The Green Bay Packers and general manager Brian Gutekunst finally got Aaron Rodgers another weapon to work with on Day 2 of the 2022 NFL Draft. Considering the price tag, was it worth moving up to take North Dakota State’s Christian Watson?
Packers fans didn’t have to wait long on Friday night to hear a receiver’s name called. With the Minnesota Vikings on the clock with the 34th overall pick, the Packers traded up with their divisional rivals, giving up both the 53rd and 59th overall picks to take the Bison wide receiver.
Before getting into the value of the trade, it’s important to note that Watson is very much a talented wide receiver, and at the absolute minimum an incredible athlete. According to Kent Lee Plate’s Relative Athletic Score, Watson posted a 9.96 RAS that would make him the 12th most athletic WR prospect ever recorded.
Christian Watson was drafted with pick 34 of round 2 in the 2022 draft class. He scored a 9.96 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 12 out of 2785 WR from 1987 to 2022. https://t.co/WGDb5WvptX #RAS #Packers pic.twitter.com/WjWBiPnxvr— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 29, 2022
On film, Watson consistently burned past FCS defenders who struggled to match up with him, routinely taking the top off of defenses for explosive plays. While he made plenty of explosive plays, his route tree was limited and made it difficult for him to showcase the ability to create separation at the route stem. Drops also became an issue at times for the talented playmaker.
Another concern for Watson was his limited reps with the Bison. Despite being their most talented playmaker, the 22-year-old didn’t lead his team in snaps as a senior, something that SI’s Bill Huber asked Brian Gutekunst on Friday night.
The Packers have had plenty of success with wide receivers taken in the second round, and Watson’s athletic profile and ability as a vertical threat makes him a worthy prospect. The player and the pick don’t seem to be an egregious issue, but the trade that was needed to take the North Dakota receiver was too steep.
Giving up two second-round picks to move to 34th overall without anything in return was a tough pill to swallow for Packers fans hoping to add another key contributor at another position.
The Rich Hill trade value chart makes the trade look very one-sided in favor of Minnesota. According to the chart, the Vikings gained 34.8 points in trade value from the trade, making it one of the most one-sided trades from a value standpoint of the draft through the first three rounds.
In order to even out the trade perfectly per the trade value chart, the Packers would have needed the 94th overall pick in return. The Vikings didn’t have that pick to be clear, but it’s the approximate value that the Packers missed out on.
For context, Ohio State tight end Jeremy Ruckert was selected by the New York Jets with the 101st pick.
So the Packers did finally get the wide receiver that fans have been clamoring for all offseason. But by doing so, they cost themselves the opportunity to draft help at another position like EDGE (USC’s Drake Jackson would have been available with the 59th pick) and lost out on the net value of a solid tight end prospect.
Do you think the trade up for Christian Watson was worth it? Let us know in the comments.