By posting back-to-back career games before the bye, Sammy Watkins has put himself at the forefront of candidates for NFL offensive rookie of the year. There are a few strong candidates, but Watkins and his fellow wideout, Carolina's Kelvin Benjamin, look to be the clear favorites at the season's midpoint.
In fact, it's almost impossible to differentiate between the two rookie receivers. Both Watkins and Benjamin have 38 receptions. Both have nine catches of 20-plus yards. Watkins has 590 receiving yards, Benjamin 571. Both have five touchdown receptions. Too bad Watkins celebrated early on his 84-yarder Sunday at the Jets. He'd have a one-TD edge on Benjamin otherwise.
Saints rookie wideout Brandin Cooks has 40 catches, but only 372 yards and two TDs. The Vikings' Jerick McKinnon, the only back to rush for 100 yards against the Bills this season, is a solid candidate with 392 rushing yards and a 5.2 average. Branden Oliver, the undrafted former UB star, has 352 yards on 85 carries for the Chargers.
"As long as we keep winning, I'll get my goals," Watkins said Tuesday. "That comes with winning. If we keep winning, I keep getting the ball, everything keeps flowing the same way it's been flowing. That just comes with the success of your team."
Watkins said he doesn't set specific numerical goals before the season.
"At this level you really can't," he said, "because you don't know what can go on with game plan situations. So I can't go out and say I'm going to have 100 yards every game, or two TDs. That's not what I plan on, because it may not happen. So I just try to go out and be consistent every week and try to help my team the best way I can."