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Bill Belichick: Sammy Watkins 'Larry Fitzgerald-like'

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Fellow Around The NFL scribe Chris Wesseling has been touting Sammy Watkins as a leading Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate ever since the Buffalo Bills benched EJ Manuel.

The switch to Kyle Orton at quarterback gives the team an experienced if unspectacular veteran who the coaches trust and the players can rely on. Watkins might be the biggest beneficiary of Orton's ascension.

The first-round wideout had his biggest output in three weeks during Sunday's win over the Lions, hauling in seven catches for 87 yards. His finest handiwork came during Bufffalo's game-winning drive, which saw Watkins acrobatically tip a high Orton pass to himself, pull it out of the air and take it 20 yards into Detroit territory.

Bill Belichick, whose Patriots face Watkins and the Bills on Sunday, called the play "Larry Fitzgerald-like" during his Wednesday session with the media.

Watkins hasn't been perfect. He's failed to see the ball at times, but he's also shown the requisite toughness to play through a nagging rib injury that held him back through the first month of the season.

The Bills mortgaged the future by trading next year's No. 1 pick to the Cleveland Browns for the rights to move up and nab Watkins in May's draft. The young wideout's talent has never been doubted, but tying him to Manuel's sketchy arm was a shaky proposition out of the gate.

Orton is no savior, but his elevation to the starting role is good news for the immediate development of Buffalo's prized young pass-catcher.

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