Continuing our Green Bay Packers draft coverage at Game on Wisconsin, this week I will be putting wide receiver Christian Watson out of North Dakota State under the microscope.
Christian Watson – WR – NDSU – 6’4” – 208lbs
What. A. Freak. I could really end this piece here. I won’t, but I could. Christian Watson is a dynamic freak of nature who enjoyed a career which featured three national FCS championships in four seasons playing for the Bison of North Dakota State. Watson’s best season, 2021, saw him post 43 receptions for 800 yards (18.6 YPC!) and 7 touchdowns. Let’s get into specifics of what he can provide at the next level.
What I Like
+ Ball Skills
+ Potential Versatility
+ Big Play Ability
++ Elite Traits
The first thing you see on Christian Watson’s film is the sheer size of this wide receiver. Watson’s combination of size, speed and explosion is by far the best in the 2022 class. This man showed up to the combine and put up insane numbers, jumping 38.5” in the vertical jump and over 11’ in the broad jump, both numbers are in the 90th percentile for wide receivers. He then proceeded to run an official 4.36 40 yard dash. At 6’4”, 208. Are you kidding me? Watson was created in Area 51 and the government shipped him to Fargo, North Dakota thinking no one would notice, you can NOT change my mind.
Feel like we've probably said this a few times before, but ……
Christian Watson. TO. THE. HOUSE. pic.twitter.com/oB16QdliCQ
— NDSU Football (@NDSUfootball) November 20, 2021
Let’s talk about big play ability. Christian Watson is a threat to take the ball to the house at any given moment regardless of where he’s at on the field. It doesn’t matter if he’s running a deep post, go route or a tunnel screen. I also appreciate his ability and willingness to take jet sweeps and manufactured touches to showcase his talents with the ball in his hands. In addition, he has some of the best ball skills and body control in this class. His ability to high point the ball and win through contact impressed me. He’s also savvy when tracking a ball over his shoulder.
Cam Miller is 7 of 9 passing for 121 yards in the first half, including this 71-yard touchdown to Christian Watson, the fifth longest play of the year for NDSU. pic.twitter.com/mGHu2SN4B2
— NDSU Football (@NDSUfootball) November 13, 2021
What I Haven’t Seen Yet
– Elite Separation
– Nuanced Route Tree
While there certainly is a lot to be excited about in regards to Christian Watson, I do have a couple reservations. The first being I did not see him truly separate when operating in close quarters. I’d like to see him just get an extra step more than he had shown on tape but, I’m nitpicking here. A general rule (I hate to follow, so I kinda don’t) when evaluating larger receivers is to grade their separation on a curve. In such cases, a lot of draft guys don’t see an issue with Watson’s separation. Again, I don’t do that so I would like to see him gain an extra step than I’ve been given to this point. However, you ask Watson to just go run behind the entire defense as fast he can, you’ve got a deal.
Another aspect Watson could improve on (or maybe even put on tape) is run a larger tree of routes than he did at NDSU. Basically, Watson’s tape was just him bangin out 9 route after 9 route. He had the occasional manufactured touch in the screen game and jet sweep in the run game, which he really excelled at. He just wasn’t asked to do a bunch of this in school. Again, I’m nitpicking.
Christian Watson is a laboratory-made freak of nature who dabbles in football. Kidding aside, this is a first round talent all day long with a limitless ceiling. The explosion at the combine all but solidified his draft stock in the Top 50. If the Packers want to have a shot at this guy, I recommend using the 28th overall pick on him because (and I really hate doing this) he’s probably gone by pick 60.