The Green Bay Packers used the 34th overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft on North Dakota State receiver Christian Watson, a highly athletic and versatile pass-catching prospect from the nine-time FCS champions.
While he wore No. 1 in college, Watson will wear No. 9 for the Packers. He will join a reloaded receiver room with a chance to be an immediate contributor for Matt LaFleur’s offense in 2022.
Here are five interesting things to know about Watson, the third of the Packers’ 11 draft picks in 2022:
Highest pick at WR since …
Watson wasn’t a first-round pick, but the Packers moved up to No. 34 overall in the second round to get him, making him the team’s highest draft pick at wide receiver since selecting Javon Walker at No. 20 overall in the 2002 draft. He is Brian Gutekunst’s first-ever pick at receiver in the first two rounds and the first since Davante Adams in 2014. Watson joins Adams, Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings as recent second-round picks at receiver in Green Bay.
Versatile big-play weapon
(AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Watson left North Dakota State after producing 3,218 all-purpose yards over 52 games. He caught 105 passes for 2,140 yards, rushed 49 times for 392 yards and returned 26 kickoffs for 686 yards, scoring 18 touchdowns in total. Overall, Watson created 57 plays of at least 20 yards as a receiver, rusher or returner. He ranks fourth in school history in yards per catch (20.4) and kickoff return average (26.4) and eighth in receptions. As a senior, Watson had four touchdowns of 65 or more yards. As a junior, he was an All-American after returning two kickoffs for touchdowns (100 yards, 94 yards). As a sophomore, he scored a 75-yard receiving touchdown and a 70-yard rushing touchdown in the first half during a semi-final win over Montana State. During each of his final three seasons, he created at least 800 all-purpose yards. Watson should be able to help the Packers in a lot of ways, especially with Matt LaFleur calling plays.
Watson is entering the NFL as one of the most impressive athletes ever at the wide receiver position. At 6-4 and 208 pounds, Watson ran the 40-yard dash in 4.36 seconds (97th percentile), finished the first 10 yards in 1.45 seconds (99th percentile), hit 38.5 ″ in the vertical (91st percentile), covered 11- 4 in the broad jump (99th percentile) and finished the three-cone drill in 6.96 seconds (66th percentile). Relative Athletic Score ranks him in the top 10 among receivers since 1987. Among those ahead of him: Calvin Johnson, Javon Walker, Julio Jones, Andre Johnson, Vincent Jackson, Braylon Edwards and Chase Claypool.
Dad was a Packers draft pick
NDSU’s Christian Watson
Watson isn’t the first in his family to be drafted by the Packers. His father, Tim, was a sixth-round draft pick of the Packers in 1993. A safety from Howard, he was released after suffering an injury before his rookie season but did go on to play in 13 NFL games over a five-year career . According to ESPN, the Watsons aren’t the first father-son combination to be picked by the same team in the NFL. They might be the first in Green Bay, however.
Seventh WR in the draft class
(AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
Watson’s wait during the draft wasn’t a long one-he was the 34th overall pick, after all-but a half-dozen wide receivers came off the board before he landed in Green Bay. Teams picked Drake London, Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, Jameson Williams, Jahan Dotson and Treylon Burks in the first round before the Packers came on the clock at No. 22. The Packers didn’t wait around in the second, trading both second-round picks to move up and get Watson with the second pick of Day 2. He was the first of six receivers to get selected in the second round, joining Wan ‘Dale Robinson, John Metchie, Tyquan Thornton, George Pickens, Alec Pierce and Skyy Moore. There will be plenty of names to compare Watson’s career to around the NFL.