Green Bay Packers Take Exciting Swing on Rising Star if PFF NFL Mock Draft Is Right

The Green Bay Packers need help at wide receiver, and it appears as if they have a plan of using their draft capital to make that happen.

With four picks in the top 100 of the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft, the Packers could undoubtedly trade for an established wideout. Another option would be drafting a potential superstar, and Pro Football Focus is predicting that Green Bay will do just that with pick No. 22.

Christian Watson, come on down.

PFF Mocks Christian Watson, WR from North Dakota State, to Packers at pick No. 22

Christian Watson, Green Bay Packers
Christian Watson #WO35 of North Dakota State runs a drill during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium | Justin Casterline/Getty Images

PFF’s two-round mock can be read here, but the gist of it from the Packers’ point of view is that several of the top wideouts have already been drafted. 

Garrett Wilson from Ohio State was the first wideout off the board at No. 11 to the Washington Commanders. USC’s Drake London went No. 15 to the Philadelphia Eagles. PFF predicted that the Chicago Bears would trade to No. 16 to take Ohio State’s Chris Olave, and Alabama wideout Jameson Williams went No. 17 to the Los Angeles Chargers. 

That’s a significant run on wideouts but it’s worth noting that the class is deep and talented at the position. With players like Treylon Burks from Arkansas and Jahan Dotson from Penn State still on the board, PFF predicts the Packers will take a chance on a wide receiver who has been shooting up draft boards as of late. 

Here’s what they said:

Watson has been one of the draft’s biggest risers over recent months. The 6-foot-4, 208-pound wideout earned an 89.5 receiving grade while generating an astounding 4.33 yards per route run playing in a run-heavy Bison offense last year. He followed that up with one of the best Senior Bowl showings at the position, finishing in the top-three in PFF grade during the one-on-ones. Watson caught the attention of coaches, scouts and executives at the event and generated even more hype with an elite combine performance.

PFF on Christian Watson, potential WR target for the Green Bay Packers in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Why Watson makes sense for the Green Bay Packers

Christian Watson, North Dakota State
North Dakota State Bison wide receiver Christian Watson (1) catches the football for a first down | Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Packers know they have an issue at wideout. Everyone from Brian Gutekunst to head coach Matt LaFleur to President and CEO Mark Murphy has addressed it

You don’t just replace a player like Davante Adams, but the Packers are going to need to try…and Watson would be a great way to start.

He caught 43 passes for 800 yards and seven touchdowns in his senior season at North Dakota State, but those numbers don’t tell the full story of him as a wideout prospect.

First of all, it’s worth keeping in mind that NDSU has an extremely run-heavy offense, so putting up those numbers for the Bison is impressive. He also averaged 18.6 yards per catch, which undoubtedly points to him being a big-play receiver. That’s something the Packers desperately need without Adams and with Marquez Valdes-Scantling now with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Watson also has the physical gifts Gutekunst covets in wide receivers. He checks in at 6-foot-5, 208-pounds, so he’s more than big enough to fit the Packers’ standard wideout profile. He also ran a 4.36 40 at the NFL Combine, which was the sixth-best time amongst wideouts and the best time amongst the players most consider potential first-rounders.

For comparison’s sake, consider the fact that OSU’s Garrett Wilson ran a 4.38, and many consider him the top wideout prospect in his class.

The Packers and head coach Matt LaFleur need speed 

We know head coach Matt LaFleur believes the Packers need to restock the wide receiver room with speed. He recently said as much at the NFL owners meetings. 

“Certainly, if you look at our roster right now, we definitely need to get some speed in that room,” LaFleur said, per ESPN. “We need a legit guy that can take off the top of the coverage. We lost a guy that was pretty good at doing that.”

Watson has that big-play speed that LaFleur covets, and the ability to take the top off a defense will always translate to the NFL level. He’s not just a straight-line runner, though. Watson gets great separation no matter what route he’s running, and he can also be used on jet-sweeps and motions, which is something that has to have LaFleur taking notice.

Watson also projects to be a solid cold weather wide receiver, having played for four seasons in North Dakota. He makes sense for the Pack in more ways than one.

It’s a fit that makes sense for Green Bay, and Packers fans should be ecstatic if the Packers can snag Watson in the first round. Drafting him at No. 22 is nice, but if they are patient and believe he can fall to No. 28, even better.

Either way, he’d be a great addition to a wide receiver-needy roster.

Stats courtesy of ESPN and Pro Football Reference. Contract information via Spotrac

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