Each week of the season so far, we have highlighted players impressing on game tape.
The No. 4 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft has been a tease otherwise. Watkins spent the summer thrilling onlookers by making spectacular catches in traffic. Once the season started, though, a rib injury and EJ Manuel's scattershot arm raised the degree of difficulty. As you can see in the video above, there are plenty of plays to be made if his concentration level and the quarterback's ball placement improve. It will be interesting to see if Watkins matches up with Lions' second-year breakout cornerback Darius Slay on Sunday.
2. Travis Kelce, Chiefs: The Around The NFL Podcast has been begging Andy Reid to increase Kelce's snapload since the season opener. It's finally happening, as Patriots fans were reminded of a pre-injury Rob Gronkowski in Monday night's blowout at Arrowhead Stadium. Kelce has not only emerged as the most dangerous run-after-catch tight end in the league, he also leads all players in yards per pass route run this season. The 49ers' linebackers and safeties will have their hands full with Kelce this weekend.
3. Golden Tate, Lions: One of our favorite offseason signings, Tate has been a perfect fit as the second fiddle to Calvin Johnson. Often passed over entirely in the discussion of the NFL's best hands, Tate boasts the lowest drop rate in the league since 2011. With strong run-after-catch skills, he's ideally suited to the in-turning routes such as the one that went for 35 yards through the heart of the Jets defense last week. Until Johnson's ankle returns to full strength, Matthew Stafford will have to continue to lean heavily on Tate.
4. Trent Richardson, Colts: Is Richardson showing real improvement? Well, yes. He was such a disaster last year that the Colts had to replace him with Donald Brown less than two months after surrendering a first-round draft pick for the opportunity to install him as the feature back in Pep Hamilton's power-running attack. To this point, there's no danger of that happening in 2014. Richardson still lacks vision and any semblance of burst, but his footwork is better this season -- as the video to the right shows.
You might be surprised to learn that Richardson sits a more than respectable eighth in yards after contact and seventh in Pro Football Focus' Elusiveness Rating. Through four games, he already has more runs of at least 15 yards (3) than all of last season (2). It's fitting that Richardson is taking baby steps toward respectability.