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Sammy Watkins: ‘No hard feelings’ towards the Browns; Belichick wants earlier draft

Posted Jun 17, 2014

ClevelandBrowns.com takes you around the NFL with the Daily Kickoff.

Sammy Watkins, Bill Belichick, Darren Sproles

Sammy Watkins is fine with how it all worked out for him during last month’s NFL Draft.

Sure, the Cleveland Browns, with a chance to select the former standout wide receiver from Clemson, traded out of the No. 4 overall spot in order to select cornerback Justin Gilbert at No. 8. But Watkins still wound up being chosen at No. 4, by the Browns’ trade partner, the Buffalo Bills. 

“I have no hard feelings with the Browns,” Watkins told us on “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford.” “Now I’m with the team I wanted to be with, and it’s definitely a blessing to be with this team and I can’t wait to get started.”

Watkins, who was promoting the fact the Buffalo Bills will face the New York Giants in the Pro Football Hall of Fame game on Aug. 3 in Canton, said he has received advice from Andre Reed, the former Bills receiver will be officially inducted into the Hall on Aug. 2.

“He gave me a couple of pointers: be great, work hard every day, be a savage, be true to the game and it’ll be true to you, and that’s just doing the right things off the field in your free time,” Watkins said. “(He said,) ‘Make sure that you’re treating your body right and doing the right things – eating right, sleeping right.’ The first thing I asked him was, ‘Are you going to cry?’ He said he’s going to be in tears when he gets inducted.”

Watkins called Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel “a winner.”

“He knows how to win games,” the receiver said. “He’s a competitor. He led his team each year to a great season and he loves the game, he’s got passion for the game. I understand that everybody talks about his size and things like that, but Drew Brees is a small guy, so I feel like (Manziel) can come and mae plays in the NFL and he can lead a team to a victory.”

BILL BELICHICK PUSHES FOR NFL TO MOVE DRAFT BACK TO APRIL

The majority opinion among football people in the NFL was that having this year’s draft in May, about two weeks later than normal, was a problem because it put them behind in their offseason calendar.

One football person who was particularly against the later start of the draft was New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick. And he is strongly in favor of moving it back to April.

“Yeah, of course,” Belichick was quoted as saying in the Boston Herald. “I mean, the sooner you have your players, the easier it is to start, not only getting them integrated into your team but also building your team. There are certain things you get in the draft, then you have to fill other areas of the team with veteran players or college free agents or whatever.

“When that process is going on, you can see every day you pick up the transactions, every team has got – not every team – but there’s probably 5-15 transactions on a daily basis. Of course, if you had the draft, you can move that whole process up. Whatever it is, it is. It’s not my decision, but I would go for an earlier draft, absolutely.”

PAT SHURMUR: DARREN SPROLES IS A RUNNING BACK FIRST FOR EAGLES

When the Philadelphia Eagles acquired running back Darren Sproles in an offseason trade with the New Orleans Saints, it was widely assumed that, because of his exceptional pass-catching skills, he would largely fill the role previously occupied by receiver DeSean Jackson.

Not so fast, according to Eagles offensive coordinator and former Browns coach Pat Shurmur.

“I think he’s an outstanding running back, that’s what he is,” Shurmur was quoted as saying on Philly.com. “There’s a lot of conversation about the fact we brought him in to play receiver. He’s played at a very high level for 10 years. He brings outstanding leadership. He’s one of our hardest workers. The first training session he went out there and he finishes as well as you see from any player, not to mention he can help us running the ball and catching it. That’s a very strong addition for us.”

Sproles no doubt will see his share of time as a slot receiver in certain formations. But Shurmur insists his contributions will be more complementary to those of the Eagles’ No. 1 running back, LeSean McCoy.

“He’s a running back, so we’re going to line him up in the backfield,” Shurmur said of Sproles. “There is a portion of our offense where we can be in empty, or we can motion him out.”

TEDDY BRIDGEWATER HEAPS PRAISE ON VIKINGS OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR NORV TURNER

As a rookie quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings, Teddy Bridgewater faces a fairly steep learning curve before he will be handed the reins of the team’s offense.

In the meantime, he is more than pleased with the lessons he has received so far from his primary teacher, Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner, who held the same job with the Browns last season.

“He’s one of the best coaches in the game right now, an offensive mastermind,” Bridgewater was quoted as saying in the St Paul Pioneer Press.

Bridgewater says he has developed a “pretty unique” relationship with Turner, going back to April 12 when Turner and other Vikings representatives put him through an individual workout in South Florida.

“It started back in the pre-draft process,” Bridgewater said. “He would come multiple times. He’s a great coach. It’s somebody who wants the best out of every quarterback on the roster. The relationship we have right now is just a great relationship.

“I think I’ve made a lot of progress. I’ve been able to just learn from Matt and Christian, and those guys have just allowed me to work that much harder. Those guys have pushed me harder.”

>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET, for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford” on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com. We take your questions at 216-578-0850 and via Twitter @Browns_Daily.

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