Aaron Rodgers will return to the Green Bay Packers for an 18th season in a bid to win a second Super Bowl title. The polarizing passer will take the gamble without last season’s leading wide receivers Davante Adams and Marquez Valdez-Scantling. Rodgers has to rely on rookie pass catchers Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs and Samouri Toure this season, and the former player has struggled to catch the ball early in Packers OTAs.
Green Bay Packers WR Christian Watson was in the top 10 for his position in the 2022 NFL Draft
North Dakota wideout Christian Watson was not among the front row wide receiver prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft. That list included Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, Alabama’s Jameson Williams, Penn State’s Jahan Dotson and Arkansas’ Treylon Burks.
Watson was behind in the prospect row with Georgia’s George Pickens, Western Michigan’s Skyy Moore and Cincinnati’s Alec Pierce.
The 6-foot-4, 208-pound WR was a two-star contender who dropped out of high school in Florida and ended up with FCS North Dakota State. In four seasons with the Bison, Watson played 52 games, catching 105 balls for 2,140 yards and scoring 14 touchdowns.
At the combine, the big target ran a 40-yard dash in 4.36 seconds with a 38.5-inch vertical and a 136-inch long jump.
Watson’s raw athletic prowess and decent performance was enough for the Green Bay Packers to pick him with the second pick of the second round, No. 34 overall.
Watson has dropped passes in OTAs with the Packers
NFL rookies are currently attending their new organizations’ organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamps before training camp begins in 2022 in late July.
While these OTAs aren’t the most telling practices in the world, they do allow teams (and fans and media) to get their first look at these new players with their new franchises.
The Green Bay Packers are currently on day four of the voluntary OTAs, which run through June 3rd. Packers reporter Andy Harmon tweeted his observations from that camp and shared some insights into Christian Watson’s performance. harmony wrote:
Christian Watson had another drop against air in the fight today. His hands were definitely questionable. I don’t think there has been a training session where he hasn’t lost at least one pass. Does it matter? Probably not – but at least remarkable.
Other camp observers have noted that the Packers’ fourth-round pick, Nevada’s Romeo Doubs (#132 pick overall), outperforms the player who drafted nearly 100 picks ahead of him.
While this isn’t all good news, Aaron Rodgers, the Packers and all of the team’s fans have an anecdote to point out that says this dropsy can be overcome.
Last year there was a heavily drafted WR that had a lot of drops leading into the regular season.
And he became Rookie of the Year.
Ja’Marr Chase is the best scenario for the struggling rookie wideout
The Cincinnati Bengals picked LSU WR Ja’Marr Chase fifth overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. There was a lot of debate at the time as to whether passing Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell for Chase was a massive mistake.
The anti-Chase crowd grew louder as the wideout struggled with drops leading into the season. Head coach Zac Taylor even had to raise the issue with the media.
So what became of this shaky pass catcher?
In case you weren’t paying close attention last year, Chase had 81 catches for 1,455 yards and 13 touchdowns. He made it to the Pro Bowl, won Offensive Rookie of the Year, and helped his team reach the Super Bowl.
He led the league with 11 drops, but that made little difference as he posted record-breaking numbers.
Can Christian Watson help Aaron Rodgers like Chase helped Joe Burrow last season? Time will tell, but just because he’s dropping the ball now doesn’t mean he’s a lost cause for the 2022 NFL season.
All stats courtesy of Pro Soccer Reference
TIED TOGETHER: Final 2022 NFL Draft Grade Point Averages for all 32 NFL teams