Despite the signing of wide receiver Sammy Watkins, it’s almost a lock that the Packers will take a receiver in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft. Christian Watson might not have the big school buzz and quality competition to his name, but he has two things you can’t teach: size and speed. Watson is 6’4” and blew the combine out of the water by running a 4.36-second 40-yard dash and compiling a 9.96 RAS. At the end of the season, he was projecting as an early day three or late day two prospect in the NFL draft, but he has since risen to being mocked solidly in the second round with some even valuing him in the first round.
Watson can straight-up run. If he gets the ball in space, he’s a threat to score. All those flash screens that Davante Adams used to get? Watson can do some serious damage with them. He has huge strides that eat up ground. Watson is a cushion destroyer and while he isn’t a gadget guy with fantastic short-area quickness, he’s got the speed to stretch defenses vertically, make them pay if they play off coverage, and he adds a legitimate threat on jet sweeps.
That speed is great, but you’ve got to be able to use it correctly and run more than just fades and curls. Watson still needs some work on growing his route tree, but he’s definitely gotten better through his college career. He understands how to stem his routes and work the top of his routes with rocker steps – especially on deep rhythm throws like posts or corners.
Because of his size, Watson does have a little bit of trouble getting in and out of hard cuts. The threat of his speed helps him create space. In turn, that helps to mitigate the fact that he’s slower breaking down and getting out of cuts.
Effort and Blocking
If you’re going to play for the Packers, you have to be able to block. Christian Watson has some limitations, but effort isn’t one of them. He’s a plus in the blocking game and routinely hustles to be involved on plays. Due to his length and size, he’s really good at fitting onto smaller defensive backs because he can simply outreach them at the point of attack.
Packers fans might be reluctant to replace Marquez Valdes-Scantling — a talented and fast deep threat with drop problems — with another talented and fast receiver with drop problems. Watons recorded 16 drops over the course of his career. However, they’re mostly concentration drops and he does make an effort to attack the ball with his hands.