Christian Watson is a complete WR prospect that the New York Jets should consider
The 2022 NFL draft is flush with quality wide receiver prospects of all varieties.
There are route artists like the Ohio State duo of Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, jump-ball monsters like Drake London and George Pickens, electric open-space threats like Treylon Burks and Jameson Williams, and everything in-between.
However, no single player possesses as many traits on the receiver prospect checklist as North Dakota State’s Christian Watson.
For starters, Watson is without a doubt the most physically gifted receiver in the class.
Standing 6-foot-4 and 208 pounds, Watson scorched the track at the NFL Scouting Combine, running a blazing 4.36 forty-yard-dash. Watson also leaped 38.5 inches in the vertical and led all receivers in the broad jump with an astounding 136-inch vault.
On top of his athletic prowess, Watson runs crips routes, especially considering his size. He has even shown the ability to make plays in space on screens, jet sweeps, and designed touches.
Watson’s two biggest areas of concern – level of competition and drops – can both be explained through added context.
NDSU runs a notoriously run-heavy offensive scheme. The Bison only attempted 257 total passes through the entire 2021 season, an average of 28.6 attempts per game.
Watson’s opportunities were so severely limited that when the ball finally did come his way, he would occasionally get over-excited and suffer a concentration drop.
However, Watson is showing improvement, bettering his drop rate from an abysmal 28 percent in 2020 to a still less-than-ideal 10 percent in 2021. While he still has a ways to go, improvement is improvement, and Watson clearly knows he still must continue to improve.
Despite his drop issues, competing against 15 other players who caught passes for NDSU in 2021, and missing four games due to a hamstring injury, Watson still accounted for a ludicrous 35 percent of the Bison’s total receiving yards by himself. His average of 4.33 yards per route run is the best of the top 2022 receiver prospects, and it could’ve been even better if Watson improved on his drops.
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Watson will see his target share increase drastically in the NFL, which should in turn result in a decrease in concentration drops. The over-excitement will fade when he isn’t waiting 20 to 30 real-life minutes between targets, and with continued emphasis on securing the ball, the issue should resolve itself.
As for Watson’s level of competition, he also proved that he isn’t just a small-school wonder at the Senior Bowl, easily craving up any and every defensive back that tried to guard him.
Watson was by far the best wideout in Mobile. To be fair, one-on-one practice drills don’t always translate to actual games, but Watson dominated the only opportunity he had to compete against top competition, and that’s all he himself could do.
In a draft class full of specialists, Christian Watson stands out as a player capable of doing anything.
Watson has size, speed, fluidity in his routes, yards-after-catch ability, a huge catch radius, versatility inside or outside, and a clean bill of health. By all indications, he is fully healed from his aforementioned hamstring injury, giving him the edge over other size/speed players like London, Williams, and Pickens, who all have major injury concerns.
Plus, Watson has the elite speed Burks lacks and is a full four inches taller than Wilson, who he beat by three hundredths of a second in the forty.
Watson may not be the best receiver in the 2022 class right now, but no other prospect can match his ceiling as a dangerous number-one target capable of filling any role for an offense.
The Oklahoma Drill Podcast kicks off their 2022 draft position previews with the skill positions. Tune in to the full show for breakdowns of all the names to know at running back, tight end, and most importantly for the New York Jets, wide receiver.