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Mike Mayock offers high praise for Clemson's Sammy Watkins

NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock has made no secret of his appreciation for the skills of former Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins, calling him a top-10 pick and a franchise-caliber receiver at the NFL Scouting Combine two weeks ago. Thursday on "NFL AM," Mayock took that praise a step further, calling Watkins one of the best wide receivers he has seen on tape in the last decade.

"Because his combine was so good a couple weeks ago, I think all he's going to do is catch the football (at Clemson's pro day Thursday), and if he doesn't get hurt, he's a top-10 pick," Mayock said.

So what sort of rarified company does that place Watkins in? A few elite NFL receivers who have been drafted in the past 10 drafts: A.J. Green (Georgia/Bengals), Calvin Johnson (Georgia Tech/Lions), Dez Bryant (Oklahoma State/Cowboys), Roddy White (UAB/Falcons), Larry Fitzgerald (Pittsburgh/Cardinals). All were first-round picks.

And that only scratches the surface. Julio Jones, Michael Crabtree and DeSean Jackson deepen the picture. That doesn't mean there haven't been more than a few first-round busts at the position. The Raiders never got first-round mileage from Darrius Heyward-Bey before releasing him last March. And don't ask the Lions about Mike Williams as the No. 10 pick in 2005.

But if Watkins joins the former class, a top-10 pick will be a worthy investment.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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