run any route from curl to comeback to digs to hitches. I've become a pretty good route runner, but there are areas I can still improve in with getting out of my routes. What I'm really focused on is my curl routes and my comebacks. I've got to get my transition and know when to run full speed or not and synch my hips and get out of my routes."
His older brother, Jaylen Watkins, said Sammy's work ethic is what separates Sammy from other receivers.
"He has great confidence and knew coming that he would run great and wants to be the best wide receiver in this class," said Jaylen, a Florida cornerback who is also at the Combine. "That's just how he is. He has a different mindset than most people."
Watkins has placed a priority on becoming a better route runner, saying that is how he can become a dominant player in the NFL. He also loves to play with a physical style, which allows him to play bigger than his 6-foot-1 height, but he doesn't always have to be physical.
"You have to be physical with him because he is so fast," South Carolina cornerback Victor Hampton said Saturday. "He's capable of that big play."Watkins said he learned a lot from former Clemson wideout DeAndre Hopkins, who now plays for the Houston Texans.
"He taught me the ropes and that's who I try to imitate my game like, catching the ball, being physical, being that dominant receiver," Watkins said. "Over the years he helped me be who I am today and we still get in touch and work on things."
"I try to be physical out there on the field as far as getting off press, blocking down the field. To be that dominant receiver I need to have that total package. Everyone knows all wide receivers can catch balls and score, but for me I'm focusing on the little things– blocking, getting off the press and being a physical, dominant receiver."