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Christian Watson

Watson looks like standout in young receiving corps

The Packers are going very young at receiver, with probably all first- and second-year guys making up their top three or four wideouts and starter (maybe backup too) at tight end. Many should be undervalued in drafts.

Christian Watson seems to be the headliner. He caught a couple of short balls in last night's exhibition, and also nearly hauled in a longer pass (the defender got a hand in there; see picture). Watson seems undervalued in early drafts, perhaps because his rookie numbers (41 catches for 611 yards, but with 7 touchdowns) don't leap off the page. But when you consider the vast majority of that came the second half of the season, he starts to look a lot more intriguing.

Famously, Watson flat-out dropped a touchdown bomb in his first game last year, earning a withering glare from Aaron Rodgers. He missed three full games and parts of others with a hamstring injury, leading to him catching only 10 passes the first nine games of the year. After that, though, he turned things around.

In the second half of the season, Watson caught 31 passes for 521 yards and 7 touchdowns, with another 61 yards and a score as a runner. That worked out to 17.2 points per game (PPR) the second half of the season, which was a top-10 figure.

Justin Jefferson, Min.96994211521.6
JaMarr Chase, Cin.5404416320.5
CeeDee Lamb, Dall.96580335620.5
Davante Adams, L.V.9528580720.0
Keenan Allen, LAC8606758419.0
Amon-Ra St. Brown, Det.96776227318.2
Chris Godwin, T.B.86261903.318.0
DeVonta Smith, Phil.9557540517.8
Tee Higgins, Cin.63346504.317.6
Christian Watson, G.B.83152361817.2
A.J. Brown, Phil.9457780517.0
Tyreek Hill, Mia.8436067516.8
Stefon Diggs, Buff.848572-3416.1
Jerry Jeudy, Den.73752339315.9
Tyler Lockett, Sea.7334350515.2
Terry McLaurin, Was.83958218314.6
Mike Evans, T.B.7335070314.5
Zay Jones, Jac.843474-34.314.5
DeAndre Hopkins, Ari.6384190114.3
DK Metcalf, Sea.8485380214.2
Richie James, NYG6343300314.2
Christian Kirk, Jac.841534-1314.0
Garrett Wilson, NYJ841582-1213.9
Amari Cooper, Cle.9396070413.7
Russell Gage, T.B.4191720313.6
Brandon Aiyuk, S.F.94053216413.2
Michael Pittman, Ind.84537530312.9
Drake London, Atl.8394970212.6
Kendrick Bourne, N.E.41822822112.3
DJ Moore, Car.82843914412.2
Nico Collins, Hou.4191760212.2
Brandin Cooks, Hou.6253457212.0
Mike Williams, LAC6264000112.0
Chris Olave, N.O.7294240211.9
Jaylen Waddle, Mia.8285449211.9
Isaiah Hodgins, NYG83335104.311.8
Deebo Samuel, S.F.62424594211.7
K.J. Osborn, Min.9394657311.6
Allen Robinson, LAR28910111.6
DeVante Parker, N.E.4141990211.5
Wan'Dale Robinson, NYG211120-1011.5
Jakobi Meyers, N.E.727347-203.311.4
George Pickens, Pitt.926463234.311.2
Rashid Shaheed, N.O.62237713111.2
Jahan Dotson, Was.7223573310.9
Gabe Davis, Buff.8303850310.8
Donovan Peoples-Jones, Cle.9314220410.8
DJ Chark, Det.7234040210.8
Diontae Johnson, Pitt.9435103.310.7
Darius Slayton, NYG8304920110.7
DeAndre Carter, LAC5182270210.5
Josh Palmer, LAC93842302.310.5
Hunter Renfrow, L.V.4151380210.2
Courtland Sutton, Den.7293620110.2

In a slow draft I'm participating in right now (I'll post results one day this week), Watson was taken right in front of where I was planning on selecting him. A couple of rounds later, I took Romeo Doubs, who should be the other starter (and had a nice contested-grab touchdown last night). Rookie tight end Luke Musgrave also looks like a potential target, as does another rookie second-rounder, wideout Jayden Reed.

It can be nerve-racking to count on Jordan Love, with his single NFL start. But if he's decent, which the Packers seem to have faith in, they should have some compelling receivers this season. With Watson the top guy to invest in, based on what these guys have shown so far.

--Andy Richardson

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