Fast forward to that 16-reception performance where he made every defender and his mom look silly, and his draft stock went through the roof.
There have been many speculations as to what the Oakland Raiders will do with the No. 5 pick in the 2014 NFL draft, probably because they have many, many problems to fix.
Do they go quarterback with one of the several to choose from? Or how about defensive end? Or do they play it conservative and draft an offensive lineman to fix their woes in the trenches?
As the rumors continue to swirl until draft day, this much is certain: The Oakland Raiders are desperate for a big-play receiver.
It's been well noted that the Raiders haven't produced a 1,000-yard receiver since Randy Moss in 2005, so why not take the guy in the draft who is the most likely to break that streak?
Watkins was a monster in 2013 with over 101 catches and 1,464 yards to go along with his 12 touchdowns. He is clearly the best receiver in this draft class.
Watkins' talent can not be ignored, yet some experts feel like the Raiders should draft a quarterback at No. 5 instead.
Say what you want about Matt McGloin, but the guy showed last year that he can play. With McGloin under center, the Raiders scored nearly 24 points per game, a touchdown better than whenever Terrelle Pryor or, dare I say it, Matt Flynn was the starter.
Even with a shaky line and the absence of a true No. 1 receiver, McGloin still managed to get the offense going. Too bad the defense couldn't back him up.
The Raiders need Watkins.
They are desperate for a true wide receiver who will ignite the offense and give the fans something to cheer about. Someone who can change the game whenever he gets the ball in his hands.
With bundles of cash to spend in free agency, Oakland will beef up its defense there, as well as the later rounds of the draft. But with Eric Decker being the biggest name for free agent wideouts, the Raiders should fix that problem in the draft.
Unless, you're comfortable with Eric Decker.
So, why not take Watkins?
McGloin showed his upside last year. It's right there in the numbers. And the continuity he'll build with offensive coordinator Greg Olson will only make him better.
All general manager Reggie McKenzie has to do now is go out there and get McGloin a shiny new toy to play with.
A shiny new toy that can shed any defender on any given Sunday. The Raiders haven't had a toy like that in a while.
Steven Slivka is a breaking news reporter for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He also writes about the Oakland Raiders for the Yahoo Contributor Network. Follow @StevenSlivka on Twitter.
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