ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Over his first three days in a Bills uniform Sammy Watkins did the same thing he did in college - make the difficult plays look routine. He had several highlight-worthy catches during practice, including a pair of one-handed grabs on Monday.
"After having watched him now for a couple of days, my assessment of him (is) that he probably has better hand-eye coordination than I thought coming into it," said head coach Doug Marrone. "I'm excited. I'm excited to see him."
And for good reason. As the 4th overall pick in the draft, Watkins clearly has all the physical tools to succeed, and it's becoming evident he has the drive and focus to go along with it.
He was on the field at 6:45 a.m. Monday running routes and trying to get better, on his own time.
"I have the speed and the size and ability," Watkins said. "Now it's just down to the details and the little things, because in this league the cornerbacks are great. They know the details of your route so yo have to be crisp and right on everything you do, and got to make everything look the same. And I woke up this morning and that's what I was trying to do."
That's a mindset most coaches could appreciate.
"Those are the things that you want to hear. You want to hear about that," Marrone said. "You don't want to leave anything for chance and you just want to make sure the performance on the field judges whether you're good enough or you're not good enough."
For all the Bills newcomers at rookie camp the pace will only pick up and the learning curve will get a bit steeper as the veterans join up for organized team activities beginning next Wednesday.
"It's going to be quick because things are going to be moving even faster as far as installing more of the defense and going against more complex concepts from the offense," said Ross Cockrell, a cornerback the Bills selected in the 4th round from Duke.
Watkins knows he has a lot to learn as he gets ready to face stronger competition at OTA's.
"Those guys have been here two or three years so they're going to win most of the matchups, and I'm going to win mine," he said. "I've just got to compete everyday, go out there with a worker's mentality, and know there's going to be positives and negatives at this early stage."
And it seems Watkins is catching on quickly under the pressure of living up the hype.