OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens are hopeful wide receiver Sammy Watkins can boost their struggling passing attack.
When healthy, Watkins is a dominant playmaker that can change the complexion of the game.
However, he has dealt with various injuries over his career. He missed 10 of 48 games over three seasons with the Chiefs. Watkins has only played one 16 games season once during his career, his rookie year for the Buffalo Bills.
Joshua Brisco, editor-in-chief and publisher of Arrowhead Report on SI.com, offered some insight into Watkins' time in Kansas City.
"The Chiefs offense was at its best with Watkins on the field and he has two legitimate all-time highlights from the Super Bowl run, but yeah, the injury issues were just so overwhelming at times," Brisco said. "I don't believe the Chiefs made any sort of push to bring him back this year despite all of those positives because they want to get younger and more reliable at wide receiver, even though they haven't done that yet."
Watkins had some big games for Kansas City. In a 31-20 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV, Watkins was a difference-maker with five receptions for 98 yards. Watkins was hampered by a calf injury last year and had just one reception for 13 yards in a 31-9 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV.
In three seasons with Kansas City, Watkins appeared in 10 games (2018), 14 games (2019) and 10 games (2020).
"A lot of fans are letting their last memories of Watkins being unavailable/gimpy through the last Super Bowl run overshadow the highlights of his time in Kansas City, and I think that's extremely unfortunate, but he's all but guaranteed to miss 4-8 games with some sort of soft tissue issue," Brisco said. "It's just a part of the equation for him."
Over 86 career games, Watkins has caught 321 passes for 4,665 yards with 33 touchdowns. He'll turn 28 on June 14 so he has plenty of solid football ahead of him. Watkins has the speed to get behind secondaries and does an effective job gaining yards after a reception.
If he can stay healthy, he can be a huge playmaker for quarterback Lamar Jackson.
"My biggest concern would be that he gets back to 100% at all," Brisco said. "He never got there for the Chiefs last year. If he does, I think Lamar will love throwing to him for however many games he's available."