Sammy Watkins is thrilled to have a new home with the Ravens for many reasons.
He wanted a chance to play with Lamar Jackson. The Ravens have two offensive coaches who have brought out the best in Watkins during different stages of his career, Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman and Pass Game Specialist Keith Williams. Watkins also believes Baltimore has the talent to win a Super Bowl, something he has already done with the Kansas City Chiefs.
When Watkins made his free-agent visit to Baltimore, the feeling became stronger that he had come to the right place. After officially agreeing to a one-year contract, Watkins can't wait to get started on the next chapter of his career.
"It was just a surreal moment, once I went there, I knew right away like, 'Man, I'm going to Baltimore,'" Watkins said during his introductory videoconference. "It's just one of those feelings where you know it's home. I have a great year here, and hopefully I can do another contract and end my career here. That's kind of my mindset.
"I just wanted a new scenery for myself. There was one team that stuck out, and it was the Ravens. Lamar Jackson, I heard too many great stories about the team and the history of Baltimore."
Roman was Watkins' offensive coordinator with the Buffalo Bills in 2015 when Watkins had his best season with 60 catches for 1,047 yards and nine touchdowns. Knowing he has been effective in Roman's system only accentuates Watkins's belief that he will be a versatile 6-foot-1, 211-pound weapon for Jackson in the passing game, attacking defenses from a variety of formations.
"When I was at Buffalo, I had my best times with him." Watkins said. "I can't complain. Lamar's going to have fun passing the ball around and making plays."
Before joining the Ravens, Williams built a strong reputation among wide receivers as a personal coach during the offseason for Watkins and several other NFL wide receivers, including Devonte Adams of the Green Bay Packers and Tyreek Hill of the Chiefs.
When Williams joined the Ravens' staff, it only enhanced Watkins's desire to sign with Baltimore.
"He didn't do a lot of recruiting," Watkins said. "I think I did the recruiting. Once I saw him get the job I was like, 'Man, we need to make something happen.'"
Watkins has no doubt Williams's coaching style will benefit Baltimore's passing attack.
"(He knows) the art of running routes, and making it easy on guys to actually get open," Watkins said. "He can take a guy that runs a 4.8 and make sure he can separate from guys and get open and catch balls. I think that's the most critical thing with the wide receivers that are going to be in the room. No matter what type of guy you've got, stature, speed, he's going to make sure you (can) be you within the play, but have the ability to get open with whatever route or concepts Greg's going to call.
"He just knows how to tap in to the mind and the body, knows what to get you over the hump as far as certain routes. How to approach DB's. To have him every day in practice, every day in my corner in my ear, I just know there's going to be some special things happening this year."
Injuries have hampered Watkins during his career, and he was limited to nine games last season with 37 catches and a career-low 421 yards and two touchdowns. However, Watkins was a superb big-game player with the Chiefs, helping them win a Super Bowl in 2019. He had 10 catches for 114 yards and a touchdown in the 2019 AFC Championship, followed by six catches for 98 yards in the Chiefs' victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV.
Now Watkins wants to prove he has plenty left to offer, joining another team with Super Bowl aspirations. He believes he has found the right team for him at the right time.
"I was in Kansas City for three years and I had my best time there, I really enjoyed my time," Watkins said. "I think my time was up. I just wanted to be somewhere different. I think the best place to be, and to be around some younger guys, and another MVP quarterback that's really good (is Baltimore). Once I took my visit I knew I fit in with the Baltimore Ravens, just the vibes and energy and coaches was amazing.
"You go through this, being in the league seven years, you just want to make it right, be somewhere where you can spend the next five or six years if everything goes well. The organization is top five. I just wanted to be somewhere where it's going to be fun, and Baltimore is the place."