Doug Hendrickson: ‘Watkins Among Top 4 NFL Receivers’

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MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 03: Sammy Watkins #2 of the Clemson Tigers catches a touchdown in the third quarter against Doran Grant #12 of the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 3, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Sammy Watkins (Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

After spending 13 years at Octagon,

Doug Hendrickson joined Relativity Sports in February, and he is now preparing for perhaps the most hectic time of the year: the NFL Draft.

Hendrickson, who represents numerous NFL players, including Marshawn Lynch, has a talented crop of young clients this year – most notably Sammy Watkins, Kelvin Benjamin, Carlos Hyde, Jason Verrett and Scott Crichton.

“We could have as many as four or five first-round picks,” Hendrickson said on Ferrall on the Bench.

Hendrickson’s top prospect, of course, is Watkins, who is a virtual lock to be drafted among the top five, if not higher.

“Most people think he’s probably the No. 1 player in the country,” Hendrickson said.

“If you polled every GM in the NFL, they’ll say that the top four receivers in the NFL right now are A.J. Green, Julio Jones, Calvin Johnson and Sammy Watkins. He’s in that mix in terms of what they think right now is the upper-echelon top four or five receivers. He’s a legit game-breaker in (today’s) passing league. This guy’s the real deal. The sky’s the limit for him. It’s going to be fun to see where he goes. If I’m Houston, I wouldn’t pass up on him. If I’m Jacksonville at No. 2 (and Watkins is still there), I would not take an offensive lineman over him.”

And thus begins the campaigning and lobbying that will be a staple of the next three days. Indeed, the NFL Draft is one of the most exciting – if not bizarre and chaotic – events in all of sports.

“(Thursday is) going to be a good day,” Hendrickson said. “It’s going to be a lot of relaxing in the morning, and then we’ll roll over around 6:30 to Radio City. It’ll be a good day. I’ll man the phone, talk to teams all day and try to get as much information as I can and hopefully get enough to at least let the players kind of know what they’re looking at for Thursday night.

“You’re trying to get the real information from the decision-makers and GMs,” Hendrickson continued. “You’re trying to get your client an expectation of what may happen. Because the last thing you want is to tell Sammy Watkins (that he’s) going top-five and he goes 18th. That would never happen, but you want to give your guys really what we think the ceiling is and what we think the floor’s going to be.”

And none of this is certain until draft day.

“(On Thursday), you kind of know,” Hendrickson said. “All these mock drafts are a bunch of B.S. It doesn’t mean anything until (Thursday). That’s where I’ll get all my information – (Thursday) starting about noon, all the way until the draft.”

For the players, being drafted is “the ultimate high,” and it lasts for about one night.

Then the real work begins.

“We have to get all the stuff prepared for them for the next step,” Hendrickson explained. “It’s like an instant cure for the hangover. Now it’s business. Now you’re drafted. No more of this stuff leading up to it. Now you’re actually on the team. We got to get the contract done. All this stuff comes into full force. It wakens the guys to, Hey, now the fun’s over. Now it’s time to work.”

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