Speaking at the team facility Wednesday, Watkins said he was impressed by what he's seen from the 2013 first-round pick, who lost his starting gig four games into the season last year.
The best thing that could have happened to Manuel was Doug Marrone leaving town.
Getting a new, emotional leader in Rex Ryan, a coach who himself has been gifted a well-deserved second (and final) chance to succeed in the NFL, could even give Manuel the inside track in some respects.
There's no doubt Ryan will at least be pulling for him. It's not like he's averse to becoming emotionally attached to his quarterbacks.
At the least, it's encouraging for Manuel that he is being included in the preseason round of applause that players love to give each other before a meaningful down of football is played. As for Watkins, he told reporters that he's working out and will be available for team activities when the time is right.
It sounds like he won't know about Manuel's progress first hand for a little while.