Can Watkins, Green elevate their QBs?

The Bills gave up a lot to draft Sammy Watkins at No. 4 overall. Elsa/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills succinctly explained why they paid so much for the chance to draft Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins two weeks ago.

"This game is about making plays and surrounding our quarterback with playmakers," general manager Doug Whaley said. "He's automatically going to make our quarterback better and us better."

The thinking sounds logical whether or not Buffalo paid too much to trade up five spots to select Watkins fourth overall. The Bills think EJ Manuel is going to be a franchise quarterback, and if they are right, they're going to win regardless. But if Manuel is just another QB, as some evaluators suspect, how much would a top-flight wide receiver elevate his play? Is a top-level receiver enough to help a team win with a midlevel QB? The answer has implications for all teams with elite wideouts and developing quarterbacks who have not reached an elite level consistently.

Cincinnati, Chicago, Tampa Bay, Detroit, Houston and the New York Jets come to mind as potential examples. We'll address each one of them separately.