NFL Analyst Names Christian Watson A Year 2 Breakout Candidate

Christian Watson, Packers
Packers Coverage, NFL Analysis Network

The Green Bay Packers have a lot of unheralded, young talent on their roster. That is especially true on the offensive side of the ball, where they have taken an unorthodox approach to building out the roster, headlined by wide receiver Christian Watson.

The Packers have one of the least inexperienced pass-catching groups in NFL history. There isn’t a wide receiver on the roster with more than one season of NFL experience and the top two tight ends on the depth chart could both be rookies when the regular season opens up.

While there are better situations for Jordan Love to step into as a first-time quarterback, this group has much potential. If they can gel and grow together, a lot of success will be found down the road.

One of the players that Love will be relying on heavily is Watson. A second-round pick out of North Dakota State in the 2022 NFL Draft, Watson got off to a rocky start as a rookie.

He dropped his first target of the season, which would have assuredly gone for a 75-yard touchdown. Injuries also plagued him in the early going. But, when he was able to get his footing about midway through the season, his production took off.

From Week 10 on, Christian Watson was one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. With Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb moving on in free agency this offseason, his role in the offense is expected to be huge. That is a major reason why NFL Network’s Cynthia Frelund selected the former Bison star to be one of five wide receivers poised to break out in Year 2.

“My favorite computer vision note on Watson: His hips were in the right direction to earn extra yards after the catch at the highest rate of any rookie after Week 10. This reflected the North Dakota State’s entire debut season, which started slow but ultimately produced some serious fireworks.

According to PFF, Watson’s average of 6.4 YAC per reception ranked fourth in the league among receivers with at least 40 catches. The three guys ahead of him: Jaylen Waddle (6.7), Rondale Moore (7.1) and Deebo Samuel (9.6). Watson also ranked second in contested catch rate at 75 percent (behind only Darnell Mooney’s 83.3 percent mark). Those two skill sets don’t usually go together. Watson is a difference-maker at the catch point and after the catch. Should come in pretty handy for first-time starting QB Jordan Love.”

Christian Watson has blazing speed, which the Packers will certainly take advantage of with their game plan. But, he also possesses game-changing size, standing 6’5”, which can be used to help dominate anywhere on the field.

As pointed out by Frelund, Christian Watson owns a rare blend of skills, as he can run away from opponents while also outmuscling them on jump balls. That combination should lead to plenty of success in 2023 and provide Love with a reliable target no matter where the offense is being run from.