Christian WatsonPhoto: Getty Images
For all the press Romeo Doubs received over the summer, Christian Watson was the 2022 Green Bay Packers draft wide receiver they had their highest hopes on. This FCS star put an exclamation mark on his rating on the draft combine.
Watson, who is listed at 6-foot-4, 208 pounds, ran 4.36 in the 40-yard dash. He registered a vertical jump of 38.5 inches and his hands measured 10 ⅛ inches. That kind of draft-combine profile would tempt an NFL team, especially a franchise that recently lost one of the NFL’s top wide receivers, to pick him with one of the first picks of the second round.
Against one of the NFL’s best defenses on Sunday, Watson smoked the Dallas Cowboys until they fell apart in his hand. His all-time reception record this season was three. Watson surpassed it by one on Sunday, but those four catches resulted in well over nine yards. He totaled 107 yards and also had three touchdowns. If Watson hadn’t misplayed a ball, he could have had four touchdown catches that day.
Although Watson was the first offensive player selected by the Packers in the 2022 draft, much of the offseason hype went to Doubs. Watson underwent knee surgery in the summer, which cost him time at training camp. Doubs, a Nevada FBS player, was one of the top players at the 2022 Senior Bowl. Only one person clocked a faster MPH during a single game.
Watson’s injuries continued as the season began with a hamstring problem that kept him out and he was on record for a concussion at week 9. Once on the field, Aaron Rodgers wasn’t impressed. Watson last played during the Packers’ Week 8 loss to the Washington Commanders. It was after that loss when Rodgers suggested during his weekly appearance on The Pat McAfee Show that players who make too many mistakes should be benched.
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Without Watson’s dynamic plays against the Cowboys, the Packers won’t eke out their first win since October 2. In recent weeks, their offensive has been as tight as traffic around a presidential motorcade. The Rodgers, to whom football fans are accustomed and who can slip 30-yard passes into a pass catcher’s side pocket, didn’t fare as well.
Maybe he’d become too dependent on current Las Vegas Raider Davante Adams, maybe the new receiving corps was poorly adapting to offense, or maybe 38-year-old Rodgers was running out of juice and that contract extension was a bad move Packer.
That’s all still on the table, and at 4-6, the Packers have a long way to go to earn a wildcard spot, with both the Cowboys and New York Giants well over .500 and the final NFC playoff Place is held by the new and improved San Francisco 49ers with Christian McCaffrey.
Maybe 2022 is beyond saving, but if Watson starts performing on the field like he did at the Scouting Combine, the future Packers’ offense will look more like the unit that paved the way to the NFC’s best record in years 2020 and 2021 led.